QPAREB Reports a 13% Decrease in Quebec’s Residential Sales in 2023 Amid Economic Uncertainty and Anticipated Interest Rate Changes

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The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) has announced that residential sales in Quebec reached 75,853 last year, marking a 13% decrease from 2022 and slightly below the historical average.

“An orderly normalization of the Quebec market took place in 2023, despite a context that has been marked by a brutal hike in interest rates since 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, younger households have had to bear the brunt of sharply rising prices. However, the story is different for repeat buyers, who, thanks to their strong financial capacity, were able to weather the increase in property values. However, a reduction in the pool of qualified first-time homebuyers can adversely affect the transactional chain. For a market to be fluid, there must be a sufficient number of first-time homebuyers,” says Charles Brant, QPAREB’s market analysis director.

In the final quarter of last year, there was a noticeable decrease in first-time buyers, low sales, and limited inventory.

“The fourth quarter reflects a market with even fewer first-time homebuyers. Two factors are influencing the postponement of purchase plans: a climate of economic uncertainty and expectations of a drop in interest rates in 2024. The same behaviour is observed in sellers, who note that buyers are more cautious and hesitant. Sellers are, therefore, also likely to postpone their sales project until a future date,” Brant adds.

“The year thus ended with a low transaction level and relatively few properties available for sale. The result is a stagnation of the market, which remains squarely in sellers’ territory. Consequently, prices generally remain under pressure, either increasing or remaining stable. Only rarely in certain markets with the highest property prices are they falling.”

Across the province, all property types saw a decrease in sales, ranging from about -10 % to -21 %. Two-to-five-unit plexes experienced a sharp drop of -21%, while condominiums and single-family homes saw reductions of 15% and 10%, respectively.

The largest metropolitan area declines were seen in Gatineau, Montreal, and Sherbrooke, each with decreases of -15 %, 14%, and 14%, respectively. Urban centres saw greater sales decreases than other areas between 2022 and 2023.

La Tuque and Charlevoix saw significant drops of 36% and 25%, respectively, while the markets in Sainte-Adèle and Montmagny experienced increases of 1% and 8%, respectively.

Inventory rose by 24% across the province in 2023, with the number of active listings reaching 32,154, although this is still well below the historical average.

The median price for a single-family home in Quebec remained unchanged at $416,500 compared to 2022. The median price of condominiums fell to $360,000, a decrease of about 1% from 2022.

Despite slower activity and more active listings, the market continues to favour sellers. The time required to sell inventory has increased to 5.1 months.

In 2023, the average selling time for single-family homes was 54 days, 13 days longer than in 2022. Condominiums and small-income properties took 58 days and 75 days to sell, respectively.

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