How to invest in property in Québec

Global Citizen By Roshnara Corby Mar 12, 2020

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Vibrant multicultural cities, jaw-dropping scenery, a cutting-edge tech scene and famously good-natured locals are just some of the reasons that more and more French people are choosing to live and work in Québec. Attracted by the dynamic labor market and the unique mix of European savoir-vivre and North American enthusiasm, the number of French residents in “La Belle Province” has nearly doubled over the past decade, according to the French Consulate General. Buying property in Québec is a good choice not only for those who have put down roots, but also as an overseas investment.

Why buy property in Québec?

Many individuals are now looking to Québec as their next real estate investment. Economic stability and high employment, per Statistics Canada, appeal to those seeking to make a smart career move, with Québec’s strong administrative ties to France easing the transition. The Québec-France Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications facilitates access to local labor markets for workers, while French students are eligible to pay local tuition fees in Québec universities.

These measures have done a great deal to increase the number of French residents, but that’s not the only reason people are packing their bags and heading to the land of poutine and sugar shacks. Notably, property in the region is significantly more affordable compared to other Canadian provinces. For example, real estate in Montreal costs three times less than in Vancouver or Toronto, according to Les Echos — a difference made even more striking when compared with Paris and other major French cities, where property prices are hitting an all-time high.

Where to buy

Montreal and Québec City are major draws for French buyers seeking to invest in the region’s major cities, while appreciation rates for holiday homes in some rural areas are just as high as on Montreal Island. Both Québec City and Montreal boast healthy economies and high employment. In picturesque Québec City, individual houses or “unifamiliales” are relatively easy to come across, whereas the market in vibrant Montreal has more to offer in terms of centrally located condominiums.

The rental market is booming in both cities. French buyers traditionally favour the Plateau-Mont-Royal, Mile End and Ville-Marie neighborhoods in Montreal. In Québec City, buyers tend to gravitate towards the central Cité-Limoilou and fashionable Nouveau Saint-Roch.

What to expect in the buying process

1. Residency and tax requirements

The good news is that you don’t have to be a Canadian national or resident to own property in Québec (but you will have to comply with immigration requirements if you wish to occupy your property on a permanent basis). If you own a rental property but are not a resident, you will be required to file annual tax returns with the Canada Revenue Agency.

2. Property prices

Before booking your plane ticket, it’s a good idea to take a look at average property prices in your area of choice. Buyers can expect to pay around €3,300 per square meter in Montreal, per the Montreal Gazette. The Government of Canada reports that interest rates on mortgages vary from 0.5% to 4.75%.

3. Purchase and maintenance costs

Real estate purchases in Québec entail certain costs, just as they do in France. Expect to pay notary fees of €600 to €1,000, according to Les Echos, as well as the “Bienvenue” tax, equivalent to the transfer tax in France.

With some forward planning, buying property in Québec can be a relatively straightforward process, and finding a way to move money swiftly will make it all the more so.