House Hunting in Canada: A Rowhouse in Old Montreal With Income Potential

This four-story connected greystone rowhouse is in Old Montreal, the historic riverside district simply east of Montreal’s downtown core. The property faces Marché Bonsecours, a restored 1847 constructing that when housed the town’s major public market. Behind the market constructing are Montreal’s Old Port and the St. Lawrence River.

“This is the beating heart of scenic Old Montreal,” mentioned Felix Jasmin of Engel & Völkers Montreal, the itemizing agent.

Built in 1870, the six-bedroom, three-bathroom home presents 12,000 sq. ft of residing area, together with a indifferent rear carriage home. From the road, an arched entryway opens to a protracted entry corridor and double-sized front room whose gleaming marble flooring as soon as adorned the Bank of Montreal’s headquarters close by. “The owner’s contractor happened to be the guy demolishing the bank,” Mr. Jasmin mentioned.

Tall, latticed home windows run the size of the lounge, illuminating its exposed-brick wall and whitewashed surfaces. “The wooden windows are very typical of Old Montreal,” Mr. Jasmin mentioned. The front room connects to a proper eating room with an infinite chandelier and brick-encased ornamental hearth.

The eating room hyperlinks to a small, furnished solarium with a glass ceiling and a French nation really feel. “The idea was to have your aperitifs in the living room, dinner in the dining room, and your liquor in the solarium,” Mr. Jasmin mentioned. From the solarium, a door opens to a small again terrace. The house’s kitchen, additionally off the solarium, “was meant as a functional kitchen, for catered meals, and it’s a very different look from the rest of the house,” Mr. Jasmin mentioned.

A curved staircase ascends to the primary suite, which occupies the whole second flooring. “This was the owner’s private floor, and it’s the masterpiece of the building,” Mr. Jasmin mentioned. “It feels like a Parisian apartment.” A giant bed room with en suite tub flows by means of a large archway right into a high-ceilinged, tiled front room. A pair of cast-iron doorways conceal an workplace, which Mr. Jasmin mentioned might change into a bed room.

Five bedrooms occupy the constructing’s third flooring, although just one lavatory. The flooring has a small kitchen with a washer-dryer and a eating space. A spiral staircase leads from the third flooring to an unfinished attic, “which is almost full-sized. A tall adult can stand in it,” Mr. Jasmin mentioned.

The proprietor, a Montreal businesswoman who additionally lives in Paris, “once hosted fashion shows in the house, and many dinners for Montreal’s who’s who,” Mr. Jasmin mentioned. Over a half-century of possession, she has changed electrical and HVAC programs, upgraded home windows to face up to Montreal winters, and preserved the landmark facade.

A national increase in available homes during July was dominated by gains in the Greater Toronto Area, according to CREA, but Montreal has recently become an attractive alternative to Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s costliest housing markets.

“Investors see Montreal as the next best place,” said Liza Kaufman, founder of the Kaufman Group at Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec. “Historically, we’ve always lagged because of political instability related to Quebec independence, but that’s no longer a factor.” And, she added, Quebec doesn’t have a foreign buyer’s tax, something British Columbia instituted in 2016 and Ontario in 2019.

The city’s thriving tech, artificial-intelligence, and biotech sectors should continue to propel the market and insulate Montreal from Covid-19’s worst economic headwinds, Mr. Jasmin said. “We have this beautiful pressure of high-paying jobs and many newcomers.”

Condos in the neighborhood range from about 375,000 to more than 7 million Canadian dollars ($285,000 to $5.3 million), with many in the high six figures. Prices “have actually come down a bit, which I’ve never seen,” Ms. Baillargeon said.

Mr. Jasmin said locals are currently fueling demand. “We’re not talking investment properties, we’re talking homes,” he said. “Because of the pandemic, people are buying that house they wanted to buy or moving to that neighborhood they’d always contemplated.”

Ms. Kaufman, whose listings include large homes and luxury condos in affluent neighborhoods just outside the downtown core, is still seeing “investors from Asia and Europe who want to move somewhere perceived as safe and financially sound.”

Mr. Jasmin said American buyers have also increased in number, with some purchasing after virtual visits. “They tell us they’re tired of the politics at home,” he said.

Meanwhile, he added, Chinese investors, who had been active in the market before Covid-19, have held back. “The money’s stuck in China.”

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Quebec. Banks, however, require a minimum down payment of 35 percent for nonresidents, according to Julie Côté, supervisor in nonresident taxation at the accounting firm FL Fuller Landau. (Canadians can put down as little as 5 percent.) Banks also ask for “a lot of paperwork” from non-Canadian buyers to ensure the provenance of funds, Ms. Côté said, a process that can take up to six weeks. “I’ve seen a lot of sales postponed because of that,” she said. Many foreign buyers choose all-cash transactions to avoid the process.

Under Quebec law, buyers and sellers must work with notaries, not attorneys, on real estate transactions. Because of Covid-19, foreign buyers can now execute documents electronically rather than through power of attorney or in person, said William Malkinson, a notary with Drazin Friedman Notaries in Montreal.

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