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This two-bedroom apartment overlooks the historic structures and cobblestone streets of Old Montreal. It occupies most of the fourth floor in a five-story building dating to 1921, which originally housed a British shipping company. Urns, friezes and columns embellish the stone facade.


The living area is open plan, with the kitchen anchoring the middle of the space. Italian glass mosaic tiles on the backsplash echo the colors of the granite countertops. The cabinets are modular and can be removed easily from the walls through a detachable hooking mechanism, allowing owners to rearrange at will.


The master bedroom has built-in closets. The tub and shower are also in the bedroom, while the sink and toilet are behind closed doors. A panel with flashing LED lights over the tub can be synched with the apartment’s sound system. The second bedroom also has built-in closets; its bathroom is enclosed with frosted glass, and the walls in the double shower are lined with white river stones.


The building is near Old Montreal’s cafes, boutiques and art galleries. The business district, the old port and the performing arts center are all within walking distance. Montréal-Trudeau International Airport is about 25 minutes away.




“Generally in Montreal right now we have a market that still favors sellers,” said David L’Heureux, senior market analyst for Montreal for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In 2010, he added, prices in the greater Montreal market increased 8 percent, spurred by economic recovery.


Demand is not as robust for the luxury segment of the market, which Mr. L’Heureux defined as homes priced above 500,000 Canadian dollars (about $510,000, at 0.98 Canadian dollars to the dollar). But the property market in Old Montreal is the exception to this rule. “Nobody wants to sell,” said Patricia Lallier, owner of Immeuble International in Old Montreal. As a result, the area has very low supply and high demand. Prices per square foot in Old Montreal depend on size and building services. Ms. Lallier says a two-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot condo with high ceilings, views and a parking space costs 440 to 650 Canadian dollars per square foot. The apartment featured here costs 593 Canadian dollars per square foot, average for the area.




“When the Canadian dollar was weaker, we had a lot of Americans buying,” said Roger Quirion, a Montreal-based certified real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec and the listing agent for this apartment. Now that the euro is stronger, Mr. Quirion said, he is seeing more European buyers, especially from France, because of the language and cultural ties.


Montreal is also popular with the British, but Mr. Quirion said British economic tumult had decreased the number of buyers over the past two years. He added that Russians tend to buy investment properties in Montreal.




There are no restrictions on foreign buyers, Mr. Quirion said. A notary, chosen by the buyer, oversees the sale, processing the legal paperwork for both buyer and seller. Fees vary depending on the size of the mortgage; the notary’s liability insurance is tied to the amount of financing involved in each sale.


Buyers also pay a welcome tax, a one-time charge based on the purchase price. Foreign buyers looking to finance their sales are usually required to put down at least 30 percent, Mr. Quirion added.




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