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MONTREAL — Sales of new downtown Montreal condos slowed at the end of 2013, with one project taken off the market last year because of weak sales, a report published Thursday by Altus Group said.

But despite market fears of overbuilding in the city’s sluggish resale condo market, buyers have purchased more than 60 per cent of the 8,083 units that were either successfully marketed, are under construction, or were completed within the last year in downtown Montreal.

“An expected moderation in the number of new projects in 2014 will allow for the absorption of unsold units already on the market,” said report author Mathieu Collette, director of a research team specializing in condominium market studies for Altus. “Taking the different indicators into consideration, we are of the opinion that the condo market is faring well in downtown Montreal.”

The Altus report — the only one tracking new condo construction in downtown Montreal — follows developments at least five storeys high in an area ranging from the business district to Papineau St., along with Old Montreal and Griffintown.

Altus, which began publishing the report in 2013 has collected data back to 2011. The figures come directly from developers.

Collette pointed out that demand for new condos was higher in some areas than others. Only 45 per cent of condos were sold in the eastern section of the area he tracked — from Aylmer to Papineau Sts.

By contrast, buyers have purchased 65 per cent of the units in Griffintown and 90 per cent of condos units sold in the western part of downtown.

New downtown condo sales slowed toward the end of last year, with 275 units changing hands during the last three months of 2013, compared to 500 units during the same period in 2011 and an exceptionally high 1,200 units during the final quarter of 2012.

Indeed, Collette said demand for downtown condos last year more closely resembled levels in 2011, as sales in 2012 were unusually high. That’s when the launch of a handful of condo towers around Montreal’s Bell Centre attracted interest from real estate investors outside the city.

Demand remained strong in 2012, despite the July 2012 tightening of rules on insured mortgages. The new rules were particularly hard on first-time buyers who generally have less purchasing power.

“There was a slowdown in the sales, but the developers adjusted very quickly,” Collette said. They reduced the size of the units and reduced prices.

For the full year, 1,501 new downtown condo were sold in 2013, down from 2,657 units in 2012 and 1,277 units in 2011.

Article provided by : A Lampert. Montreal Gazette