Montreal – This three-story stone house was built in 1900 in Westmount, a city of 21,000 people situated on the heavily wooded western slope of Mount Royal, about 10 minutes from downtown Montreal. Most of the homes in the area were built between 1880 and 1920 and have been owned by some of Canada’s wealthiest families over the years, said Joseph Montanaro, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty in Quebec, which is listing the property. “Westmount is the most expensive neighborhood in Montreal,” Mr. Montanaro said.
This 5,000-square-foot, six-bedroom house has four full bathrooms and two half-baths, as well as many elements typical of the era in which it was built, including high ceilings, carved stone and large bay windows. It was extensively restored by the current owner about 20 years ago, Mr. Montanaro said.
A covered porch with stone arches leads to the front door. There is a foyer with high ceilings and a built-in wood banquette. Wide doorways framed with mahogany arches lead to the living and dining rooms; the floors are polished oak.
The formal living room has its original plaster molding, an ornate chandelier and a bay window. There is a fireplace in the dining room and a butler’s pantry with built-in cabinets.
Tall mahogany doors lead from the dining room to the kitchen, which has Viking appliances and granite counters. There is a sunroom off the kitchen with a casual dining area, tall windows on three sides and a door to an outdoor patio.
From the entrance hall, a hand-carved wood staircase leads up to the second floor, where there are four bedrooms, a full bathroom with granite counters and floors, and a half-bath. The master bedroom is on the top floor, which was converted from an attic, and has a fireplace, built-in cabinets, a large walk-in closet and separate “his and hers” bathrooms. In the basement is another bedroom, with an en-suite bathroom, as well as a family room and a half-bath.
The house is on an 8,411-square-foot lot with mature trees and landscaped grounds. There is a detached one-car garage and a small side room with a conical roof and stairs leading down to a storage area below the garage that could be used as a wine cellar, Mr. Montanaro said.
The home is within walking distance of Westmount Park and commercial districts. There are several private English-language schools in the area, Mr. Montanaro said. The Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is about a 20-minute drive from the neighborhood.
After a slow period, Montreal real estate rebounded in 2016, agents say. “The market had been depressed for several years,” Mr. Montanaro said. “Houses were just sitting.”
Low interest rates, a shift in local politics and an increase in consumer confidence have helped to improve the market, said Louise Remillard, president of Profusion Realty, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. In addition, “Montreal prices are ridiculously low compared to Toronto and Vancouver,” she said.
In Vancouver, where foreign buyers have fueled a surge in prices, the average price for a detached home is close to $1.5 million; the average sales price in Toronto in 2016 was about $730,000. On the island of Montreal, however, the median sales price for a single-family home in 2016 was $415,000, according to the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards.
“Montreal has always been a more stable market than others,” said Dominic St-Pierre, senior director of the Quebec region for the real estate company Royal LePage.
The upper end has been the most active segment in the market, agents say. The number of properties that sold for more than $500,000 increased 20 percent in 2016, compared with a year earlier, the Quebec Federation reported, and in the Centre area, which includes Westmount, the average price of a single-family home was $1.32 million in 2016, an 11 percent increase from a year earlier.
Agents are forecasting that the trend will continue in 2017. “We’ve seen a good recovery in the last two years,” Mr. St-Pierre said. “The fundamentals in the real estate business are still good.”
WHO BUYS IN MONTREAL
Foreign buyers — primarily from the United States, France and China — account for less than 5 percent of sales in Montreal, agents say. Only 1.1 percent of condos in Montreal are owned by foreigners, compared with 2.3 percent in Toronto and 2.2 percent in Vancouver, according to a report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. But there has been an increase in foreign buyers in the last year, especially those from the United States and China, Mr. St-Pierre said.
Mr. Montanaro, who specializes in high-end properties, said 70 percent of his sales are to foreign buyers. Interest from foreign buyers increased last August, he added, after a 15 percent tax was imposed on foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver: “It had an immediate effect,” he said. “From the time it was implemented, we saw an influx.”
There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Montreal, agents say. The process is straightforward and similar to that in the United States, with a notary handling the paperwork for both sellers and buyers. But it can be difficult for foreigners to obtain a mortgage, with most lenders requiring a minimum 35 percent down payment, Mr. Montanaro said. And any nonresident staying for more than six months will need a residency visa.
Montreal tourism site: tourisme-montreal.org
City of Westmount site: westmount.org
Government portal of Quebec: gouv.qc.ca
LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY
French, English; Canadian dollars
TAXES AND FEES
Sellers pay the agent’s fees, which are typically between 4 and 6 percent of the sales price. There is a land transfer tax, ranging from .5 percent to 2 percent of the sales price. The property tax and homeowner fees on this house are about $30,000 a year, Mr. Montanaro said.
The New York Times