July is usually considered the dog days of Montreal's resale market. With so many buyers and sellers focused on finding a place and moving by almighty July 1, business tends to tail of for the rest of the month and everyone heads off for a well-earned vacation, or to recuperate after helping a friend move a sectional sofa into a third-floor walk-up.
Not this year!
Housing resales across greater Montreal rose by 19 per cent last month, compared to July, 2008. Median home prices rose by 7 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier.
In reality, I think the sales increase could be pinned on pent-up demand. The real estate market got off to a slow start this year. Buyers usually start kicking tires in early February with an eye towards closing the sale sometime in mid June. This year, sales were down in February, March and April before recovering in May and June. July's increase was an example of pent-up demand in action.
For a period of about seven months the Montreal housing market decided to wait and see. The terrible headlines from south of the border and points west put homeowners on edge and made buyers clutch their wallets a little tighter.
Thank goodness for the first-time buyers, who recognized that low interest rates and steady prices meant great deals were to be had.
Here's the breakdown of sales on the island of Montreal, courtesy of my industry overlords at the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board.
Active listings: 7,695 (-6 per cent)
Total sales: 1,325 (+19 per cent)
Single-family: 454 (+23 per cent)
Condominium: 930 (+17 per cent)
Plexes 2-5 units: 275 (+16 per cent)
Volume of sales: $448,600,429 (+20 per cent)
Overall sales still trail 2008, but with recessionary jitters hopefully safe in our rear-view mirrors, I'm looking forward to finishing the year strong.