The most expensive home sale of the year may not be quite what you think. It’s not a waterfront property. It has no guest houses, nor is it a sprawling mansion.
The highest priced sale on the Island of Montreal recorded in the Quebec real estate brokers’ MLS database so far this year is, in fact, a condo — albeit a very luxurious one.
Listed at $9,750,000, the Golden Square Mile penthouse apartment at the Ritz Carleton is a two-storey, 4,100-square-foot home with double-height ceilings, two garages, and a private landscaped terrace with more than 1,000 square feet of outdoor space. The unit has three bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Real estate broker Joseph Montanaro, who represented both the buyer and seller in the recent sale, said the buyer — a longtime client — was a local looking for a pied-à-terre in the city.
“The unit is spectacular. It’s on two floors, so it feels like a little house. Which is nice when people are downsizing and they’re used to having a lot of space,” he said.
Like the Four Seasons residences, Montanaro said the condos at the Ritz are particularly prized by luxury buyers. Not only do they offer hotel services and amenities such as housekeeping, room service, a concierge, and a 24-hour doorman, but because there are only a few available (and all at a multi-million-dollar price point) they are also very exclusive.
“It’s really a lifestyle. People who are used to a certain level of luxury, when they’re going into a condo building, they want that,” he said.
In December, an even larger penthouse apartment in the same building sold for $11 million: which was the highest condominium sale in the MLS system in Quebec.
Condo sales in the city are starting to pick up. Buyers are looking for updated homes that don’t require much renovation, Montanaro said, and are particularly drawn to units with terraces or other outdoor living space.
“The reason why some of the condos were taking longer to sell over the pandemic was that people felt trapped. They felt like they needed outdoor space,” Montanaro said. “Condos that offer that luxury of being able to step out onto the balcony are more valuable.”The pandemic hit condo sales hard. According to the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, sales fell 34 per cent in the second quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2019. Data from the second quarter of this year seems to indicate that the market has rebounded, recording 8,377 sales, compared with 7,230 sales in 2019.
It seems buyers are once again looking for city properties. Sales in the second quarter of this year increased 53 per cent in metropolitan areas compared to last year. Outside of metropolitan areas, sales experienced a notable but more moderate increase of 28 per cent.
Among the province’s metropolitan areas, the Greater Montreal Area registered a sustained increase in sales of 60 per cent, which was primarily due to the impact of the pandemic last year. In the second quarter of last year, the Greater Montreal Area registered a 36-per-cent drop in sales compared to an average of minus 19 per cent for the province’s five other metropolitan areas.While the pandemic did influence many buyers to look for more space outside of the city, for Montanaro the recent high-end sales prove that wealthy local buyers have confidence in the Montreal real-estate market and are ready to invest here.
“The local market is believing in the economy. And to me, that’s a great sign.”