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Montreal vs Vancouver: A Comparison for Real Estate Investors

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When it comes to buying real estate as an investment, here are some points to keep in mind while choosing between Montreal, or Vancouver.

Montreal vs Vancouver: A Summary

Vancouver is projected to grow its GDP by 3.3% in 2017, leading all Canadian cities with strong employment rates and healthy housing starts. Multifamily units are the preferred building type, spread between mixed use developments and condo projects. At the end of 2016 a property transfer tax was implemented on foreign buyers, although it is yet to be seen how this tax will affect property prices over the long term. The rental market is being driven up by millennials, who seek out condos with fully decked amenities and located near the downtown core or close to public transit lines.

Meanwhile Montreal’s manufacturing, financial services and business services are expected to achieve its best growth in the past five years. With a stable GDP at 2.1% in 2017, the Conference Board of Canada has predicted a healthy real estate market in the near future. Montreal has shown a current demand for eco-friendly LEED buildings (buildings with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification) as well as mixed use condominium projects.

Montreal vs Vancouver: Average Real Estate Prices

According to the latest (July 2016) Canadian Association of Real Estate statistics, the average home price is $819,336 in Vancouver, while only $349,000 in Montreal. To purchase a home in Vancouver, a buyer or investor can expect to pay $3,570 per month in mortgage payments, $251 in taxes, and would require an annual income of $147,023. In Montreal, the average monthly mortgage payment is $1,500, with $237 per month in property taxes and an $85,012 required/suggested income.

Find out what you can afford with our Carrying Costs and ROI calculator. >> 

Montreal vs Vancouver: Property Value Growth Rate

Vancouver region has been experiencing rapid growth rates in market value over the past few years, but has been declining since the beginning of 2017. On a monthly basis, home prices rose 0.3%, at a price index of 243.39. Montreal on the other hand continues to be a slow and steady market, showing 0.61% monthly increase and a +3.10% annual trend between June and July of 2016.

Montreal vs Vancouver: Rental Market

Average rental prices are $1,144 per month in the Greater Vancouver region and a low vacancy rate of 0.8 %, according to the CMHC. In the city of Vancouver, where the average rental prices are $1,233 and the vacancy rate is 0.6 per cent. Renters account for more than a third of households in Metro Vancouver, and more than half of residents in Vancouver City.

In Montreal the average rental price is $735 with a vacancy rate of 4.2 per cent. (CMHC, 2016).

Montreal vs Vancouver: Living Costs and Lifestyle

Consumer prices are all around lower in Montreal – 19.58% lower assuming you were to rent in both cities. Local purchasing power is 14.46% higher in Montreal than in Vancouver. However, Vancouver comes with its advantages: the warmer climate, better career options for Anglophone residents, and breathtaking natural scenery appeal to many investors and renters alike.

Montreal’s market is more consistent, with rent caps limiting exorbitant price increases, therefore enabling more stability in investment projections.  The housing market is equally split between homeowners and tenants, assuring a low vacancy rate for owners of income properties. Within the tenant demographic, there are three major segments. Students, both local and international, prefer to rent in neighbourhoods close to the major universities such as the Guy-Concordia area, the McGill Ghetto, and the Quartier des Spectacles. Professionals lean towards the South West of Montreal (especially Griffintown and St Henri), the Downtown core, or Old Montreal. Families and European professionals tend to prefer the Plateau, Little Italy, Outremont, and Westmount.

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  1. james powell says

    Anglophone culture is a bonus?

    Monster trucks, budwiser and Nickleback? Hahaha

    1. Tim says

      I had the same thought. I’m an anglo living in Montreal and have lived in Vancouver. I choose Montreal because of the culture, a mix of francophone, anglophone and allophone cultures. In my opinion this creates, “Joie de vivre (Joy of life)” vs. “No fun city”….and that part where regular people can afford to live centrally.

    2. Maela Ohana says

      @James and Tim — Very true, culturally speaking Montreal’s bilingualism is definitely a plus! We’ve edited the article to more clearly communicate what we meant by that sentence: that Vancouver’s primarily Anglophone culture makes it easier for English speaking residents to find work! … Thanks for the feedback!

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