Why Montreal?

Why Invest in Montreal Real Estate?

Montreal is Canada’s cultural capital and one of the world’s most lively cosmopolitan cities. With 1.7 million inhabitants and over 4 million in its metropolitan area, Montreal is Canada’s second largest city and the world’s second largest French-speaking city.

The “City of Festivals” is known for much more than its delicious bagels and poutines. In the past few years, it has made its mark as a fertile ground for successful real estate investments.

A Booming Real Estate Market

Greater Montreal and its downtown core are the strongest markets compared to the other two largest Canadian cities, with annual property prices increasing at rates of 5.5% and 8.1%, respectively. An influx of new residents has made the city’s vacancy rate drop to 1.9%, pushing demand for housing.

Strategically located on the St. Lawrence river, Montreal is a port city with a tradition of commercial development. According to the Global Financial Centers Index, Montreal is the 8th most important financial center in North America and the 25th in the world. The city currently has a historically low 4.9% unemployment rate, and attracts talent from all over the world.

Cultural Diversity

Montréal offers a fascinating language diversity, thanks in large part to the different cultural communities who have made it their home. About half of Montrealers are native French speakers, while 13% speak English at home. The remaining third of the city’s population speaks a different mother tongue, including Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Creole, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Cantonese. These communities have a strong presence in the city, building local grocery stores, restaurants, community centers and media companies, while integrating into mainstream society.

Montreal’s European influence can be felt in its architecture and its culinary and arts culture. Foodies are particularly well served in this city – it has the highest amount of restaurants per capita in Canada. Restaurants serve local and international specialities with a French touch.

You can find many world-class museums in the city, such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d’art contemporain, McCord Museum, and the Space for Life, which includes the Biodome, Planetarium and Botanical Garden.

Montreal hosts important festivals, such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Just For Laughs Festival and Osheaga. The Place des Arts hosts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, one of the world’s most prestigious philharmonic ensembles, led by Kent Nagano.

Every year, the summer festival season is kicked off by the F1 Grand Prix, which attracts thousands of car enthusiasts and tourists.

It’s impossible to speak about Montreal without mentioning its unofficial religion, which is hockey. The Montreal Canadiens have been around for more than a century, and they have won 24 Stanley Cups, making them the most awarded team in the National Hockey League (NHL), and the second most in professional sports, after the New York Yankees.

A Family Friendly Environment

Montreal has a wide variety of affordable day care centers, public and private schools, and activities for the whole family. The city is home to four important universities: McGill, Concordia, University of Montreal and UQAM.

Mothers can take up to 18 weeks of consecutive maternity leave, while receiving benefits from the Québec government corresponding to 90% of their salary. The city has many swimming pools, tennis courts and public parks. This includes Mount Royal, where people can take a breath of fresh air just a few steps from the downtown core.

Urban Development

The city is connected by a robust public transit system, which reduces traffic and air pollution. A typical commute takes 30 minutes.

Montreal has the world’s largest underground city, stretching over 32 km and covering 7 metro stations and many malls, hotels, office buildings and restaurants. A highlight of the underground city is the Montreal World Trade Center, a massive glassed-in “horizontal skyscraper” uniting several Victorian-era commercial buildings. It’s often cited as an example of urban redevelopment.

Formerly industrial and working class neighborhoods, such as St Henri, HOMA, Lachine and Griffintown have emerged as hot spots for new condominium developments. This, in turn, has an incremental effect on the value of downtown condominiums.

History

After Canada gained its independence, the city continued to grow as a beacon of international culture, hosting the world exposition in 1967, and the Summer Olympics of 1976.

Founded in 1642 by French explorers, Canada was later annexed by the British Empire, and Montreal became its commercial capital in North America. Old Montreal, the historic center of the city, houses impressive 19th century bank headquarters which attest to this rich history. Constructed in 1931, the massive Sun Life Building was at that point the largest building in square footage in the Commonwealth.

After Canada gained its independence, the city continued to grow as a beacon of international culture, hosting the world exposition in 1967, and the Summer Olympics of 1976.

In the 1980s and mid-1990s, talk of Québec separation scared off investors, who fled to Toronto. Today, French Canadians have turned the page and are now focused on other issues, such as economic growth, innovation and healthcare. This has led to an unprecedented boom in both commercial real estate and housing. Montreal’s formerly stagnant skyline is now full of new skyscrapers and construction starts, replacing old factory buildings and outdoor parking lots.

Since 2010, Montreal has seen a residential and commercial real estate boom, thanks to its solid economy, which relies on groundbreaking industries such as aerospace, financial services, IT, video games and tourism.

The classic 19th and 20th century structures blend in perfectly with the audacious contemporary constructions designed by reputable architects. One example of this meshing of past and present is the Viger Station. The massive castle was built in 1897 and served as the terminus for train passengers. Now that there are no more trains leading to this building, it was repurposed to house tech powerhouse Lightspeed HQ as well as other innovative businesses and a microbrewery.

In sum, Montreal offers a diversified economy, innovative ideas, a rich history, sustainable living, beautiful architecture and green spaces, making it an ideal location to invest in prime real estate.

Why Canada?

After a short correction, Canada’s housing market is beginning to heat up again. It’s now an ideal time for investors to get in on the action while homes are still affordable.

Secure Growth

Canada’s residential real estate industry is a seller’s market. Demand is outpacing new construction, and this is increasing the cost of homes at a fast rate. The bull market has been so hot that policymakers have implemented measures to increase affordability for regular Canadians. In times of global economic uncertainty, real estate is an ideal way to diversify your portfolio and shelter your investments. By choosing a rich, stable country like Canada, you can sleep at night knowing that your money is in a safe place, where growth is almost inevitable.

