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May Sales: Hot Hot Hot

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Westmount’s already sizzling market got hotter than ever in May, with five single-family sales selling at or above their asking prices, the average mark-up jumping to 15 percent above municipal valuation, and the average days-to-sale dropping from 132 in April to 87 in May. This at a time when the inventory of available houses is dropping sharply and a recovering economy is attracting more interest in Westmount real estate.

By some bizarre coincidence, 19 sales have been posted by local agents who negotiated sales agreements in May, the same number as were posted in each of February, March and April. While the average price has dipped slightly from $1.77 million in March to $1.64 million in May, in fact the average mark-up has hovered around the 10-percent mark for all of the first five months of the year.

Prices in May ranged from $700,000 to $3,700,000. The $700,000 sale was, in fact, only 54 percent of the property’s tax value, so that also became the biggest mark-down of the month; another $2.2 million sale was basically double its valuation, by far the highest mark-up of the month. Only three of the 19 sales came in below municipal value, and the second-highest mark-up was 43 percent.

Still, the most interesting feature of May’s market is the notes on listings: “Multiple offers” appears on several occasions, and one house asking $1,795,000 is reported to have sold for $1,895,000, so it is apparent (at least some) Westmount buyers are not too concerned about cash outlay. Eight of the 19 sales were listed for fewer than 20 days and the old stock is disappearing fast.

The condo market is definitely picking up, too, with seven sales in May and twelve so far in the second quarter of 2017. All but one of those sales were for prices between $300,000 and $719,000, and in fact all but three were in Westmount’s major or newer apartment buildings. The average mark-up for the quarter (so far, with June to come) climbed to 7.7 percent from 1.3 percent in the first quarter. Four of the 12 prices were less than valuation, and the biggest mark-up was 45.6 percent.

Nine new sales were posted in adjacent-Westmount areas; except for the east end of Notre Dame de Grâce, where the average mark-up over valuation is only 1.3 percent, mark-ups are higher than they are in Westmount proper, as high as 31.1 percent in the “Golden Square Mile” sector of Montreal.

As of mid-June, the number of single-family dwellings on the market in Westmount increased slightly to 67, but this is less than half the number up for grabs exactly a year ago. Of those 67, only four are asking less than $1 million and in fact only one is less than $900,000. Another 13 are asking more than $4 million, and one of those is more than $10 million. Even the market for rental houses is tighter than it was last year, 18 houses available for rent compared to 25 a year ago; the number rented so far this year is up to 20 compared to 16 by mid-June a year ago.

Posted by andy May 2017

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