A Guide to Buying a Condo in Montreal

For most people, the idea of shared ownership (or co-ownership) of a property raises a long list of questions. What exactly is co-ownership? How does it work? What factors must be considered when choosing a property? What are the latest co-ownership projects in Montréal? Ultimately, co-ownership is no more complicated than full ownership, but can be much more advantageous.
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Condo neuf de nuit arrondissement Plateau-Mont-Royal

Shared ownership is straightforward: multiple people own a single property. Some people co-own cars, boats and other items, so the idea applies to more than just buildings. In many cases, the goal is to enjoy the benefits of owning something that would be difficult to acquire on your own.

Legally, there are two types of co-ownership: divided and undivided.

Undivided co-ownership

What does “undivided” mean? You can’t cut a property into pieces, of course, but you can share use. Undivided co-ownership means that there is no material division between the various owners; each one owns everything, in proportion to their investment. Each owner enjoys full benefits of ownership while possessing only a part of the whole. An example of undivided co-ownership is when members of a family buy a duplex or triplex with each member living on a separate floor. When a couple buys a house or apartment together, it’s also a form of undivided co-ownership.

There are many co-ownership properties on the re-sale market. These properties are not eligible for mortgage insurance, however, so down payments typically must be larger.

Condo (or divided co-ownership)

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Alexande CV

Under divided co-ownership (better known as condominium), only specific parts belong to all owners; each owner has sole possession of a portion of the whole. In other words, you own your residence outright and share ownership of the common elements, such as the roof, grounds, hallways, elevators, stairs, garage and parking lot. As a result, the co-owners are equally responsible for the costs of repair and maintenance of these areas, as well as for the whole building. This option is much less expensive than sole ownership.

In general, condominiums are divided into different categories, based on the building’s size and form.

Multiplexes bring people together

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Condo à Montréal dans un petit immeuble
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Alexande CV

Montréal is known for its multiplexes; side-by-side or upstairs and down, shared buildings are part of the city’s DNA. Multiplexes range from two to eight separate residences. More than eight and it’s considered an apartment building.

Several recently completed multiplex developments put a modern twist on a once-popular concept. Most of these new developments are either infill projects or built on empty residential lots. And they can be found in pockets across the city, in both central and suburban boroughs, including Saint-Laurent, LaSalle, Côte-des-Neige–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension. In these and other boroughs, multiplex developments are popping up on empty lots or on the sites of former single-family homes, gas stations or other buildings.

The developments bring people together and enable more residents to access the advantages of city life.

Buildings suited to their neighbourhoods

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Extérieur condo arrondissement Plateau-Mont-Royal
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Robert Etcheverry

Most Montréal boroughs have co-ownership projects with 20 to 100 residences. These buildings typically have shared main entrances, but unlike larger condominiums, they rarely have elevators, pools or sports facilities. Most are well integrated into their neighbourhoods and enrich the community.

Towering over the city

Condo neuf arrondissement LaSalle

Tour de condo près d'un métro
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Alexande CV

Multiplex buildings needn’t be skyscrapers to enable urban densification, particularly in neighbourhoods that are growing in popularity. There are numerous 6 to 12-storey buildings located near public-transit lines in neighbourhoods like the Triangle and Angrignon. Residents enjoy some amenities, such as exercise rooms, saunas and party rooms; some even have outdoor pools. Monthly condo fees are generally low, and the combination of good quality and reasonable price makes the units attractive to value-conscious buyers.

Townhouses

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Extérieur maison dans quartier famille
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Bénédicte Brocard

For those who like the feel of living in a house while enjoying the advantages of co-ownership, townhouses offer an ideal solution. For greater efficiency and convenience, the cost of services such as grounds maintenance and snow removal are often shared among residents. Some have handy parking. In short: all of the benefits of single-family home with the advantages of co-ownership.

The pleasure of co-ownership, after all, comes from being an owner. Add to this, the advantage of sharing expenses and saving money while living in a desirable neighbourhood and you can see why co-ownership is so popular.

Map of co-ownership properties in Montréal

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