Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards



Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards

January 16, 2014 09:00 ET

Soft Landing for Province's Real Estate Market in 2013

ILE-DES-SOEURS, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Jan. 16, 2014) - The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) has released its residential sales statistics for the province of Québec, based on the real estate brokers' Centris® provincial database. In total, 71,265 residential sales were concluded in 2013, which represents an 8 per cent decrease compared to 2012. Single-family homes, which was the only property category to register an increase in sales in 2012, posted the smallest decrease in sales in 2013, at -7 per cent (50,082 transactions). Plex sales fell by 9 per cent with 6,015 transactions, while condominium sales took the largest tumble in 2013, falling by 10 per cent (14,788 transactions) compared to 2012.

The vast majority of Québec's Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and agglomerations finished the year with fewer sales than in 2012. Among the CMAs, only Sherbrooke performed better than the provincial average, with a 7 per cent decrease in sales. In contrast, the Saguenay CMA, which registered the second-best performance in 2012, posted the largest decrease in sales in 2013 (-18 per cent). Most of the province's agglomerations registered a drop in sales in 2013, varying between -1 per cent in Sainte-Agathe and -27 per cent in Sept-Îles. Among the few agglomerations that registered an increase in sales in 2013, Mont-Laurier performed well with a 23 per cent increase in sales, its second best annual result. In general, activity outside of the metropolitan areas had a less significant slowdown in sales (-4 per cent) as compared to all of the province's CMAs combined (-10 per cent), which reflects the smaller decreases in sales in the agglomerations.

For a third consecutive year, the number of active listings rose sharply in Québec in 2013, as an average of close to 71,000 residential properties were for sale by a real estate broker, a 9 per cent jump compared to 2012. "With the increase in the number of homes for sale, market conditions continued to relax in many areas of the province which, in general, translated into much more moderate price increases than in 2012," explained Paul Cardinal, Manager of the QFREB's Market Analysis Department.

Half of all single-family homes were sold at a price higher than $225,000, which is stable compared to 2012. The median price of condominiums and plexes also remained relatively stable in 2013, as both property categories registered a slight increase of 1 per cent. Four of the province's six Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) continued to post increases in the median price of single-family homes in 2013: Montréal (+2 per cent), Sherbrooke (+2 per cent), Québec City (+3 per cent) and Saguenay (+3 per cent). However, these increases are smaller than those registered in 2012. Finally, the median price of single-family homes remained stable in Gatineau and decreased slightly in Trois-Rivières (-1 per cent).

"The effects of the more restrictive mortgage insurance rules that came into effect in 2012, which reduce the maximum amortization period for new insured mortgages to 25 years, continued to be felt on the real estate market in 2013," said Mr. Cardinal. "This has led to a rebalancing of the province's real estate market and has resulted in more moderate price increases," he explained.

Decrease in Sales in Fourth Quarter of 2013

After stagnating in the third quarter of the year, sales started to fall in the fourth quarter in Québec. With 14,202 transactions across the province, sales decreased by 5 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The number of active listings increased by 9 per cent and the median price of single-family homes rose to $225,000, a 2 per cent increase.

Fourth Quarter of 2013 Cumulative for 2013
Sales * Variation ** Median Price (single-family homes) Variation ** Sales * Variation ** Median Price (single-family homes) Variation **
Province of Québec 14,202 -5% $225,000 2% 71,265 -8% $225 000 0%
Metropolitan Areas
Gatineau 641 -6% $223,700 -1% 3,545 -8% $230 000 0%
Montréal 7,315 -2% $280,000 2% 36,522 -9% $279 500 2%
Québec City 1,257 -12% $240,000 0% 6,282 -13% $245 000 3%
Saguenay 197 -24% $177,000 2% 1,185 -18% $180 000 3%
Sherbrooke 315 -5% $190,000 0% 1,665 -7% $193 000 2%
Trois-Rivières 165 -12% $148,000 -1% 928 -10% $149 000 -1%

*Total residential

** Variation compared to the same quarter of the previous year

Source: QFREB by the Centris® system

In the Gatineau Metropolitan Area, 3,545 residential properties were sold in 2013, an 8 per cent decrease compared to 2012. Sales of single-family homes and condominiums registered decreases of 7 and 10 per cent respectively, while plexes had the largest decline with a 16 per cent decrease in transactions. The number of properties listed on the Centris® system continued to rise for the third consecutive year: on average, 2,805 properties were for sale in 2013, which is 19 per cent higher than one year earlier. The median price of single-family homes ($230,000) and condominiums ($166,331) remained stable in 2013.

