06/23/2017 09:23 EDT | Updated 06/23/2017 11:52 EDT

Foreign Home Buying Surges 37% In Montreal, On Spike In Chinese Interest

Foreigners still account for a small share of homes sold in the city.

MONTREAL — Canada's federal housing agency says the number of foreign buyers in the Montreal area surged by 37 per cent in the first four months of the year.

The 236 purchases by foreigners accounted for 1.8 per cent of all real estate transactions from January to April, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in a report.

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Rowhouses in Montreal.

That's up from 172 deals representing 1.3 per cent of total sales a year earlier during the same time period.

By comparison, home purchases by foreign buyers in the Vancouver area have hovered around three to four per cent of all transactions since the introduction of a 15 per cent foreign buyers' tax last August. In the Toronto area, about five per cent of transactions were made by foreigners before a tax was added in April.

Buyers from China accounted for the strongest growth in Montreal, representing 17 per cent of all foreign buyers, up from less than 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.

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Montreal's Mont-Royal Avenue after a snowstorm.

The number of buyers from China more than tripled since the adoption of the Vancouver tax, while the number of French and American buyers increased by about 33 per cent.

Condominiums were the first choice of foreign buyers but 40 per cent of Chinese buyers selected single-family homes.

The median price they paid for these homes was about $720,000 while 25 per cent exceeded $1 million, far greater than prices paid by American and French buyers.

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