Peo­ple are look­ing all over for some­place to buy

The great thing about Mon­treal is, ‘it’s a city of neigh­bour­hoods,’ and op­tions are un­lim­ited

Montreal Gazette - - Real Estate Today - DONNA NEBENZAHL

The house is beau­ti­ful – a gra­cious, high-ceilinged Vic­to­rian dwelling built in 1890 with solid dou­ble brick con­struc­tion, or­nate wood­work and light-filled rooms. You might eas­ily find it on a leafy street in West­mount or Outremont.

Ex­cept the Ir­ish­man who first owned the house and af­ter whom May Street is named, built his stately home on the last street in Ver­dun. To­day there’s a blank wall across the street; above it rises the over­pass that brings traf­fic to the Cham­plain Bridge.

None of this mat­ters to the homeowner, who bought the place 11 years ago and re­stored it to its orig­i­nal splen­dour. But now that she wants to sell the place, she’s dis­cov­er­ing a truth of real es­tate – lo­ca­tion mat­ters.

“For some­one it’s a deal breaker, when an affordable house comes up in a dif­fi­cult lo­ca­tion,” says Mary Lamey, the real es­tate bro­ker at Cen­tury 21 Vi­sion who is sell­ing the home. In this case, the house cost rel­a­tively lit­tle, the métro and gro­cery shop­ping are nearby and it’s just 15 min­utes to down­town.

On the other side of the coin, you al­ways want to live on the best street you can, she says. And while hav­ing the small­est house on a nice street in West­mount is great, not ev­ery­body can af­ford one.

Ev­ery­one has a point of view about lo­ca­tion, says Lamey, who spe­cial­izes in south­west Mont- real and the Plateau area. “Some peo­ple want to be in the heart of the ac­tion, so they choose the Plateau. Oth­ers want to live near the high­way in Lachine, so they can drive quickly to the in­dus­trial park where they work, or to the air­port.”

It boils down, she said, to whether you’re walk-cen­tric, car-cen­tric or pub­lic transit-cen­tric. “Some peo­ple don’t care if there’s a métro nearby,” she says.

“Some want to drive to Costco and load up; oth­ers want to buy fish in one store, veg­eta­bles in an­other, cheese in the one af­ter that.

“The great thing is that in Mon­treal you can choose any of these op­tions be­cause it’s such a city of neigh­bour­hoods.”

While couples with chil­dren might pri­or­i­tize a good school, Lamey says that in her ex­pe­ri­ence peo­ple are will­ing to have their kids travel for a good school. “It’s rare for kids to walk to the neigh­bour­hood school any­more.”

Her ad­vice to prospec­tive buy­ers is to make a wish list and then pri­or­i­tize. “It’s about bal­anc­ing things out. For in­stance, you can have that fourth bed­room, but maybe not close to the métro. Or be ready to pay more if a good neigh­bour­hood school is im­por­tant.”

And if you’re look­ing for a bar­gain, Lamey says, fig­ure out your lo­ca­tion by work­ing with con­cen­tric cir­cles. “It was around At­wa­ter Mar­ket 10 to 15 years ago, then the cir­cle ex­panded to Point St. Charles which is not undis­cov­ered any­more, and has now moved to Ver­dun, then Ville Émard and Cote St. Paul,” she says. “All of this is a re­ac­tion to the ex­pan­sion of the At­wa­ter Mar­ket.”

Re­al­ize there are no bar­gains in the Plateau or Mile End, Lamey ad­vises. “At this point, per square foot Mile End may be even more ex­pen­sive than Outremont and now the cir­cle there has widened into Pe­tite Pa­trie, which has re­ally be­come part of that area, and is slowly mov­ing into Villeray.”

If you look at the N.D.G. area, the Mon­k­land Vil­lage cen­tre of the cir­cle has now moved south of Sher­brooke St. On the other side of town, peo­ple are look­ing now at Hochelaga-Maison­neuve, which is clev­erly de­scribed as “HoMa.”

Why are peo­ple look­ing all over the city for some­place to buy? Lamey be­lieves that the low in­ter­est rates are a main fac­tor, since you can make mort­gage pay­ments that aren’t much higher than rent would be. “Rent used to be so cheap in Mon­treal; it’s not cheap any­more,” she says.

It is truly a mat­ter of life­style, and how much time and en­ergy you’re able to put into fix­ing up a place, she says.

“I sold a house to a young cou­ple of Ver­dun three years ago, a lit­tle post­war cot­tage, very tiny and it needed ev­ery­thing done, “ she says. “It didn’t cost them much, but they spared no ex­pense fix­ing it up. They bought a lo­ca­tion they loved and in­vested in it.”

Some peo­ple choose to be part of the van­guard, re­al­iz­ing a lo­ca­tion has so much go­ing for it and the home is just such a good buy that it’s worth putting up with a sur­round­ings that aren’t ideal at the mo­ment. Like the ven­dor with that beau­ti­ful Vic­to­rian home in Ver­dun, you have to de­cide, Lamey says, “whether you want to be part of the van­guard or wait un­til the neigh­bour­hood changed.”

SHARON WIL­SON

This Ver­dun home was re­stored to its orig­i­nal splen­dour eleven years ago. Across the street there’s a blank wall; above it rises the over­pass that brings traf­fic to the Cham­plain Bridge, but the métro and gro­cery shop­ping are nearby and it’s just 15...

SHARON WIL­SON

A re­stored Vic­to­rian house in Ver­dun. Some peo­ple choose to be part of the van­guard, re­al­iz­ing a lo­ca­tion has much go­ing for it and the home is such a good buy it’s worth putting up with the sur­round­ings.

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