Home sales were lower in Ottawa in December compared to a year earlier but 2018 overall was another good one.
Ottawa Real Estate Board reports that sales were up 2.4% year-to-date at 17,476 residential class and condo homes sold compared to 17,065 a year earlier. Condo sales were strongest with a 13% rise compared to a slight decrease for residential class homes.
“For the last decade, we have experienced steady growth in our real estate market from volume to prices; however, the past two years have jumped significantly in activity with a 12.6% increase in unit sales from 2016. Ottawa, and its surrounding area, has excellent employment numbers and has proven to be one of the most affordable larger cities in the country,” said Ralph Shaw, Ottawa Real Estate Board’s 2018 President.
Inventory remains an issue for the market though, affecting certain parts of the city.
“While this has caused unit sales to slide in the residential market, it has fueled the condominium market which has recovered and carried us through much of 2018. We have been predicting this will bode well for new construction in delayed high-rise projects,” Shaw added.
December sales of 663 represented a 13.3% drop from a year earlier while average sale prices increased: by 4.7% for residential class to $453,011; and by 9% for condo class to $278,295.
Mortgage stress test
Shaw said that the mortgage stress test has made move-up buyers less likely to do so, blocking first-time buyers from buying starter units.
However, he is positive about the year ahead.
“In 2019, we expect the economic fundamentals of supply and demand to be at play with upward pressure on prices due to limited supply and increasing demand. Buyers do have affordable options in outlying communities if they are willing to commute — or they will simply have to pay more provided they can qualify. New builds and purpose-built rental housing could help ease some of the pressure, particularly if builders are able to provide a variety of quality options allowing for more movement in the market,” he concluded.