RENTING OR BUYING A CONDO FOR STUDENTS
Montreal is a very important University City. In fact, it is second only to Boston for having the most students living in its Downtown core. As a result, the student population represents a significant market share of the rental market in Downtown Montreal but also a large part of the buyers market. Aside from the best known establishments such as McGill and Concordia, there is also UQAM, University of Montreal which are francophone, and LaSalle College and Dawson and Vieux Montreal Cegeps (Cegeps are unique to Quebec and act as a precursor to University)
There is all sorts of accomocation near McGill and Concordia Universities. The main buildings you would need to look for are Le Roc Fleuri, 1200 De Maisonneuve, Sir Robert Peel, Le Delano, Place Simpson as well as Imperial House and Le Drummond en Haut.
Near McGill but somewhat further from Concordia are Altitude, Le Louis Boheme, Le Concorde, Le Lofts St Alexandre and Les Lofts St James. All these buildings have a gym and security and some of them have a pool, rooftop terrance and sauna.
For UQAM, buildings such as the Lofts des Arts and the Lo Gothé are much better suited whilst still close to a subway (St Laurent on the Green line) and within a short walk of the underground city and Place des Arts.
In addition to these buildings, a neighbourhood known as the McGill Ghetto located in the trendy Le Plateau is very popular amongst McGill students and just accross the road from the main Campus. This area has more older properties (sometimes over 100 years old) and is also popular with professionals working in the City due to its proximity to the main business district. It is possible to be less than 1 minute walk from the entrance on University Street and at most be 5 or 6 minutes walk from the main capus. There are many opportunities to purchase more affordable properties in this area.
All these buildings regularly have properties for sale or for rent.
IS IT BETTER TO BUY OR RENT FOR A STUDENT ON A FOUR YEAR COURSE?
That is the main question. Usually a quality condominium with one bedroom will rent for anything between $1500 and $2000. (this is an average, there are plenty that are priced lower, but also higher)
If one assumes a purchase price of $300,000, yearly taxes and condo (strata) fees of $6000 and an average price increase every year of 3% then your overall ownership cost over four years will be $24,000 offset by a capital gain of $40,000.
Renting the same property would cost $1,500 per month or $18,000 per year or $72,000 lost over 4 years which is partially offset by an interest on $300,000 at 2% (secure account) of $6,000 a year ($24,000 over 4 years) so 72,000 - 24,000 = 48,000. Rental accomodation would therefor be a net loss of $48,000 over four years or $12,000 a year in contrsat with a gain of $16,000 for ownership.
Even if there are many costs associated with ownership and the re-selling of a property, these will never come close to the $64,000 disparity between both case scenarios.
Our recommendation at the Downtown Realty Team would be to rent for six months to a year before buying a condo, and a resale or 'turn-over' time of at least 3 years. This would represent the best value for money.