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Friday, May 3, 2013

The Future of Montreal Condos

Regardless of the ups and downs in the condo market, what is really interesting is the long term results of condo developments in metropolitan Canadian cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

Montreal in particular because of the city is located on islands in the St Lawrence River, which means people living there can't really expand outwards so much - and opens the door to rampant upwards development.

According to Statistics Canada the population of Montreal will reach 4.541 million by 2031 if population growth is low. But it could reach 5.275 million if population growth is high. (Statistics Canada has 3 working models for predicting population growth in Canada, providing a range of forecasts.)

The current population is 3.9 million in the Greater Montreal Area.

This means StatsCan is predicting growth of approx. 600,000 to 1.4 million in the space of 18 years.

Other Canadian metropolitan cities are expected to experience similar growth, which will result in more expansion of suburbs.

But in Montreal, because the city is an island their ideal direction is not outwards, but upwards. Which means new condo developments need to start thinking how they can accommodate a lot more people... which employs using new architectural technology in order to make buildings stronger, more affordable and more energy efficient.

The energy issue will also be a big thing by 2031. Electricity prices are expected to skyrocket in the next 18 years so having more energy efficient buildings will save on heating and air conditioning.

One way would be to make buildings more like greenhouses, so their internal temperature is regulated by the sun in the winter and during summer months. There are a myriad other advances in energy efficient windows, as demonstrated by the image on the right. Another way is windows that can be electronically tinted to reflect more sunlight to change the refraction rate.

More energy savings can also be gained by using basic geothermal for heating and cooling the building.

Construction costs can be reduced by using new materials, prefabrication in factories (which also raises quality of the construction work), and maintenance costs can be reduced by designing buildings which require very little maintenance.

These cost savings will be more important for people looking to buy a Montreal condo because the overall higher costs of living in the future will cause people to be more frugal with their money. People will want to buy a place that will save them money over the long term and get them great value for their investment.

Montreal also benefits from the fact that at its lowest point it is currently about 100 feet above sea level. When arctic and antarctic ice caps melt within the next 12 years Montreal will be UNAFFECTED by the rise in sea level because the resulting rise in sea level will only be 28 meters (92 feet), which will leave Montreal high and dry by a good 8 feet while Halifax, St John's and many coastal towns in the Maritimes will be flooded.

Which means there will be even greater stress on housing availability as Montreal and similar cities will be swamped by people looking for new places to live as their own homes have been flooded. The result will be people looking for new accommodations and an abundance of cheap labour.

This means that long term investment in Montreal's real estate is a really wise decision. Its guaranteed to go up thanks to the constant population growth, but there is also the chance of prices skyrocketing when the Maritimes is flooded before 2025.

Ignoring doom and gloom predictions for the Maritimes, in contrast Montreal's future is very sunny. It has a stable economy, is always hiring new graduates from its many universities, it is a tourism destination, and it has a well rounded transportation system.

It makes me wish I lived in Montreal instead of Toronto.

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