A sprawling stone mansion near the heart of downtown Montreal has set a price record for the entire province of Quebec, according to Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec, the firm that brokered the deal. The asking price had been C$20 million (US$18 million), and the house sold for C$18 million on Thursday, according to records.
Built in 1924, the six-bedroom, eight-bathroom home occupies nearly 30,000 square feet of land in the old-money enclave of Westmount, known locally as the Golden Square Mile.
“That’s unique. You feel like you’re in the country, but you’re downtown, near shops, restaurants, and museums,” said Liza Kaufman , head of the Kaufman Group at Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec, who handled the listing. Sold furnished, the home boasts sumptuous touches like fireplaces salvaged from chateaus in France, floors of custom quarried marble, a silk- and silver-thread rug that took artisans in India a year to weave, and a nine-burner Lacanche range in the kitchen.
“It’s also got a multilevel backyard with a saltwater pool that feels like you’re at Lake Como [in Italy]," Ms. Kaufman said. "And there’s a 14-car garage, which is unlike any other home in Montreal that I’ve sold.”
It’s the second record Ms. Kaufman’s set with the home; she sold it to the current owners nine years ago for C$9 million—a highwater mark at the time.
“Their investment has paid off,” she said. “It more than doubled.”
The transaction also signals a turning point for Montreal’s luxury housing market, where values have historically trailed Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s most expensive cities for real estate.
Ms. Kaufman would not disclose the identity of the buyers or sellers. Property records show the current owner is a real estate property owner in Montreal.
“Montreal’s never been the star in the Canadian market, but that’s changing,” Ms. Kaufman said. “Because we’ve lagged, high-net-worth buyers see opportunities for growth here that don’t exist in Toronto or Vancouver. And foreign buyers are coming here for security. We’re seen as a safe harbor.”
Eric Lemieux , senior economist with the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers , agreed. “Toronto and Vancouver have gone up really fast, down when there’s a crisis, then up really fast again,” he said. “Montreal’s been more constant. We’ve grown at a slower rate, but it doesn’t go down here, just up.”
A thriving economy, fairly new political stability in Quebec, and a constant influx of newcomers has helped buoy the housing market in Montreal, Canada’s second-largest city and the fourth-largest Francophone city in the world.
“The government has invested a huge amount of money in infrastructure over the last 10 years,” Mr. Lemieux said. “It’s paid down debt, which has given the province one of the best Moody’s ratings in the country. And the young generation isn’t interested in the old French-English conflicts” that sparked an exodus of people, capital, and businesses when the separatist Parti Quebecois won election in 1976.
Since Quebec hasn’t imposed a tax on foreign buyers—as Ontario and British Columbia have—Montreal’s also seen as an appealing alternative for foreign investors, “though that activity has slowed since the pandemic,” Mr. Lemieux said.
Montreal real estate was set for a record-breaking 2020 before the pandemic hit. After a Covid-19-related drop in activity in March and April, sales have roared back this summer; in July, 5,356 residential sales were concluded across Montreal, a 46% increase over July 2019, according to the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers.
Sales of luxury homes were even stronger. In July, 160 homes over $1 million sold in greater Montreal, according to the association—a 139% increase over July 2019.
“High-net-worth buyers are now spending money on homes as opposed to yachts,” Kaufman said. “They’re realizing their home is their castle. They don’t know when they’ll be able to travel as they once did. At a certain price point, they are reinvesting into properties that are significant, because they know that there will be a market no matter what.”