Ottawa housing market catches up on earlier COVID-19 sales slowdown in November

Home prices are showing signs of stabilizing after the Bank of Canada's initial interest rate hike on March 2, 2022. Craig Lord / Global News

The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) says year-to-date activity in the city’s housing market has now caught up from a spring slowdown linked to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The OREB said this week its members sold 1,611 properties in November, an increase of 26 per cent year-over-year. Residential-class properties accounted for 1,206 of unit sales, with condos making up the remainder.

“We continue to experience strong activity in Ottawa’s resale market during the time of year when we would typically see a slowdown,” said OREB president Deb Burgoyne in a statement. “Further, the pandemic overall did not slow down the resale market, and our year to date transactions are now on par with 2019.”

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The average sale price for residential properties cracked the $600,000 mark for the second month in a row, coming in at $602,892 for an increase of 20 per cent year-over-year. The average condo sold for $361,758, meanwhile, an increase of 15 per cent from November 2019.

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Looking back at year-to-date growth over the past couple years, Burgoyne said housing prices in Ottawa have been rising higher over the course of the year.

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By this point in 2018, year-to-date housing prices had risen three-to-five per cent; last year, prices were up nine per cent on the year by November; thus far in 2020, prices are up 19 to 20 per cent — all according to OREB stats.

“This trajectory can be attributed to a concurrent decrease in inventory, which continues to be a challenge in our active market. The residential housing stock is 50 per cent lower than last year at this time,” she said.

Conversely, stock is up in the condo market, with the number of listings 25 per cent higher last month than in November 2019.

Burgoyne said condos are on the OREB’s watchlist, noting these units are staying on the market for longer. The increase in listings could be linked to investor owners looking to cash in their units on a robust market, while those living in their condos might be looking for extra space amid the pandemic’s new work-from-home reality.

Burgoyne said some buyers are even looking beyond traditional properties to rural spaces, properties with acreage, a waterfront or just proximity to a golf course.

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“Transitioning to working remotely is providing some buyers with the opportunity to explore their lifestyle property preferences,” she said.

“It opens up the options beyond the classic property types of condominiums or single-family homes.”

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