Slowdown in transactions: over, the race for the chalet?

Transaction slowdown: over, race to the cottage?

BET À DAY

Heat wave or not, the real estate fever that hit the market for chalets and second homes two years ago is currently experiencing a serious cold snap.

< p>“For the past few weeks, weekend visits with the opening of multiple purchase offers on Tuesdays have no longer been part of our reality,” admits Michel Naud, broker for the Engel & Völkers, in Mont-Tremblant. 

“Buyers are more composed, visits are less frantic and there are fewer overbids. The interest remains, but there is no longer room for exaggeration, he says. Sellers may need to lower their expectations. »

Return of the pendulum

The Laurentians, Lanaudière and the Eastern Townships, which have always been highly coveted by vacationers, are currently experiencing the same swing of the pendulum as the rest of the province, maintains the director of the Market Analysis Service of the Association professionnelle des courtiers immobiliers du Québec, Charles Brant. 

The successive increases in the Bank of Canada's key rate since the spring, combined with the resumption of international travel and public concern linked to inflation had the effect of drastically curbing the momentum of many investors.

“After two years of the pandemic, it’s like things are slowly getting back to normal,” explains Mr. Brant. The market remains in favor of sellers, but there is a sharp drop in transactions and an increase in listings. »

31% drop in Saint-Sauveur

This is especially true in second home markets, historically the first to suffer in times of economic uncertainty. In Saint-Sauveur, for example, the number of transactions fell by 31% in June, compared to the same period a year earlier.

It is in this changing context that a couple of retirees, formed by Georges Melançon and Céline Bernier, decided this spring to give up their residence in Austin, in the Eastern Townships. After living there for 15 years, the couple are ready to move on.

“Essentially, we want to reduce our living space. With the arrival of our grandchildren, we want to devote less time to the maintenance of a house and a land that has become too big for our needs.

The catch is that their project comes even as the market shows signs of running out of steam. They are not alone in their case. Karine Bonin, real estate broker associated with Re/Max in Magog, confirms the slowdown. 

Are negotiations back?

Listings are everywhere up, the number of transactions decreases…

And even if, for the time being, prices are still holding up, she observes a change in the attitude of buyers.

“The use of higher bids is no longer automatic. Even that, more and more, some are negotiating and no longer hesitate to present offers lower than the displayed price [5 to 10%], something that we have not seen for years, ”she says. 

Relativize…

For some sellers, this new reality can be received harshly. Does she worry Mr. Melançon? Not really. On the contrary, he claims to be sure that the price established for his home reflects the current market and specifies that his sale is not taking place in an emergency context.

“If it is not this year, it will be next year,” he says, before adding the following relativistic reflection: “don't forget that anyone who agrees to sell for less today should in principle also be able to buy for less. » 

The ebb is accelerating in the metropolis and the national capital 

The province's real estate markets, like those in the greater Montreal and Quebec City regions, continue to show signs of an accelerated slowdown.

The latest data from the Association professionnelle des courtiers immobiliers du Québec (APCIQ) report a 15% drop in the number of transactions in July, compared to the same month in 2021.

If prices continue to climb in Quebec – by around 12% on average – the number of residence listings for sale is 13% higher than it was on the same date last year. A cocktail that could announce a possible slowdown, or even stagnation in the growth of real estate prices here.

“In continuity with what was recorded in June, the change in market dynamics is clearly confirmed,” said Charles Brant, director of the APCIQ's market analysis department. The magnitude of the rise in interest rates, in just 4 months, accelerated the market slowdown. »

Free fall in Montreal and Laval

The greater Montreal area experienced an 18% drop in transactions in July, compared to the year last, and an increase in registrations of 28% during the same period. However, prices continue to climb: by 10% in July, against 17% since the beginning of the year.

The cities of Montreal and Laval are showing the most marked signs of a slowdown in the region with sales volumes down 29% compared to July 2021. Active listings are up 18% (including 54% in single-family home) in Montreal and 13% in Laval.

Signs also in Quebec

The metropolitan region of Quebec presents a portrait that differs in appearance of the rest of Quebec. It is one of the few markets in the country to record an increase in sales compared to last year.

Its sales increased by 1% and its listings are 15% lower than last year. However, explains the APCIQ, this activity is partly explained by the absorption of an increasing inventory of properties for this period of the year.

“Even if this increase will have to be confirmed in August and September to speak of a trend, this is a precursor to a market slowdown and much weaker price growth or stabilization over the next few months,” Brant argues.