land owners Photo credit Canderel

The media buzz is always focused on Vancouver and Toronto as the pre-eminent condominium capitals of Canada. However, little has been compared to Montreal with its drive to intensify the downtown core.

Canderel, with its partners Cadillac Fairview, FTQ and the Montreal Canadiens recently completed the first phase of its flagship project called Tour Des Canadiens next to the Bell Centre. The project was the tallest condominium in the city when launched in 2012 topping off at 55 storeys.

Having sold thousands of pre-construction condos in Toronto, I was challenged to launch this mega project in a city where I don’t speak French nor do I have intimate knowledge of the real estate market. Having launched this successful project achieving over 90 per cent sales in three months, I noticed many differences between the Toronto and Montreal markets for pre-construction condos.

Differences between Montreal and Toronto's markets for pre-construction condos

Firstly, taxes in Montreal are not included in the price. In Toronto, we're used to having the HST as part of the purchase price. In Montreal, they have the QST which is a 15 per cent tax added to the purchase price on closing.

Furthermore, Montreal doesn't have closing costs except the fee you pay to the lawyer to register your condominium unit. In Toronto, we have a number of costs on closing that include Development Charges, Tarion Fees, Meter Charges, Section 37 costs etc. that are passed on to the buyer on closing.

In Montreal, a majority of projects do not have any consumer protection warranty like Tarion in Ontario. There is essentially one type of warranty program that is a cost to builders but not mandatory to join. Ninety-nine percent of builders do not include the warranty as a protection to consumers.

Having dealt with Tarion on all our projects in Ontario, Canderel and our partners felt it was necessary to include a warranty program as part of our Tour Des Canadiens project. As one of the first to issue warranties to purchasers, Canderel has set a new benchmark for other developers to follow, on future projects, by including a warranty program to protect purchasers.

Many other differences exist between the pre-construction condo markets in Toronto and Montreal. While Montreal is 10 years behind Toronto, the city of Montreal has taken bold steps to intensify its downtown core and follow in Toronto’s footsteps to curb urban sprawl and increase transit orientated mid- and high-rise construction.

We see the results of Toronto’s vision in Cadillac Fairview’s Maple Leaf Square. This mixed use community in Toronto's downtown core has made this one of the most sought after locations for workers to live, work and play. The same precedent is being set in Montreal with Canderel and Cadillac Fairview's Tour Des Canadiens one and two projects.

Two different cities but both have the same vision of making their downtown cores vibrant and exciting.