Five takeaways from the Montréal Real Estate Forum

Richter professionals were at the 2017 Montréal Real Estate Forum, where the main trends and major projects in the market were discussed. Here are five key takeaways, as revealed by Richter’s Real Estate group.

1 – Montréal’s real estate market is on a roll

It’s an exciting time for the Montréal real estate market! The city and its suburbs are seeing a transformation with the emergence of many promising projects centred on the concept of live-work-play. Projects such as Solar Uniquartier and Espace Montmorency aim to attract the millennial generation as their spaces integrate apartment buildings with commercial and entertainment destinations.

On top of these developments, the city and its surrounding areas will also see major changes stemming from the Réseau électrique métropolitain. This new infrastructure will be fueled by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and has the potential to rejuvenate the communities it will soon reach.

Finally, the City of Longueuil has announced it will build up the area around the Longueuil metro station. This new transit-oriented development will offer residential, commercial, and cultural spaces. This “new downtown” should be completed by 2025 and will have over 8,500 residential units as well as a brand-new cultural complex.

2 – The industrial park is getting a facelift

Residential and commercial areas are not the only ones undergoing major changes. Montréal’s industrial park is also being modernized and transformed to meet the needs of the city’s economy. There is currently a high demand in the greater Montréal area for industrial buildings with specific characteristics. The scarcity of these buildings is driving growth in industrial projects and a rejuvenation of the industrial park. At the same time, the older buildings are being transformed to host new service needs, such as data centres. The convergence of these two trends is reshaping the city’s industrial buildings.

Other noteworthy projects include the Éco-Campus Hubert Reeves. This scientific research park is focused on the development of eco-friendly spaces in an industrial area, which makes this project one of a kind (for now!).

3 – Seniors are feeling forever young

With a senior population that is healthier and more active than ever before, retirement homes can no longer offer basic services; homes now need to focus on a complete living experience and seek to enhance the quality of life of their occupants. New projects in this market segment are giving access to a wide array of services and entertainment opportunities: on-site gyms, restaurants, pools, and movie theatres, to name just a few.

Developers are also pinpointing areas serviced by public transportation and with commercial destinations within walking distance, in order to give easy access to activities located outside the actual complexes. With a senior population whose standards are higher than ever, interior design is also a differentiating factor. Seniors’ expectations have changed drastically, and retirement facilities must adapt quickly to meet evolving needs.

4 – The apartment market is catching up

A major trend we also observed during the Toronto Real Estate Forum is the resurgence of rental housing. Montréal is experiencing a similar trend: more and more customers are looking to rent high-end apartments in projects that offer a wide array of services. This year, the rental market matched the condominium market in terms of new units being built, and we expect that this trend will continue to shape residential real estate for the near future.

5 – The “experience mall” is taking over

A lot has been said about the challenges facing the retail sector and what Canadian retailers need to do in order to succeed in today’s changing retail landscape. The current trends in this industry have an important impact on real estate, as malls need to adapt to the changing preferences of shoppers. As a result, we observe that the most successful malls offer not only access to shops, but are also focused on providing an experience—both online (through social media campaigns) and offline (with new community activities). Landlords need to be on the lookout for diversified shopping concepts and new opportunities that will attract and retain consumers. In the era of the “experience mall,” a shopping centre must now be a destination in and of itself.