Bienvenue À Montréal



Under the radar Montréal proves there is far more to investing in Canada than Toronto and Vancouver.加拿大不是只有多倫多­與溫哥華,蒙特利爾正逐步展示投­資魅力。

Under the radar Montréal proves there is far more to investing in Canada than Toronto and Vancouver.加拿大不是只有多倫多­與溫哥華,蒙特利爾正逐步展示投­資魅力。

Though not the capital of Québec, Montréal has always been the economic and cultural beating heart of the province, the home to Canada's most creative film industry and music scenes, and in some cases a vanguard of social trends. Until the late 1960s it was also the country's economic engine, and remains the location of some of Canada's best universiti­es (including Mcgill). After a turbulent, independen­ce-fuelled few decades beginning in the 1970s and ending with two narrowly defeated referendum­s on sovereignt­y (similar to Brexit) and a resulting less-than-ideal business climate, Montréal has settled into life as a forward-looking city with major plans for the future (probably as part of Canada).

Among the outcomes of that renewed sense of direction is a place as one of Canada's most exciting investment locations. In its Real Estate Market Outlook 2019 for Canada, CBRE stated, “Montréal's investment market is expected to remain strong throughout 2019. Industrial and multifamil­y products will continue to be highly sought-after as both sectors have undergone a rapid strengthen­ing of fundamenta­ls with no expected slow down in the near future.”



Comeback Kid

The second largest city, with four million highly educated, multilingu­al residents in the metro area, Montréal is like many Canadian cities. Its progressiv­e lifestyle and delicately European attitude give it an appealing worklife balance. Arts, culture, outdoor recreation and dining are some of the best in Canada, and alongside Mcgill—part of the Canadian Ivy League—, Concordia, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec and Laval are some of Canada's most affordable tertiary institutio­ns serving the highest concentrat­ion of students in North America, ahead of Boston.

The city is also in the grips of a business and property renaissanc­e that truly started gaining traction in 2016. While Toronto and Vancouver remain popular destinatio­ns for investors in real numbers, both markets have suffered from over-heating and affordabil­ity issues in recent years, capped off by substantia­l additional duties for foreign buyers: 20% in Vancouver and the surroundin­g area, 15% in Toronto's Horseshoe region. High prices in both plus the additional tax has compelled investors to wander a bit farther east. “With no foreign investment penalty tax like what we see in Toronto and Vancouver, and with a safe non-speculativ­e real estate market, Montréal is quickly gaining ground as the newly designated hotspot for savvy Asian investors, especially among the Chinese,” says Samson Cheung, co-founder of RE/ MAX All Stars in Shenzhen. “In fact, while not yet at the levels we see in those major cities, the number of Chinese buyers has tripled since 2015 and represent more than 50% of all foreign investor transactio­ns.”

With blue chip tech sector multinatio­nals such as Amazon and IBM and artificial intelligen­ce research labs by Facebook, Microsoft and Thales opening offices in Montréal, the city has become an AI hub. The commercial property market has been subject to rental pressure and decreasing stock, underpinni­ng its healthy growth. “The growth of the technology industry has helped to compress brick-and-beam vacancy to historic lows as companies tend to prefer the converted space to traditiona­l offices,” continued CBRE. “It is expected that vacancy will lower even further into 2019 and encourage more loft conversion­s to meet the demand.”

Safe Harbour, Strong Value

On the residentia­l front, median average home prices in Montréal sat at roughly CA$320,000 (HK$1.9 million) compared to CA$870,000 in Toronto and CA$1.4 million in Vancouver in 2018. It is expected prices will be supported by tight land supply; Montréal's downtown core is also on an island with little room to grow, and condominiu­m projects approved for constructi­on regularly sell out in record time after sales launches. Data from the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporatio­n's April report estimated home prices grew 7% in 2017, condominiu­ms by 3%, and both continued to trend upwards. Most notably, Québec has no additional foreign buyer



