After $39M apartment buy, Montreal’s Hazout Group sees big upside in Gatineau rental market

Bedard Street apartments
Bedard Street apartments

An up-and-coming Montreal real estate investment firm has closed its second Gatineau acquisition in less than six months and is eyeing more properties in the National Capital Region as it seeks to grab a bigger piece of a robust rental market.

Hazout Group said this week it’s purchased three apartment buildings on Bedard Street with a total of 320 suites. The deal’s total price tag is $39 million, making it the firm’s largest acquisition yet.

Hazout bought the properties at 42, 44 and 46 Bedard St. from Toronto-based Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty, who had purchased them in 2019. The units, which the previous owners had recently begun upgrading, are mostly a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

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Founded in 2016, Hazout Group now owns and operates about 1,100 units in Gatineau and Montreal. 

It’s the firm’s second deal in Gatineau. Late last year, the company bought an assembly of land zoned for mixed-use purposes on Laurier Avenue and is still in the process of figuring out what to do with property. 

President Kevin Hazout says his company is “looking at a bunch of other buildings” in Gatineau, attracted by the city’s low rental vacancy rate and continued demand for mid-market inventory.

‘Major’ rent gap

He says rising rents in Ottawa have prompted many tenants to look to the Quebec side of the river for cheaper housing, adding he sees no signs of a slowdown on the horizon.

According to CMHC, the average apartment in Gatineau rented for just over $900 in 2020 ​– one-third less than the average unit in Ottawa.  

“The gap between rent in the two cities is so major, I think there is good potential in the Gatineau market,” Hazout explains.

“You’re seeing a lot of big players starting to come into this market,” he adds, pointing to Toronto-based Manulife Investment Management’s $63-million acquisition of a downtown Gatineau luxury apartment complex last November as an example. “I think the market is going to keep going up for the next few years.”

At the same time, Hazout is also keeping a close eye on the other side of the Ottawa River as the firm looks to expand its footprint into Ontario.

“We’re definitely looking and hoping to buy in Ottawa very soon,” Hazout says, noting the company would like to add at least another 1,000 units to its portfolio in the National Capital Region.

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