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Where to buy now

We tell you exactly which neighbourhoods are set to skyrocket in value.

 

MONTREAL

 

 

A small slice of Europe on this side of the big pond, Montreal has been dubbed Canada’s sexiest city. With a jam-packed festival season that includes the highly rated Just For Laughs comedy festival and the Festival International de Jazz, along with an array of local boutiques, restaurants and bistros, Montreal offers something for everyone—as long as you can find a job. While the national unemployment rate hovers at around 7%, Montreal’s unemployment rate sits at 8.2%. Still, the city saw a 4% rise in its population from 2011 to 2012 and announcements of inner-city rejuvenation—including the new McGill University Health Centre—are helping bolster property prices. Real estate is still cheap compared with other major Canadian cities—the average price of a home on Montreal Island is $481,386, and if you broaden the boundaries and look at the Greater Montreal Area, including the North and South Shores, the average home price is $324,595. “It’s comparatively cheaper than say Toronto or Vancouver, but we also battle to attract jobs,” explains Jeffrey Baker, a realtor with Royal LePage Dynastie.

 

The best real estate opportunities right now are on the island itself. First on our list is the Rosemont/La Petite Patrie area, known locally as Little Italy. “This area is very, very hot,” says Baker. A big reason is that the neighbourhood is on the northern border of the Le Plateau/Mont-Royal area—a vibrant, popular and expensive place located near downtown. “Rosemont/La Petite Patrie isn’t a Plateau want-to-be,” says Baker. “It has its own distinct character. But many people who start out renting in Plateau end up buying here.”

 

In fact, this is what Matthew Taylor, 50, and his 40-year-old Rosa De Leon did earlier this year. “We bought in mid-December after living and renting for 20 years in Plateau-Mont-Royal,” says Taylor, a CEGEP teacher at Dawson College. While the couple originally wanted to purchase in Plateau, they found they were priced out of the market. “Everything we looked at within our budget was far too small for a family of four,” says Taylor. That’s when the couple started looking at other neighbourhoods, eventually settling on a duplex in La Petite Patrie. “We really love checking out the local restaurants,” says Taylor.

 

They aren’t the only ones. In the last three years, as the neighbourhood has become popular with buyers, prices have zoomed up 23%. “This is a high density area with lots of picturesque homes,” Baker says. In recent years many older textile buildings were converted into lofts, explains Amy Assaad, a Royal LePage Heritage realtor. This provided great first-time buyer opportunities, while helping to gentrify the neighbourhood.

 

If the average property price of $468,000 is a bit daunting, consider our next top neighbourhood of Villeray/Saint Michel/Parc-Extension. Directly to the north, this large area has a population of 142,000 residents. The main draw is the neighbourhood’s affordability. Average property prices are more than $100,000 cheaper than neighbouring communities and the area is experiencing dramatic growth. “Lots of condo conversions are taking place in this community,” Assaad says. David Schneider, a Sutton Group Immobilia realtor and history-buff, explains that historically the neighbourhood has been one of the poorest urban communities in Canada. “Cheap rents meant students have been living here for decades. This, in turn, has made the area cool.”

 

The third neighbourhood in our Montreal ranking was South-West (also known as Sud-Ouest). Homes in this area are 11% cheaper than the average Montreal Island home, but area prices have appreciated 40% in the last three years. “I’ve been buzzing about this neighbourhood for the last five years,” says Schneider. “Property values here are undervalued.” It’s an opinion shared by Nikki Tsantrizos, 29, and her partner, Steve Lavigne, 34. Two years ago, the couple started looking in the St. Henri district of South-West for a place to buy. “We’d rented in the area for 10 years and despite being a rough area, just loved it.” That was two years ago. Now, a full reno later, the value of their home has risen 40%. “When we bought there were strip clubs, hotdog stands and poutine shops,” says Tsantrizos. “Now these have been replaced by trendy cafes and boutiques.” But despite being close to downtown, the canal and the Atwater Market, this area’s reputation has been marred by social housing projects. Even so, recent developments are starting to put the community on the map. For instance, a high-tech hospital—slated to open in 2015—is prompting speculation on future home prices.

 

Two other neighbourhoods to consider are Verdun and LaSalle—both on the southern tip of the island. While Verdun is an older neighbourhood (originally settled by the Irish) it’s got a lot of potential. Despite a three-year appreciation of 22%, families may be leery of the area, given its high crime rate. Still, with its close proximity to the canal, downtown, the Métro (Montreal’s subway system) and Concordia University, it’s only a matter of time before the area experiences true gentrification. Homes in LaSalle are also rising, with an 11% increase in the last year alone. “Though it’s much more suburban than the other four neighbourhoods—and not as well-served by transit—it provides a less dense community that’s very family-oriented,” Schneider says. It’s also a place known for having some of the best shopping in the city.

 

 

http://www.moneysense.ca/property/buy/where-to-buy-now-2

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