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Montreal Housing Market Costs Are Rising At Twice The Rate Of Salaries

This is why you're still paying too much to live in a run-down shoebox.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​A colourful block of homes with red, blue, and purple accents near from Saint Louis Square in Montreal's Plateau.

A colourful block of homes with red, blue, and purple accents near from Saint Louis Square in Montreal's Plateau.

Montreal's housing crisis is through the roof with real estate costs reaching twice the rate of household incomes. A new report by the Metropolitan Community of Montreal (CMM) found the city is not only seeing some of the steepest home price hikes in North America, but also an affordable housing shortage. Coupled with sluggish wage increases, that means despite a pandemic-time construction boom, around 200,000 low-income renter households are experiencing housing affordability issues right now.

Data pulled from Montreal, Longueuil, and Laval showed a majority of households (66%) are comprised of two people or less. As the city's population continues to age, with those 75+ expected to grow to 50,000 within the next two decades, the urban planning organization suggests small households will encourage the construction of condos and rental units.

Since last year, a record 30,000 housing units were built, making Montreal the second most dense urban centre on the continent. However, a strong majority (87%) of new housing options are condos or high-priced rental spots. Almost 2 percent of condos are owned by non-residents, while the traditional rental market has lost around 20,000 units to short-term rental sites, mainly Airbnb.

Around 10 percent of homes that existed before the construction boom are overcrowded and 8 percent need major repairs.

As of February, the median price of a single-family home in the Montreal area was $550,000, hitting 20 percent higher than it was twelve months prior.

A Montreal household with a median income will now have to spend 83 percent of their gross income on mortgage payments to keep an average property. That's up nearly 30 percent in seven years. For households in the upper-income brackets, around $100,000, only a third of homes for sale are actually affordable.

"Greater Montreal should build 243,000 new households over the next 20 years," said Mayor Valérie Plante, who is also CMM President.

"Between the [housing] shortage and the need to optimize available space without encroaching on the natural and agricultural environments, it is imperative to plan housing development well," she said.

The results of the CMM study will lay the foundations for the city's first Metropolitan Housing Policy. The proposal will offer guidelines and courses of action that the CMM said will prevent the situation from worsening.

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