MONTREAL -- People in Montreal and Quebec City bought a record number of homes at the start of the year, but had fewer options to choose from.

The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers said Tuesday that Montreal sales climbed to 3,971 in January, up 17 per cent from 3,398 the year before.

Quebec City's sales during the same month reached 829, a 16 per cent jump from 713 in 2021.

The record highs show that house hunters weren't deterred from snatching up properties even as the province contended with strict lockdowns and curfews meant to keep Quebecers home and curb COVID-19.

"Despite more severe health restrictions, January continued in the footsteps of 2020," said Charles Brant, director of market analysis at the QPAREB, in a statement.

"Condominiums and plexes registered record sales, including on the Island of Montreal, with the highest number of transactions ever recorded since the early 2000s."

January was the first month since June 2020 that the increase in sales was well below the 40 per cent mark in Quebec City, he pointed out.

Brant believes that easing is due to active listings falling by nearly two-thirds in the past 12 months in the single-family home category and the Quebec City market seeing a strong increase in sales last January.

The QPAREB said the number of active listings this January dropped by 48 per cent to 3,848 in Quebec City and 25 per cent to 11,176  in Montreal.

The number of new listings was down by 30 per cent to 1,003 in Quebec City and 11 per cent to 5,042 in Montreal.

Meanwhile, the price of a single family home edged up by 11 per cent to reach $282,000 in Quebec City, while condos slipped in price by 2 per cent, making the average one cost $200,000.

In Montreal, the average single family home price crept up by 23 per cent to hit $434,000 while condos moved up 23 per cent to $434,000.

QPAREB's new numbers come a month after the regions proved so resilient that they reported the best December on record for home sales across every Montreal neighbourhood.

The association said that agents sold 4,613 Montreal homes in December, up 32 per cent from 3,503 during December 2019.