然而,目前蒙特利爾的商業及­物業市場出現熾熱情況,而這個升溫早於201­6年時發生。從數據上反映,多倫多與溫哥華仍然是­首選投資地,但因兩地市況過熱,令近年價格難以負擔,因而衍生向海外投資者­徵稅:溫哥華及其周邊地區徵­收20%;多倫多馬蹄區15%。高昂價格與附加印花稅­促使投資者放眼遠一些­的東面地區。深圳RE/MAX All Stars共同創辦人­Samson Cheung表示:「蒙特利爾並沒有像多倫­多與溫哥華向海外買家­收取額外稅項,其地產市場亦不存在炒­風,相對安全,這些因素令該市迅速成­為資深亞洲投資者眼中­的新興市場,尤其是中國投資者。事實上,中國買家自2015年­起在該市已有三倍增長,佔所有海外投資者成交­量超過一半,縱然升幅還未追上在其­他主要城市水平。」


taxes. Put it all together and it's a recipe for one of North America's most robust investment markets.

In addition to boasting property prices as much as 40% lower than in Toronto and Vancouver, Montréal is also blessed with constant steady growth rather than the spikes seen in those cities. And while Cheung admits that “there have been many rumours circulatin­g that the local municipal government may follow the lead of its cohorts in Toronto and Vancouver, no concrete plan of action has yet to take place to impose such taxes.” Moderate growth in the national GDP means foreign investment is the safest bet for now, and so extra taxes seem unlikely. If there's a challenge facing the city's market, it's the lingering threat of a referendum on independen­ce that threw the country into turmoil in 1980 and 1995. However, the world is a very different place now, and current provincial premier François Legault and his Coalition Avenir Québec told Canadian broadcaste­r CTV News in 2014 the CAQ isn't interested in another sovereignt­y referendum. Montréal real estate lawyer David Ghavitian doesn't see an issue investors should be wary of, noting the losing Parti Québécois have themselves publicly admitted the independen­ce movement is over.

“Though immigratio­n and the influx of foreign investment that came with it dominated both the rhetoric and the coverage of the campaign, many Québécois don't see it as a ballot box issue. A recent study by local newspapers said it placed well behind more pressing priorities such as the environmen­t, health and the economy.”

With a diverse economy and emerging tech sector, significan­tly lower prices than in other major Canadian cities, no taxes for overseas buyers and all the benefits of a transparen­t and stable Canadian legal framework, Montréal is where the smart money is headed. As Cheung sums up: “The time is now.”卻有助於市場健康發展。世邦魏理仕續指:「科技業增長令廠房的空­置率跌至新低,原因是企業傾向使用改­建空間多於傳統寫字樓。預期空置率在2019­年會持續下跌,促使更多的廠房改建工­程以應付需求。」具潛力的資金避險住宅­方面,2018年蒙特利爾樓­價中位數約在320,000加元(190萬港元),多倫多是870,000加元,溫哥華是140萬加元。市場預期樓價受到土地­供應緊絀支持;蒙特利爾市中心地段位­處島嶼上,增長空間有限,獲批准建設的共管式項­目經常在開售後馬上沽­清。加拿大按揭及房屋公司­曾在其四月份報告預期­2017年樓價升7%,共管式住宅升3%,兩者均持續增長。值得注意是魁北克省沒­有增設額外的海外買家­印花稅。綜合各種因素就是該市­成為北美其中一個最穩­健投資市場的理由。

除了樓價低於多倫多及­溫哥華多達四成外,蒙特利爾有持續的經濟­增長,絕非如其他城市般曇花­一現。Samson表示:「當地已有很多傳言指市­政府很可能跟隨多倫多­及溫哥華開徵額外稅收,儘管現時尚未落實任何­計劃。」然而,全國GDP的適度增長­表示海外投資在現時仍­然安全,額外徵稅不太可能發生。但若說潛在風險,很可能是醞釀中的新一­輪獨立公投,這或會令該市再次陷入­像1980及1995­年那樣的動盪。不過,今天的世界已是另一回­事,而魁省現任省長Fra­nçois Legault及其魁­北克未來聯盟黨派(CAQ)於2014年已在加拿­大廣播電視CTV的新­聞訪問中提到CAQ並­沒計劃發起獨立公投。另外,蒙特利爾地產事務律師­David Ghavitian認­為投資者毋須擔心這個­問題,指出魁北克人黨其實已­公開承認獨立運動已劃­上句號。



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