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July Sales: Lower Prices Abound

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Bargain hunters appear to have been out in force in July, picking up whatever houses they could in the undeer-$1 million category, but staying away from the condominium market.

Six out of the thirteen sales posted in July brought prices under $1 million, the lowest at $605,000 and three others less than $800,000. Another four ranged in price from $1 to $1.2 million, and two tied for the highest price of $1,900,000, fairly modest by Westmount standards. Average price was $1,096,923 compared with $1,372,250 in June, but the adjusted average markup is still 22 percent and the figure has wavered only slightly for most of this year.

Volume in July was actually more than in June, somewhat surprising considering we are moving into an election period which usually causes a slow-down in sales. We suspect that the bargain hunters are responsible for the surge, gambling on the outcome of the election to get a foothold in Westmount.

Still, no condos sold in Westmount in July, though three units in apartment buildings just east of the city limits brought prices from $450,000 to $800,000. The only other adjacent-Westmount sale was a duplex in Côte des Neiges, an indication that pre-election jitters were holding back the buyers.

So far this year 102 sales have been posted, compared to 106 through July last year but stronger than the year-to-date volume for 2009 or 2010. The 13 sales in July compares with an average of only 10.9 for the month generally, but buyers are likely to hold off on making offers now until after the election.

House rentals are moving at about the same pace this year as last year, though the rates have moved up significantly. In the first seven months of 2011 the top rate obtained in Westmount was $7,000 per month; this year three houses have rented for more than that, with a top rate of $8,400 a month. The average of 19 house rentals last year was just over $4,340 per month; this year the average of 20 rentals is $5,270 per month.

Posted by andy July 2012

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