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Investissements étrangers dans le marché immobilier montréalais


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Surtout des investisseurs chinois, comme on l'a vu pour le projet Séville..

 

via The Gazette

 

A foreign attraction to Montreal’s real estate market

 

BY ALLISON LAMPERT, GAZETTE REAL ESTATE REPORTER NOVEMBER 23, 2013 4:55 PM

 

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People are seen waiting outside the offices for the Seville condos on St-Catherine St. W. in 2010.

Photograph by: Dario Ayala, The Gazette

 

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The Seville Condo project has a sign, in English, French and Mandarin, that says “Do you know the person you let in without any fob? Please swipe your fob to show you live here” in the front entrance of the condo building on Ste-Catherine St. W. because of the large number of owners who are recent immigrants from China, or who have bought to rent out as an investment.

Photograph by: Dave Sidaway, The Gazette

MONTREAL — Down the street from Montreal’s old Forum, in a bustling neighbourhood now dotted with Chinese noodle shops, ethnic grocers and new construction, the sign on the door of the Le Seville condo building asks residents in French, English and Chinese: “Do you know the person you let in?”

 

 

Since last year’s annual meeting — when some condo owners from China had difficulty following the discussion — the board of directors has been translating important material — such as the sign on the door and the building’s annual budget — into Chinese.

 

 

“It was clear that the Chinese buyers needed to have access to a language they’d understand, like everyone else in the building,” said condo board president Colin Danby, who learned Mandarin during seven years spent in Taiwan.

 

 

“Not everything is translated. But as a board, we take that step when it is something important like building security.”

 

 

Residents estimate that between 20 to 40 per cent of the Seville’s co-owners are either Chinese Canadian, recent immigrants who own neighbouring shops in the area known as Shaughnessy Village, or are foreign investors from China.

 

 

They bought into the sold-out first phase of the 477-unit Seville in 2010 — when low interest rates and an economy that had emerged relatively well from the 2008 financial crisis drove demand for Montreal condos to near-record highs.

 

 

While the vast majority of foreign real estate buyers in Canada have focused on Toronto and Vancouver, investors from China, Middle East and Europe also helped fuel Montreal’s condo boom, which peaked in 2012.

 

 

In 2011, Montreal had the second highest number of permits and starts for new condos of any city in North America. Toronto was in first place.

 

 

“More inventory, more investors,” said Alexandre Sieber, senior managing director of Quebec operations for real-estate services firm CBRE Ltd. “As you build inventory, you are diversifying the investor base.”

 

 

Some firms estimate that up to 20 per cent of Montreal condos bought as rental properties — or to be flipped for a profit — were purchased by foreign buyers searching for inexpensive prices in a comparatively stable market.

 

 

Foreign investors have also bought small multi-unit buildings for use as student rentals and are showing interest in large properties, including vast tracts of land in the Laurentians, brokers say.

 

 

Just like Vancouver, or Toronto, there is no hard data for the number of foreign real-estate investors in Montreal.

 

 

But two foreign buyers, along with half-a-dozen commercial and residential real estate brokers, told The Gazette that sales to foreigners and landed-immigrants in areas like Westmount and LaSalle are on the upswing.

 

 

And Asian and Middle Eastern money is behind at least two new large sites downtown that are being promoted for residential development.

 

 

“We’re certainly seeing an increase in foreign buyers, especially from China,” said Robert MacDougall, senior vice-president for investment sales and special projects at the commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

 

 

MacDougall said about 10 to 20 per cent of his offers on properties now come from foreign investors, mostly Asians.

 

 

In addition to the foreigners who’ve long been purchasing condos for their adult children attending McGill and Concordia universities, people who have recently arrived from Asia are also buying homes in Westmount to be close to their kids’ private schools, brokers say.

 

 

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada estimated recently that half of the luxury properties sold in Montreal this year were purchased by foreigners.

 

 

“Two or three years ago, I had the odd buyer show up from China. That was kind of a novelty,” recalled Brian Dutch, a broker with Re/Max DuCartier, who specializes in the Westmount market. “Then all of a sudden, there was another Chinese broker calling for an appointment. And then there’s another.

 

 

“From it being the odd one, there are now at least two inquiries on a weekly basis.”

