Anglophones Flee Idea of a PQ Government

A for sale sign is shown in front of a residence in Montreal, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012.With the prospect of a PQ win on the table, the Quebec real estate market is entering a turbulent time. As we speak, Anglophones are selling their homes in fears the value of their property will plummet after September 4. New home buyers are asking realtors for a guarantee that the PQ won’t win and have asked to have a clause added in their agreement that should the PQ win, they can leave without having lost a cent. Yes, the PQ are on their marry way back to power, but nothing speaks warm welcome more than the Anglophones who are now flocking to Ontario.

The real estate market usually slows in summer and new mortgage regulations have been imposed leaving buyers in a “wait and see” attitude. The news that Anglophones are leaving and anticipating a PQ win is not news to Quebec, the same arguments and actions have been placed on the party since the 1970s leaving Quebec in volatile condition with every political change it makes.

Montreal real-estate broker, Monique Assouline, who works on the west end said that both Anglophones and Francophones have told her that they won’t buy anything until the election result is settled.

“Their main fear is that the PQ government will win and that the separation issue will come back up and that the prices are going to fall down,” she said.

She also stated that buyers fear for the property values amid an exodus of mainly English-speaking areas such as what happened in 1976, after the first time the PQ took power.

“They’re afraid to buy in this area right now.”

Monique Assouline, Montreal-based real-estate broker

A realtor in Hawkesbury Ontario, near the Quebec-Ontario border, said that many of her recent clients are Quebecers who are moving to Ontario.

With polls showing a possible PQ win, “we’re getting twice as many phone calls,” Rebecca Collett told CTV News.

“The numbers have increased substantially,” she said. “People just want to leave. They say they want to move to Canada – they don’t feel Quebec is a part of Canada.”

One of the fleeing Quebecers is Barbra Rousse who said that she didn’t want to live through another PQ government.

“I’ve just had it. I’ve had it with them,” she said.

PQ leader Pauline Marois who is the first PQ leader in history to run a campaign and possible mandate on identity – rather than solely the traditional sovereignty – agenda shrugged off the idea of a market slowdown caused by her party’s sovereignty agenda and her newly minted plan to attack English-speaking minorities.

History repeats itself and it is feared that a PQ win will bring back the trends that were seen during PQ governments since 1976 when Anglophones and corporate head offices left Quebec for friendlier places to live and do business. However, while property value statistics aren’t available for the periods before 1980, the last time the property value of houses dropped in Quebec was in 1995, when the last referendum was called, and 1996.

While many fear this event may happen again, Andy Dodge, a real estate consultant who tracks Westmount and Paul Cardinal, the manager of market analysis at the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards both said the market is in good shape.

Dodge, however, warned that “For the most part you can’t expect too much to happen in Westmount real estate (before the election).”

He said he’d seen elections affect the market with the 1976 dealing the hardest blow.

“It was falling off anyway in 1991. (Then) the PQ got elected (in 1994) and it took the market about seven years to recover.” He added that the re-election of the Liberals in 2003 was when the rebound started.

Another broker, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that Quebec politics is hurting the market.

“I have many clients who are saying they want to buy this house but they’re not putting an offer in writing until after the election,” the broker said.

However, the broker said that the election wasn’t the only reason for buyers to think twice. He added that student protests had also added instability which got the attention of foreign buyers – particularly commercial buyers.

“They don’t like discord, they don’t like dissent,” the broker said.

“They were attracted to Canada because it’s a peaceful nation without issues. It still is but that has been, from my experience, with my clients, a major turnoff. They’re not impressed with what’s going on.”

The broker said that several clients were considering relocating a large company to Montreal but decided against it.

“They’re going to Toronto now instead. We’re talking millions of dollars into the economy.”

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Related: Marois to Harper: I want more power, comprenez-vous?

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