Monday, June 15, 2009

What $180,000 to $190,000 Can Get You

At least 280 properties have sold since the beginning of 2009 for between $180,000 and $190,000 in greater Montreal. Included in that number are at least 67 single-family homes.
That should be good news to anyone who thinks that housing prices have risen beyond reach. Know hope! There are still plenty of affordable homes to be had, especially if you are willing to be something of an adventurer and take up residence outside your comfort zone. Yes, my Plateau hipsters, I'm talking to you!

The three properties posted here all sold for between $180k and $190k this year. They are all located in central neighborhoods and offer three different ownership possibilities.

The bottom photo features a duplex on Dumas St. in Ville Emard, located within walking distance of the Monk métro stop and near Ignace-Bourget Park, home to an awwwwwesome tobogganing hill.
The duplex features two two-bedroom apartments, each rented at $500 a month. The listing mentioned the possibility of quick owner occupancy. By paying 5 per cent down and using the rent from the other unit, a buyer could in theory reduce the monthly mortgage payment to about $500 a month.

The middle photo shows an upper undivided condo on St. Vallier St. in lovely Petite Patrie.
(I've been enchanted by St. Vallier St. ever since first hearing the Beau Dommage song Tous les Palmiers. It's about saying goodbye to sunny tropical climes for the joy of Montreal in early spring. "Adieu, adieu pays des oranges/ J'm'en vais aider mon frère qui déménage." The chorus goes "Soixante dix-sept soixante St-Vallier, Montréal.)
I digress.
The building is held in undivided co-ownership, which means that rather than buying a unit, the buyer acquires a fraction of the total building. Undivided properties generally sell for less than comparable divided properties. The upside is that they have lower school and municipal taxes. The downside is that buyers generally have to put at least a 20 per cent deposit when purchasing. This upgraded upper features two bedrooms and a balcony, plus a large storage area in the basement. The Beaubien métro is close by, as are St. Denis and Beaubien Sts., Little Italy and the Jean-Talon market.

The top photo features a Montreal shoebox-style bungalow in eastern Ville-Marie. In fact, it's so far east I'm not sure why it isn't considered Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, or HoMa, as the cool kids are calling it these days.
This 1,000-square-foot home has three closed bedrooms, as well as a living room and dining. The kitchen has a skylight and there are patio doors leading to an enclosed backyard. The garden has a pear tree, an apple tree and a cherry tree, as well as three kinds of grape vines. There's a fireplace in the living room and many upgrades including thermal windows, copper plumbing and a new hot water tank. The house is within five minutes of Frontenac métro.

These are just three of the nearly 300 properties that sold for between $180,000 and $190,000 so far this year. There are plenty of others to choose from in places like Rivière des Prairies, Pierrefonds and Mercier. If you're thinking of buying and affordability is on your mind, looking outside the hottest neighborhoods is a good option. You won't be alone. In its last quarterly market update, The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board reported that prices across the region rose 2 per cent between January and April. HoMa was one neighborhood that beat the Montreal average - prices there rose by 17 per cent, compared to the same quarter last year. Bargain-conscious buyers are flocking there. The same can be said for the Southwest borough, where prices are up a minimum of 37 per cent and as much as 55 per cent, depending of property type, over the last five years.

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