A Reliable Rental Market

The value of homes is driven by the rental market’s strength. While baby boomers who own houses are looking to downsize by renting apartments, millennials and young families who can’t afford to purchase homes are also on the rental market. In Montréal, the vacancy rate is as low at 1.9%, and this is pushing rents up. In markets where homes are still affordable, you can benefit from a great price-to-rent ratio, earning more money for a less considerable investment.

Regional Markets

Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal offer the country’s most dynamic real estate opportunities. To cool down their local markets, Vancouver and Toronto have enacted speculation and vacancy taxes, leaving Montreal as the most advantageous market for foreign investors. Global buyers are now setting their sights on Montreal, where average prices are still under $500,000 USD, but the strength of the economy and political stability are making the market much more attractive. As of February 2019, Montreal overtook Vancouver as Canada’s second largest housing market.

A Strong Economy

For the past decade, Canada’s economy has grown consistently and without any major disruptions. In 2017, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.0% in Canada, outpacing other advanced economies, despite the importance of manufacturing in Ontario and natural resource in Western provinces.

With the rise in population growth and low unemployment, demand for real estate is skyrocketing at a much faster rate than new construction. The Canadian middle class now has more buying power than a decade ago, and on average, even more than its American neighbours. This is also great news for those who intend on selling their homes in a few years.

The 10th largest economy in the world offers strong fundamentals, including geographic and sectoral clusters such as aerospace, biomedical, digital media, natural resources and agrifood. Its low taxes, combined with entrepreneurial and professional workforce, are driving factors for decades to come.

Social Benefits

Canada offers limitless possibilities to immigrant investors looking to move to a safe, environmentally friendly country. Here are just a few reasons why people from all over the world choose to build a life in Canada with their family.

Free Health Care

Canadian residents and citizens enjoy universal free health care. This means that a visit to the doctor is free, and so are many important health treatments. Each province manages its own health program. For example, in Québec, all residents have coverage for drug costs at all times. On average, Canadians have a 82.3 year life expectancy, which is better than France, the UK, the United States and Australia.

A Multicultural Society

Canada’s official multiculturalism policy promotes a plurality of cultural identities. Canada’s two official languages are English and French, but many more languages are spoken in its towns and cities. Aside from both official languages, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Arabic and Spanish are the most spoken languages. In the 2016 census, over 21% of respondents declared speaking a non-official language at home.

Quality Education

Canada has a strong public and private education system, making it affordable to send children to good schools and universities. Seven Canadian universities are regularly included in the world’s top 200 university rankings, including the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of Montreal.

Green Spaces and Clean Air

Canada is the home of a wide variety of pristine green spaces, parks, mountains, and lakes. Over 60% of the world’s lakes are in Canada, and national parks can be found near most major Canadian cities. Canadians can enjoy outdoor activities all year long, such as camping, hiking, skiing, canoeing and swimming.

Conclusion

Canada’s robust economy and safety net, combined with its openness to all cultures make it an obvious choice for prospective immigrant investors. The Province of Québec’s Immigrant Investor Program makes it easy for investors with business experience to obtain permanent residency in the province, simply by investing into a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years and having the intention to remain in Québec.

Guide to Purchasing a Condo

What are your intentions?

Are you an investor looking to rent or resell your home later? Or do you intend on using your property as your primary residence? For someone investing in a primary residence, the search can be narrowed down to quality of life, square footage, amount of rooms, desirability and location. Investors can make a more detached decision based on economic trends and speculation in terms of resale and rental price.

One indicator of an investment property’s potential income is its Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM). This figure can be obtained by dividing the home’s market value by its annual rent income. For example, if a property sold at $500 000 generates $25 000 in annual rent income, its GRM is 20. A lower GRM may indicate higher potential rent income. By researching different homes on the rental market, you can establish an ideal rent price and compare home prices.

What kind of home are you looking for?

One of the first decisions a home buyer makes it what type of home should they purchase. Detached houses offer more space including an outdoor backyard and possibly a shed or basement area. In most major cities, they are commonly found in car-friendly suburbs. Townhouses are built glued to each other, and often have two or three stories which are sometimes divided into different units. Most townhouses in Canada were built a century ago, before the advent of larger apartment buildings.

Condos, on the other hand, are built just like apartments, usually in buildings with multiple stories. This is the most frequent new type of construction on the Island of Montréal, as it offers a simpler and more affordable path to home ownership. In a condo building, land is divided among co-owners and managed through a condominium association. A condo owner is responsible for the maintenance of their own unit, but common grounds, such as hallways, yard, pool and garage are handled by the condominium association. If you’re not a renovation expert or don’t live in the same city as your home, this makes it easier to upkeep your home.

How many bedrooms will you need?

Most condominiums have one, two or three bedrooms. One bedroom condos are very popular among younger bachelors and couples with no children, which represents a majority of residents in downtown Montreal. Two bedroom units find many takers, including small families, students, couples and people who work from home. Larger and wealthier families enjoy more space, so they often prefer three bedroom units, sometimes with two or three bathrooms. When renting a home, there can be a significant price difference according to the number of bedrooms. By using the aforementioned GRM formula, you can effectively discover which homes offer the best return on investment.

What kind of location offers better potential appreciation?

Location is a key factor that can make or break a home’s value. In fact, two homes can have identical designs and be placed in separate locations, and their prices will be completely different. To learn whether a home’s location is attractive, the best advice we can give is to learn about the vicinity. Which services can you find nearby? How long is the commute to the central business district? Are there schools, day care centers, hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores and metro stations in the area? Where are the nearest landmarks, museums and tourist attractions? You don’t need to be a local tour guide to know the answers to these questions. Just by exploring the city by foot or looking at an online map should help find out if your potential purchase is in an ideal location.

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