 

 

While foreign buyers are appreciated by the real estate industry because they purchase properties in a relatively soft housing market, investors from Asia and the Middle East have been blamed for driving up home prices in Vancouver. Economists have warned that foreign buyers also create a more volatile market driven by yields, rather than by fundamentals like having a place to live.

 

 

In Montreal, there have been a few instances of buyers from other countries failing to show up at the notary’s office, after signing contracts — and leaving hefty deposits — to purchase homes.

 

 

But Montreal brokers have yet to see widespread bidding wars with Asian or Middle Eastern buyers willing to pay above-market prices.

 

 

“I have seen those kinds of news stories from Toronto and Vancouver (about inflated prices), but my clients are more cautious,” said Jason Yu, a broker with the Brossard-based agency Esta Agence, whose commercial and residential buyers are mostly recent immigrants from China.

 

 

Yu, who’s worked with Dutch on multiple sales to Chinese buyers in Westmount, said several of his clients are wealthy Asian families moving to Montreal as part of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.

 

 

A decade ago, Yu and his family came to Canada from China as immigrant investors under a program that requires applicants with a net worth of at least $1.6 million to make an $800,000 interest-free loan to the government for five years.

 

 

The Quebec program — which mirrors a federal one that’s now frozen and does not accept new applicants — remains hotly debated, amid criticism that 90 per cent of the mostly Asian arrivals promptly move elsewhere in Canada, while their $800,000 stays in la Belle Province.

 

 

Quebec’s quota for 2013-2014 is 1,750 immigrant investors.

 

 

Despite the large number who leave, Yu says that he also sees immigrants who choose to stay in Montreal.

 

 

In the last few months, three of his Chinese clients purchased homes in Westmount, while a fourth is looking to buy downtown condos as an investment. She said the family moved to Montreal largely for her daughter’s education.

 

 

One immigrant from Shanghai described how her family moved to Westmount a few years ago through the Quebec investor program. Her husband is working in China right now while she raises their daughter and takes French classes in Quebec.

 

 

“We made the decision very quickly, based largely on what a friend from China who lived in Montreal told us,” said the woman, who spoke to The Gazette on condition that her name wouldn’t be published.

 

 

“We didn’t even know about Bill 101.”

 

 

The language law hasn’t affected the family, since her daughter is enrolled at a non-subsidized English girls’ school, where she is learning both official languages.

 

 

She said she’s constantly meeting new recent immigrants from China. Last week, the woman received a call from Dutch, who had been her real estate broker when she bought her home. Dutch invited her to meet a newcomer from Shanghai who had an accepted offer on a house in the area.

 

 

Dutch also invited the newcomer’s neighbour, a recent arrival from Beijing.

 

 

“I called my client to come over because I wanted as much for her and for them to get to know each other,” Dutch said. “Everyone was busy on their iPhones, sharing contact information and yacking away in Mandarin. It was fun.

 

 

“It’s something we haven’t seen before.”

 

 

Also new is the tendency of immigrant investors — even ones who leave Quebec — to purchase properties in Montreal.

 

 

“Will they stay? History says they won’t, but they are making investments here,” said Eric Goodman, owner of Century 21 Vision in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

 

 

He described one new condo project in LaSalle, where 80 per cent of the units were sold to Chinese buyers, including recent immigrants, or investors who are still in China.

 

 

“They are buying them as investments and they are buying them for family members who may come in the future,” said Goodman.

 

 

“They are always looking for places to put their money. They feel it is safe to build here, even if they’re not going to make as much of a return as in Toronto.”

 

 

Goodman’s agency also sold the land to the developers behind the YUL mixed condo and townhouse project on René Lévesque Blvd. near Lucien L’Allier Rd. The YUL project, backed by Chinese investors, is being marketed to foreign as well as local buyers.

 

 

Adjacent to YUL, land on René Lévesque Blvd. next to Guy St. has been purchased by investors from Qatar who intend to launch their Babylon residential development this spring.

 

 

The downtown area has proven attractive to investors because of the large pool of student tenants, and the limited construction of new rental buildings to replace the city’s aging stock.

 

 

Indeed, investors — who make up an estimated 40 per cent of owners at Seville — generated such demand for the project that people were lining up at 10 a.m., a day before the sales office opened in 2010.

