Murdochville or when the value of houses is not high enough

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Murdochville or when the value of houses is not high enough

In Murdochville, the value of buildings is still very low, which may appear as an opportunity, but also a brake on investment.

After the mine closed, many houses sold for a pittance in Murdochville. The popularity of winter tourism has allowed some catching up in real estate values. Despite everything, the land value is still too low, according to traders who see it as a brake on development.

We have seen an improvement in the land situation, but I think that we are still very far from a comfortable situation, estimates the president and general manager of Chic-Chac, Guillaume Molaison, whose company has been developing winter tourism for more than ten years.

For the entrepreneur, investing, renovating or buying can be difficult, due to too low a land value, which limits his borrowing capacity. What happens, explains Mr. Molaison, is that if I invest a million dollars in a building, the next day, it's worth a third of it, so it's difficult to justify to the banking institutions.

Same with maintaining a building. The use of a building as mortgage security is limited due to its low land value.

“It's not feasible to invest in real estate with the end of the month exchange rate. »

— Guillaume Molaison, President and CEO of Chic-Chac

Guillaume Molaison, President and CEO of Chic-Chac, believes that the Municipality should adopt a strategy for the development of its property value.

It's a reality known to the owner of the town pharmacy, Stephanie Smith. The construction of the building ten years ago cost much more at the time than its property assessment.

We built knowingly. People, when they get here, they know that home valuations are not representative of construction costs and renovation costs, she explains.

Stéphanie Smith, pharmacist in Murdochville

However, this situation does not prevent the pharmacist from investing in its business in order to offer the best possible service to its customers.

She sees things with optimism.

We hope that eventually the value of buildings will go up with the economic recovery, we have off-piste skiing, it's getting a lot more dynamic, probably the value of buildings will follow.

“When you live in Murdochville, you are looking more for a quality of life than a real estate investment.

—Stephanie Smith, Pharmacist

The President and CEO of Chic-Chac therefore wants the City to adopt a strategy to develop its property value, by attracting investors and thus supporting the economic development of the city.

This strategy, he says, could be inspired by that of Gaspé, which has put in place financial incentives for real estate developers.

If we think there is a mine coming, we must immediately start laying the foundations for future needs, and ensure that both tourism and the mining, wind or forestry industries are served by the City of Murdochville, asks Guillaume Molaison.

“I think the step of saving Murdochville is behind us. We must plan for our development and economic vitality. »

— Guillaume Molaison, President and CEO of Chic-Chac

A view of the Town of Murdochville.

< p class="e-p">For her part, the mayor of Murdochville, Délisca Ritchie-Roussy, indicates that she has already put in place incentives to give subsidies for the construction and renovation of housing.

I think we've done a bit. We are not a rich city. We are a city that is going to experience excitement, but which does not have the financial means for its ambitions.

“We don't can't give what you don't have.

— Délisca Ritchie-Roussy, Mayor of Murdochville

A return of the mine to Murdochville will allow the Municipality to have the means of its ambitions… at some point, according to Ms. Ritchie-Roussy.

She calls on both Quebec and Ottawa to support municipalities and offer incentives for the construction of new housing.

Murdochville is well aware of the impact that the possible resumption of mining activities will have on its real estate portfolio. The Municipality is currently evaluating the number of residences that can be used for short-term tourist rentals.

This assessment will be used to put in place regulations to govern this type of rental.

Guillaume Molaison welcomes the relevant reflection of the Municipality. However, he believes that due to the pandemic, the last two years are not representative of real housing needs.

If we rely on the last year to make regulations, I think we are wrong. I am not worried in the short term for families who want to settle in Murdochville, there are opportunities on the market. I don't think it's very relevant to arrive in the short term with a regulation like this, but obviously you have to plan the transition towards a return of the mining industry, comments the man of d' business.

The old Chic-Chac building.

Mayor Délisca Ritchie-Roussy insists on the importance of a such settlement with a view to the eventual realization of Osisko's projects.

We will have to have places to house people. Already there, accommodation is lacking. There are people who would like to come and stay in Murdochville, and then they have no place to stay. We must be able to respond above all to the population, and then respond to those who want to have short-term accommodation.

With the possible return of mining activities, the discussions around the Murdochville housing stock, its value as well as its occupancy rate and its possible development, are probably only beginning.

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