Ottawa leads country with home sales

Ottawa and Montreal are bucking the trend when it comes to home sales in Canada.

Across the country, the housing market saw a 22 percent drop year over year.

But quite the opposite in the capital. 

The housing market has taken a big hit in both Toronto and Vancouver.

Ottawa, meantime, has always been a dependable market now moving more towards “hot.”

You don’t have to tell Lauren Walker how hot Ottawa’s housing market is. She just closed on a deal after being in a bidding war with several other buyers

“My boyfriend and I had an offer in,” says Walker, “and there were 5 other offers.  It was a bidding war I guess you would call it.  Thankfully we had strategy in place and we were able to actually win the home which was fantastic.”

Real estate agent Marnie Bennett says what happened to Walker isn’t unusual.  Ottawa is now a seller’s market for the first time in 16 years.  Houses in that sweet spot, between $300,000 and $449,000, she says, are going fast.

“What that means is more demand than inventory,” Bennett says, “and there are two great demographics, the baby boomers and millennials going for the same price point.  So this is very odd for Ottawa; most realtors never experienced it.”

In fact, what’s happening across the country right now is the exact opposite.  According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, home sales were down nationally by 22.7%.  Toronto and Vancouver had the largest declines in sales, with 40.2% and 29.8% respectively.  On the flip side, Montreal was up 6.4% and Ottawa, taking top spot at 10.2%.

Greg Klump is the chief economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association, “You’ve got supportive incomes in those cities,” he says, “and the interest rates are still low and even with the mortgage stress test, with people’s incomes in those cities, housing affordability is still within reach.”

Ottawa is considered a balanced market, though it’s tilting towards a sellers’ market.  In both Toronto and Vancouver, the demand for housing has outstripped the supply boosting up prices until this recent market cool-off.

In Ottawa, at least for now, there is still a decent supply. Despite the bidding war, Lauren Walker considers herself lucky to be here.

“It makes me happy to buy in Ottawa,” says Walker, “I look at friends and family who live in the Toronto area and there’s no way they can afford to buy a home. It’s crazy for sure.”

With that dramatic drop in home sales across the country, the Canadian Real Estate Association indicates there has also been a drop in home prices nationally by about 10 percent.  Ottawa is again bucking that trend with an average increase in home prices of about 8%.

 

 





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