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March Sales: High Prices, Low Volume

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Prices moved up but volume was very low in March this year, with three $2 million-plus sales reported by local realtors as they heralded what is usually the busiest time of year for the local market.

Only nine sales have been logged as accepted offers in March, which typically sees about 20 sales and last year recorded 16. It is down from 13 sales in February and is the lowest volume for a March (in Westmount) since 2001. The three sales over $2 million — including one over $3 million — and four more between $1,200,000 and $1,710,000 were enough to bring the average of the nine sales to $1,755,833, even with the two lowest prices below $900,000. The average markup is 39 percent, the highest ever compared to the 2011 valuation roll, but it is boosted by one sale at well over double the municipal tax value. With that plus other extremes removed, the adjusted price goes down slightly in March, but certainly not enough to indicate that the market has turned down.

In considering the first-quarter average for 2013, in fact, the value of the “typical” Westmount house is up 5.5 percent compared to the previous quarter and now at its highest quarterly average ever, basically $1,550,000.

Three condominium sales were reported in March, bringing the total for the first quarter to six, of which only one involves a share of a triplex, all the others are apartments. With the triplex flat at $360,000 and one apartment selling for $700,000, all the others are between $515,000 and $585,000. The markup over valuation in the quarter is 26 percent compared to 32 percent for one- and two-family dwellings, so the difference is hardly significant.

Three of the nine home sales in March were on the market less than 10 days and one more less than a month, but the others had been listed for quite some time; this indicates that there is plenty of demand for Westmount real estate, and the problem is supply, at least in the range of $1 million to $2 million.

Adjacent Westmount saw four single-family sales, two in eastern Notre Dame de Grâce, one on Circle Road and one on Richelieu Place in downtown Montreal. So far this year there have been eight home sales in adjacent-Westmount, of which three were $1 million or more.

Posted by andy Posted in: Monthly Analysis No Comments » March 2013