One-upmanship in the Magdalen Islands: a collective responsibility?

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Surench&egrave ;re at &Iles-de-la-Madeleine : a collective responsibility?

Almost 85% of the housing stock in the Magdalen Islands is made up of single-family residences (archives).

According to data from the real estate site Centris, the median price of houses in the Magdalen Islands has jumped 28% over the past year. Faced with this observation, the mayor, Jonathan Lapierre, believes that the Madelinots have a role to play in curbing the overbidding. Are the islanders willing to give up thousands of dollars to prevent their islands from turning into “Club Med”?

At the start of the summer, the sale of a $795,000 house in Havre-aux-Maisons set social networks on fire in the archipelago. Many Madelinots denounce the real estate boom and worry about being somehow dispossessed of their native islands, to the benefit of wealthier city dwellers.

Click here to read the first part of this report

This is the case of Jonathan Nadeau, a fisherman's helper and father of four who lives in Fatima, on the island of Cap aux Meules.

It's not easy in the context of taking out a $600,000 mortgage for a house worth $150,000, he says. Houses are being bought at terrible prices, because people in the city want a nice little piece of paradise as a second home, but you can't compete with today's market prices, especially with a job where we earn between $30,000 and $40,000 a year, it's impossible.

Comparative statistics

Community maritime des Îles-de-la-Madeleine

All of Quebec

Disposable income per capita (2020)

$34,870

$33,093

Average land value of a single-family home (2021)

$154,885

298 $070

Median price of a single-family home*

267 $000

$403,000

Median house price change*

+28%

+20%

*Based on cumulative data from last four quarters compiled by Centris

Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec and Centris*

Settled in the Magdalen Islands since January, the director of the Maison des jeunes de l'île du Havre Aubert, Gabrielle Létourneau, also does not see how she will be able to access property in the archipelago. She is also concerned about the situation as a hiring manager, in a context of labor shortages.

If it's only people with the best-paying jobs who are able to buy a house, there will be a whole section of the job market where we won't be able to attract anyone to the Islands, she believes. I can't hire people at $50,000 a year, I don't even do that myself!

The director of the Maison des jeunes L'Hav-nir, Gabrielle Létourneau, predicts that she will have to move eight times this summer, before taking possession of accommodation in September.

Beyond recruitment, the director of the Maison des jeunes L'Hav-nir is above all concerned about the future of the Madelinot teenagers she meets on a daily basis.

“There are young people who told us that for them it is already clear that they are going to leave the Islands, because they will never be able to buy a house, they will never be able to find accommodation. They are very lucid, they see things going. »

— Gabrielle Létourneau, director of the Maison des jeunes L'Hav-nir

Listen to the radio report broadcast on L'L'Heure du monde< em>

Radio-Canada asked Jonathan Lapierre, both mayor of the Magdalen Islands and father of a teenage girl, if he feared that his daughter is not able to become a landowner in the archipelago.

I'm not afraid of that, because if she can't do it here, she can't do it anywhere else, he replies. Yes, it may seem worrying, you still have to admit it, but my concern is global, it is for all of Quebec.

Will our next generation be condemned to be a generation of tenants?, asks Jonathan Lapierre. It is possible, so much the cost of a property is likely to be expensive with the interest rate and inflation. But if my 15-year-old daughter can't afford land or a house here, I don't know where she's going to live, but she won't be able to anywhere else, because it's always more expensive elsewhere.

The Municipality has recently taken action to try to curb real estate speculation and overbidding, but the mayor believes that each Madelinot also has an individual responsibility.

“The citizen himself has a role to play in speculation. There is no law, government or municipality that can prevent someone from selling their house for the price a buyer is willing to pay. It's a personal choice. »

— Jonathan Lapierre, Mayor of the Magdalen Islands

The mayor of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Jonathan Lapierre, recalls that the Municipality has taken several measures to curb real estate overbidding, but that its power of action remains limited (archives).

In this context, the mayor invites his fellow citizens to be more conscientious when selling land or houses.

“There is no one forcing us to sell our land and our houses, no one! I invite people, if they feel dispossessed of their territory, to encourage those around them to stop selling to the highest bidder, and often the highest bidder who does not come from here. »

— Jonathan Lapierre, Mayor of the Magdalen Islands

People need to realize that we may have gone too far collectively and that x27;they tell themselves that we still have the power to favor the people who live here. It is done elsewhere, there is someone who made this decision recently by selling his house, he specifies.

The example to which Jonathan Lapierre refers is that of Camille Cyr.

The Quebec City resident, daughter of Madelinots, recently listed her home in L'Étang-du-Nord on Île du Cap aux Meules for sale , without the help of a broker.

Following the publication of her announcement on Facebook, Camille Cyr received approximately 150 messages in less than 24 hours.

Her announcement on social networks indicates that she would like sell in priority to a Madelinot, an appellation which, according to Camille Cyr, includes all people who reside throughout the year in the Islands, regardless of their place of birth or their family affiliation.

When I made the decision to sell my house, it was clear to me that the goal was not to sell to someone from the mainland who would then sell it to tourists, says Camille Cyr. It's really to do my part, to ensure dynamism on the Islands and that young people can have a place to stay year-round.

“I don't even understand why people on the Islands don't always want to promote sales to Madelinots. I understand that they want to have the best price possible, but what would it be like to make the effort to try to sell locally first? asks Camille Cyr.

At 31, Camille Cyr knows, however, that her social conscience could cost her tens or even hundreds of thousands of additional dollars, because she deprives itself of a potential one-upmanship from city dwellers.

“I know I could have more expensive, that's obvious, but what I want is a fair price. It's not just money in life. »

— Camille Cyr, who has put her house on the Magdalen Islands for sale

The director of the Maison des jeunes L'Hav-nir, Gabrielle Létourneau, finds Camille Cyr's initiative encouraging.

Since her arrival in the archipelago, the neo-Madelienne says she has observed an awareness of the islanders with whom she often discusses the issue of housing.

People are aware in this moment of what is happening, of the importance of protecting the land and the houses in order to accommodate the people who work here year-round, believes Gabrielle Létourneau. It is a responsibility that is truly collective.

“There's no one who feels like it's going to be a bit like a Club Med here. Beyond the summer, year-round life on the Islands is truly rich and special. It is important to protect this aspect. »

— Gabrielle Létourneau, director of the Maison des jeunes L'Hav-nir

In addition to housing, land use planning, the preservation of landscapes and the safeguarding of agricultural land are subjects of concern in the Magdalen Islands (archives).

She hopes that the residents of the archipelago and its decision-makers will always keep the future of young people in mind so that Madelinot children are not dispossessed of their native islands.

It hasn't been long since I arrived, I see it all from a slightly external perspective, but if there is one thing that should not be forgotten, it's; is that young people can stay on the Islands if they want to stay. We need them, the community needs young people, so it's important not to forget them and to think of them in all this, concludes Gabrielle Létourneau.

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