 

 

Colin Danby, now condo board president for the Seville’s phase 1, arrived at 3 p.m. He was No. 58 in line, he recalled. The crowd was so large that by 8 p.m., developer Groupe Prével decided to give out tickets to buyers.

 

 

And just like the hockey scalpers outside the old Forum in the 1970s, “authorized” Seville buyers were said to be hawking condo tickets on the street for $5,000 each.

 

 

[email protected]

 

 

Twitter: RealDealMtl

 

 

© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette

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C'est un article intéressant qui nous démontre l'attraction de Montréal malgré tout. Et qui démontre aussi que l'image du Centre-Ville Ouest, surtout autour du Shaughnessy Village, changera beaucoup. En fait, le changement a déjà débuté depuis quelques années et semble s'accélérer. Dommage que beaucoup de chinois semblent quitter après un certain temps mais je pense que ceux qui viennent, investissent et repartent, sont très mobile et font sensiblement la même chose lorsqu'ils achètent a Toronto et Vancouver.

 

Maintenant, ce qu'il nous faut, c'est une grande entreprise chinoise qui décide d'investir a Montréal. Peut-être que cela aiderait a garder les jeunes chinois ici.

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L'économie de 2013 ne peut pas ressembler à l'économie des baby boomers, ils ont créé une hausse des biens qui ne sera jamais répétée. Tous ces condos ne couteront pas beaucoup plus cher dans 10 ans, sinon plus. Même si les investisseurs étrangers ont des poches profondes, il est très improbable que la tendance des prix à la hausse continue.

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Ça dépend. Le retour en ville est une tendance qui pourrait s'accélérer, en plus de l'arrivée continuelle de nouveaux immigrants. J'ai l'impression que ce qui risque de stagner dans 10 ans, ce sont les prix des maisons banlieusardes, alors que les centres seront plus demandés.

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C'est effectivement un facteur qui peut faire réfléchir les gens. Surtout ceux qui doivent travailler sur l'ile. Idéalement se rapprocher du travail est une option gagnante, mais c'est plus difficile quand les deux travaillent, ce qui est souvent la norme.

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Surtout avec les histoires de ponts ces temps-ci, plusieurs de mes connaissances pensent à revenir sur l'île.

 

Attention! Mon commentaire est rédigé, comme disent les Anglais, "tongue in cheek"; alors je dirais: oui, mais souhaitons pour ces gens que leurs employeurs ne déménagent pas en banlieue juste après. Plus sérieusement, un lieu de résidence sur l'île de Montréal n'est pas une garantie à toutes épreuves que vous serez libérés des problèmes de circulation, par exemple, habiter à Pointe-aux-Trembles et travailler à Pointe-Claire. De surcroît, comme le mentionne apcnc, dans un ménage (couple) avec deux emplois, le risque qu'au moins l'un se trouve éloigné est significatif. Idéalement, vous habiterez au centre-ville et vos emplois présents et futurs s'y trouveront; la probabilité est élevée. Mais pour des emplois dans des zones périphériques de l'île, c'est problématique. Et au niveau macro (l'ensemble de la population de la RMR), il serait virtuellement impossible de rassembler sur l'île tous les habitants y travaillant, car même si on y parvenait par une multiplications des tours d'habitation, on n'aurait pas résolu la question de l'espace nécessaire pour accomoder les établissements de services supplémentaires (magasins, écoles, etc), sans compter les coûts élevés associés à l'intensification nécessaire des moyens de transport. Finalement, quand je considère les tendances à long terme, je vois certes une poursuite de la tertiairisation ( et moins d'industrie manufacturière), mais il faut distinguer en le tertiaire moteur de haut niveau, pour lequel Montréal doit lutter avec les grandes métropoles mondiales), et le tertiaire axé sur les services locaux et le commerce de gros à l'échelle régionale et/ou nationale: ces derniers consomment beaucoup d'espace (entrepôts, routes) et s'établiront plutôt en banlieue.

 

Quant aux "étrangers" qui investissent dans l'immobilier résidentiel, de préférence au centre: oui, c'est l'indice d'une certaine confiance en l'avenir, mais cela ne changera rien à la future trame urbaine (c'est différent à Vancouver, vu l'ampleur du phénomène, mais encore là on pourrait s'interroger sur les avantages qu'en retirent les "anciens" habitants de cette ville)

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