Finance in Quebec with Michael Williams of First National Financial

Houses for sale in Ottawa

We’ve got Michael Williams with us in this episode presented by REF Club. He is the Regional Vice President of Quebec and Atlantic Canada at First National. Michael is here to give insight on the state of the financing industry around the country and what is going on specifically in Quebec.

Michael explains how COVID-19 has affected the rental market in Montreal, along with why he thinks it will be the first major city in Canada to fully recover. The guys discuss how Quebec’s unique culture impacts their rental market, and we hear details about the market in some other cities in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Topics covered include:

  • Pricing in this environment and the influence of bond rates.
  • The incredible amount of liquidity available in the market today.
  • Mortgage spreads across different asset classes.
  • A record addition of apartments in Montreal in 2020.
  • Increased vacancy rates in Montreal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Why Michael believes that renters will flock back to downtown Montreal.
  • The real estate opportunity that the 2008 market crash presented to Michael.
  • First National’s increasing footprint in Quebec.
  • A very large deal that First National completed in Quebec.
  • Unique aspects of the Gatineau market.
  • The biggest challenge faced by the Quebec real estate market right now.
  • Opportunities to create value in Montreal.
  • Cap rates remaining low and what that means for the market.
  • Why Halifax has seen a minimal impact from the pandemic.
  • An explanation of the CMHC Flex program.

More about our guest….

Michael Williams leads the Quebec commercial real estate financing team at First National Financial since February 2018. Since joining First National, he played an integral role in growing the team and the First National foot print in the Quebec market. More recently, Michael’s mandate has increased where he now also leads the Atlantic team since February 2020. Prior to joining First National, Michael spent more than 12 years in real estate financing at 2 Canadian banks. Michael holds a MBA from McGill University.

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