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September Sales: Tightening Up

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Westmount real estate prices staggered in September, not so much because demand dropped but because some houses, which had been on the market for quite some time, finally sold.

The average time on the market for six homes and a duplex which sold in September was 154 days, and in fact that includes two houses which were picked up within a day of coming on the market: one was seriously underpriced and sold for 10 percent above asking price; the other was reported sold the day after it was listed, for almost $300,000 below asking price. With those two excepted, the average time on the market goes to 215 days, and it can be suggested that most of them were stale, that they could have sold higher if they had been properly priced in the first place.

Agents say that there is very little new product coming out this fall, at least so far, but there is still plenty of demand for Westmount’s high-priced real estate. After an August whose final tally was eight sales, seven of which were over $1 million, September has posted seven sales, five over $1 million. (One sale each month was upwards of $2 million.) With buyers ready to put out that kind of cash, Westmount is becoming a seller’s market these days, though the market is still limited simply because it is so much higher than the rest of Montreal. Volume is way off, in fact this is the lowest volume for the first nine months since 1994, though August and September 2001 had fewer sales in a two-month period.

With two prices going under their municipal valuation, the average price for September came down significantly, but our view is that the market has generally stayed even this year, catching its breath after recovering from the tremendous uncertainty of early 2009. Average markup for the month was only 8.5 percent, based on the 2007 valuations which still apply to Westmount real estate until the new roll comes into force in January. The raw average price for the third quarter of 2010 was a record $1,408,727, so even if the markups are coming off somewhat, indications are that the market still has not peaked.

Third-quarter condominium sales, in fact, indicate an average markup of 27.1 percent, similar to the averages of Westmount homes earlier in the summer. Condo prices averaged just over $560,000, with only one sale over $750,000 in the latest three-month period.

Only three houses and a lower duplex sold in adjacent-Westmount areas in September, including one house on Redpath Crescent which went for well over $2 million. With that exception, it seems the areas around Westmount were suffering from the demand for Westmount properties.

Posted by andy September 2010

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