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March Sales: Short Supply

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Prices stayed strong in Westmount real estate sales in March, though volume is off mainly because of lack of supply for mid-priced houses. March is supposed to be one of the busiest months of the year, but only 12 sales were posted locally in a month which normally averages almost 24.

Of those 12 sales, eight were for prices between $1 million and $2 million, but only one sold for more than $2 million. The average price was almost $1,340,000, in a range from $723,500 to $2,100,000. Three of the sales were for less than the new 2011 municipal evaluation, the hgihest markup was only 29 percent, and the average markup was 12 percent, the same average as February.

So far this year only three sales have been reported over $2 million, while there are 34 properties listed for more than that amount. The low supply is in the $1 million to $2 million range, where last weekend we counted 52 listings, and only 18 for less than $1 million. With such limited demand for the high-priced homes, we suspecdt that the range will narrow considerably between those and the mid-range houses. Of course, many of the $2 million-plus listings are casual listings, promises that if someone comes up with that type of money, the vendors might be willing to sell.

Because of the short supply, so far this year Westmount has posted only 31 sales, the same as in 2009 when the world was catapaulting toward recession, and the lowest number of sales reported in the first quarter of a year since 1994, when there were 30.

Five condominiums sold in March, in a range from $375,000 to $1,220,000, with an average markup of 11 percent so almost the same as for one- and two-family dwellings. Though the statistics are somewhat sketchy, it is safe to say that the value of Westmount condominiums has increased some 13 percent over the past year, and has doubled since the beginning of 2001.

In adjacent Westmount areas, the first quarter has been equally busy, though no house sales have been reported in the Shaughnessy Village area. Three of the new homes on St. Sulpice Road brought prices over $2 million each, by far the highest prices in adjacent-Westmount. Of 19 other house sales in the various districts, only three brought prices over $1 million, an indication the buyers are still favouring Westmount homes.

Eight Westmount houses were rented in the first quarter of the year, for monthly rates ranging from $2,450 to $6,000. Volume is up from six at the same time last year, but down from 11 in 2009.

Posted by andy March 2011

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