In the Montréal Metropolitan Area, 36,522 residential sales transactions were concluded in 2013, a 9 per cent decrease compared to 2012. This was the first time since 2006 that the sales level has fallen below 40,000 units. The number of properties for sale increased (+13 per cent) for a third consecutive year. The year 2013 was also marked by a rebalancing of market conditions for single-family homes and plexes, which were sellers' markets since at least the early 2000s. The condominium market continues to give buyers a slight upper hand. Across the metropolitan area, the median price of single-family homes ($279,500) and plexes ($425,000) increased by 2 per cent in 2013, while that of condominiums ($227,000) remained stable compared to 2012. In all cases, increases were lower than those observed in recent years.

In the Québec City Metropolitan Area, 6,282 residential sales were concluded in 2013, a 13 per cent decrease compared to 2012. This was the first time since 2004 that the number of sales has fallen below 7,000 units in the Québec City CMA. Condominiums recorded the largest decrease in sales, at 16 per cent. For the third consecutive year, the number of active listings increased significantly (+20 per cent), again mainly due to a sharp increase in the number of condominiums for sale (+40 per cent). Market conditions relaxed significantly, with a balancing of the single-family home and plex markets in 2013, a first in the region since the early 2000s. The condominium market is now even more favourable to buyers. The median price of single-family homes increased by 3 per cent ($245,000) in 2013, that of condominiums by 2 per cent ($200,000) and that of plexes by 7 per cent ($300,000).

In the Saguenay Metropolitan Area, 1,185 residential sales transactions were concluded in 2013, an 18 per cent decrease compared to 2012 and the largest decrease among Québec's six metropolitan areas. The average number of properties for sale by a real estate broker (1,132 units) registered its third consecutive annual increase, growing by 25 per cent compared to 2012. The median price of single-family homes increased by 3 per cent in 2013 to reach $180,000. This increase was the highest among the province's six metropolitan areas for the second consecutive year, and all areas of the CMA without exception posted price increases for this market segment.

In the Sherbrooke Metropolitan Area, 1,665 residential sales were concluded in 2013, which represents a 7 per cent decrease compared to 2012. Among the areas that make up the CMA, only Magog escaped the downward trend in 2013 with a 6 per cent increase in residential sales compared to 2012. Low growth in the number of active listings was experienced (+1 per cent) even if 2013 was the third consecutive year to register an increase in supply. Throughout the CMA, the median price of single-family homes rose by 2 per cent to reach $193,000 in 2013, while that of plexes decreased by 4 per cent to reach $212,000. The median price of condominiums remained stable compared to 2012, at $150,000.

Finally, in the Trois-Rivières Metropolitan Area, 928 residential sales were concluded in 2013, a 10 per cent decrease compared to 2012 and the first decrease since 2010. The number of properties for sale jumped by 15 per cent in 2013, the fourth consecutive annual increase. The median price of single-family homes decreased by 1 per cent to reach $149,000. This development goes hand in hand with the relaxing of single-family home market conditions which became balanced, while sellers had the upper hand in negotiations for this market segment since 2001. The median price of plexes increased by 1 per cent to reach $148,250, while that of condominiums increased by 5 per cent to reach $134,750.

About Centris.ca

Centris.ca is Québec's real estate industry website for consumers, grouping all properties for sale by a real estate broker under the same address. Visit Centris.ca to obtain more information and quarterly statistics for the province of Québec.

About the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards

The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards is a non-profit organization composed of Québec's 12 real estate boards and the close to 14,000 real estate brokers who are their members. Its mission is to promote and protect the interests of Québec's real estate industry so that the boards and their members can successfully meet their business objectives.

For more information about the Centris® statistics for each of the province's regions, don't miss the upcoming publication of the QFREB Barometer.

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