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Canadians’ idea of ‘mainstream family’ vehicles changing, search data suggests





Crossovers, SUVs and trucks are taking over as many consumers idea of a “mainstream family vehicle,” newly released search data from Canada’s biggest online auto marketplace suggests. published its annual list of the top 10 most-searched vehicle models on Saturday. For the fourth straight year, the Ford F-150 took top spot. The Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav4 were also among the top 10, at number seven and 10, respectively, for the first time. 

According to Michael Bettencourt, managing editor at the website, conspicuously missing from this year’s roundup were four-door sedans (except for the Honda Civic, which came in at number three) and minivans. Further, overall searches for minivans on the site reached a new low, accounting for only 2.58 per cent of all search traffic. 

Decreased searches for minivans and affordable four-door sedans coincides with a drop in sales, he pointed out. 

“Obviously, we’re seeing a shifting of the paradigm of what a mainstream family looks like,” Bettencourt said in a phone interview.

“It varies in extent across the country, but it is pan-Canadian trend we are looking at.”

Changing preferences

Bettencourt attributes the increase in SUV searches and corresponding sales to a number of factors, some more intuitive than others. First, auto manufacturers are building more SUVs, and in turn, are spending more and more money on marketing those vehicles. 

“With minivans, for example, it’s been going in the opposite direction. Fewer and fewer companies are making minivans, and those that are making them are increasingly shifting resources away from minivans,” Bettencourt explained. 

Then there is the fact that most SUV, crossover and truck models offer four-wheel or all-wheel drive — a feature present in a very limited number of minivan models.

Bettencourt also points to shifting demographics as a key driver of changing preferences among Canadians.

“With folks getting older, they are getting less and less mobile. With crossovers, SUVs and even trucks being a little bit higher than sedans, I think they are becoming a little bit easier to get in and out of for folks,” he said.

Of course, looking up a vehicle online and actually buying one are very different things. Bettencourt admits that while search data can be insightful, it doesn’t necessarily correlate with real purchases.

For example, the Ford Mustang was the runner-up among most-searched models, while the BMW 3 Series and the Porsche 911 — a vehicle that generally costs more than $100,000 brand new — also made the list. None of those three vehicles are among the best-selling models in Canada, Bettencourt pointed out.

“A lot of people do go on the site just to see what’s out there and do a little bit of dreaming,” he said.

The full list of’s most-searched vehicles in Canada is as follows:

  • Ford F-150.
  • Ford Mustang.
  • Honda Civic.
  • BMW 3 Series.
  • Jeep Wrangler.
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
  • Honda CR-V.
  • Porsche 911.
  • Chevrolet Corvette.
  • Toyota Rav4.

Regional differences also examines differences in searches from province to province.

According to Bettencourt, Ontario represents an “outlier” in the data. Ontarians are “most interested in classics, performance and style,” said an accompanying news release issued with the list.

In Quebec, consumers seem to put greater emphasis of practicality and fuel efficiency than any other region in Canada. Luxury models were pushed off the Quebec list by searches for vehicles like the Toyota Corolla.

Conversely, searches for luxury models decreased considerably in both B.C. and Alberta.

Meanwhile, the release said, “the territories and Manitoba are definitely SUV and truck country.

“Nine out of 10 models searched in the territories and seven out of 10 in Manitoba were comprised of SUVs and trucks,” it said.


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Real Estate

Montreal real-estate prices climbing much faster than Toronto or Vancouver: study





MONTREAL — The cost of housing per square foot has skyrocketed in Montreal while other cities saw little change over the last year, according to a new national survey.

The study found that condominium prices in downtown Montreal are up 13.5 per cent from last year to, on average, $805 per square foot.

That’s not as high as other cities, but it’s catching up — and Montreal’s rate of growth is outpacing other major Canadian cities.

Toronto’s condo prices grew to $1083 per square foot, an increase of just under 10 per cent, according to the study. In Vancouver, where you can find some of Canada’s most expensive condo prices, rates are down 4 per cent to $1192 per square foot.

To make the comparisons, Canadian real estate giant Century 21 collected data from real estate boards across the country to calculate the home costs per square foot.

“It’s important to compare apple to apples,” said Todd Shyiak, the company’s vice president of operations.

Montreal’s rise was even more explosive for detached homes and townhouses.

Detached houses in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose to $958 per square foot, 40 per cent up from last year.

“It’s wild,” said Century 21 broker Angela Langtry. She says the pandemic raised demand.

“People had a lot of time to figure out they don’t like the home they’re in,” she said. “They all want pools.”

There was a big spike in sales, she noted, following a pause in brokerage during the spring, at the peak of the pandemic.

Experts say the pandemic will push people into the suburbs as they search for affordable housing and home office space.

“A huge portion of our society’s housing needs changed overnight,” said Shyiak. People “no longer need to be 10 minutes from the office.”

He says that could mean less demand for condos in the future. “People want their own front door,” he said.

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Real Estate

Carttera buys prime downtown Montreal development site





Carttera has acquired a prime downtown Montreal site at 1455 De La Montagne St. which will mark its third development on the thoroughfare.

“We think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, locations in the whole city,” Carttera founding partner Jim Tadeson told RENX. “We’ve had great success on De La Montagne.”

The two earlier projects are: L’Avenue, a building with 393 residential units, 84,000 square feet of office space and 34,000 square feet of retail that was developed with Broccolini and occupied in 2017; and Arbora Residences, a two-phase development with 434 rental and condominium units in three buildings being built in partnership with Oxford Properties.

Thursday’s latest acquisition, for $48.5 million from 630745 Ontario, is a 31,750-square-foot surface parking lot with flexible mixed-use zoning on the corner of De La Montagne and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

The site is near the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, the new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal and high-end retail.

“It’s zoned for up to 203,000 square feet of density, which we’re going to take advantage of,” said Tadeson. “Our vision for the site is a condominium project with some retail.”

Since there is no demolition required and no heritage issues to contend with, Toronto-based Carttera plans to move ahead quickly with the luxury project.

It’s in the concept design phase and Tadeson said it could take six months or more before it’s prepared to make a submission to the city.

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Real Estate

Montreal Has the Hottest Real Estate Market in Canada Right Now





If you thought Toronto’s real estate market was on fire, it’s time for a second take, because the market in Montreal is the hottest in all of Canada right now.

A newly-released annual report from CENTURY 21 Canada reveals that, following an early-spring decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales numbers are bouncing back and house prices across the country are maintaining their strength. The study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In Toronto and Vancouver, unsurprisingly, prices remain high. But while regions across the country are seeing varied stories when it comes to their housing market fluctuations, Montreal stands out — there, prices have increased dramatically since 2019. While the numbers remain lower than Toronto and Vancouver, that housing market is proving to be the country’s strongest right now.

In Quebec’s largest city, prices have increased significantly since last year, particularly in the downtown detached house and townhouse markets. For example, the price of a detached house in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose 42.14% to $958 per square foot, while townhouses went up 44% to $768, and condos, 13.55% to $805. Comparatively, in Toronto and Vancouver, prices saw more modest increases or, in some cases, even declines.

“Even though real estate in Quebec was not considered an essential service, we have seen strong demand and a jump in prices in 2020,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal.

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