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December Sales: Another Non-Month

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The second non-month in 2013 — after August — has brought Westmount real estate to a screeching halt, marking the slowest year since 1994 in Westmount real estate history.

Only three sales were posted by agents as having taken place in December, slightly better than two in August, but it certainly speaks to the worried atmosphere as the Quebec and Canadian economies sputter leading into 2014. Prices ranged from $1,000,000 to $2,800,000 and markups (over the 2011 valuation) from 13 to 90 percent, but of course the statistics don’t mean much with such a small sample. Still, the high price of the three says there is hope for those whose houses are worth $2 million and more; two of the three sales had been on the market five months or more, while the third was snapped up in seven days. So there are buyers out there, though they are being very careful with their money.

For the year 2013, the total 135 sales (yet to be confirmed) is the second-lowest annual volume of one- and two-family transactions since we began keeping records in 1986 (though much better than the 97 sales reported in 1994, leading up to the second sovereignty referendum). The average price of last year’s sales was way down from 2012, dropping to $1,382,420 from $1,489,423 a year earlier, but in fact the average markup over valuation was 0.3 percent higher, at 125.7 percent last year, so it could be said that the “typical” Westmount house price stayed just about even. The point, of course, is that only 15 sales over $2 million were reported last year compared with 24 in 2012, and that brought the average price down significantly.

Condominium sales suffered badly in December, too, and only one co-op flat on St. Antoine Street sold in the month. Volume for the year dropped to 32 condos compared to 40 in 2012; markups were up very slightly but the average price dipped to $697,728 from $711,439 the year previous. Co-ops held their own with 25 sales compared to 23 in 2012.

For adjacent-Westmount areas, markups were down in every district, most notably in the “Golden Square Mile” where the average markup over valuation in nine single-family sales dropped to 18 percent compared with 72 percent in six sales in 2012. That last statistic was heavily influenced by one sale at almost triple the tax value, but in fact there were no markups less than 30 percent above valuation, so obviously the interest in downtown single-family homes dropped drastically in the past year.

There are hopes the spring market will revive interest in Westmount properties, but keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by andy December 2013

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