Were you born in Montreal?
Yes, I was born and raised in Montreal, in the municipality of Westmount.
Every real estate market has its own opportunities and challenges. How does Montreal stand out?
Many factors affect the real estate market. Financial, political, market trendseach province in which we operate has its own unique situation. In Qubec, specifically Montreal, we have always been blessed by a stable market for many reasons but none more important that the fact that it is located in a French-speaking province. Why does that have an impact? Because unless you speak French, are willing to live in a French environment or work for a company which operates in French, you probably will notmove to Montreal. This means prices will always be lower than other cities with much more turnover, such as Toronto or Vancouver, but you will also have more qualified buyers, as there is a more serious thought processtakenbefore making the move. Secondly and historically, the major contributing factor to the price of homes in Montreal is politics. The fear of a separation of the province from the rest of the country has always had a negative impact on prices. When the political is stable, as it currently is, the market is strong and more importantly, stable.
In Montreal in 2018, sales volume grew, prices increased and the average time on market steadily dropped. Will the hot streak continue in 2019?
The one thing we do not have in this business, but desperately need, is a crystal ball. For now, with a freeze on interest rates, no foreign buyers tax, unemployment at an all-time low and more attractive pricing than Toronto or Vancouver, it is safe to say that the first quarter of 2019 will remain strong for the Montreal marketand we will take it from there.
Other Canadian housing markets reflected a lot of restraint in 2018. Why should people be optimistic when looking forward to the year ahead?
Everyone needs a place to live. The question is how much they are willing to pay for it.Certain programs in provinces we operate in outside of Qubec, notably British Columbia and Ontario, have put programs in place to balance out the high year-over-year increases in real estate prices (foreign buyers taxes, speculation taxes, vacancy taxes, and more). But with a country like ours, which was voted the best place to live, as well as government intervention in regards to interest rates and mortgage rules, buying a home in Canada still remains the best investment anyone can make.
Why do you value Sothebys International Realtys global network?
For us, where across the country we have seen a spike in foreign investment, having a truly global network like Sothebys International Realty is a key asset to our agents. More importantly, we see the value in the relationships. In my ten years with the company, I have built strong working relationships, as well as friendships, with people all across the network. There is very low turnover and this is proof positive that people not only appreciate the brand, but believe in it and its culture.