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The Canadian real estate market got off to a rocky start in 2018, with national home sales plunging 14.5 per cent month-over-month in January. But one province has managed to buck the trend, reporting a boost in sales in the first month of the year.

Quebec hit a 10-year home sales high for the month of January, as sales jumped 9.8 per cent year-over-year and prices climbed 5 per cent last month.

“The number of home sold is on the rise, which is continuing to put upward pressure on prices,” writes Desjardins senior economist Helene Begin, in a note released today.

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The strong performance was largely driven by the Montreal market, which has benefited from a strong labour market — the city saw 115,000 jobs added to the market in the last two years alone.

“There is now a shortage of single-family homes [in Montreal], with not enough properties available to meet purchasers’ demands,” writes Begin. “The condominium market is more balanced now, after posting surpluses for some years.”

Because Quebec has a lower price point than many markets in Ontario and BC, it’s likely to be less affected by the mortgage rules that came into effect on January 1. Even with the recent increase in prices, the average price of a home in the province falls just above $300,000.

“The federal government’s mortgage restrictions…should…have a marginal impact on property sales in Quebec,” writes Begin. “Some people will probably have to buy less expensive homes or move away from the central neighbourhoods if they want to maintain some financial flexibility in the years to come.”

“We absolutely expect 2018 to be a strong year for both the Montreal and Quebec housing markets,” Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards market analysis department manager Paul Cardinal tells BuzzBuzzNews.

QFREB is predicting a 5 per cent increase in sales and a 5 per cent boost in the median price of a family home in 2018.

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