Oasis Realty Brokerage, Ottawa Real Estate
Gord McCormick Ottawa, ON K2S0H6
Phone: 613-435-4692 Mobile: 613-371-9691 Fax: 613-435-4698

Is it a 1990's replay in Ottawa real estate?

Is it “déjà vu, all over again” in Ottawa Real Estate?

short answer: ...let's certainly hope not!

We have suffered through another slow year in Ottawa real estate in 2014 with flat sales and overall prices barely in positive territory.  A Federal restraint program and a build up of listing inventory have taken us in to a buyer’s market.(supply/demand imbalance favours buyers)  Let’s take a quick look back at the last couple of decades and see how our market has evolved over the last 25 years.

Outstanding Growth 2000-2010:
We started the new millennium strongly for the first 11 years with average prices doubling from $157,511 in 2000 to $327,225 in 2010, an average increase of 9.8% annually.  Unprecedented low mortgage rates during this period helped fuel a run up in prices and also helped cover some lost ground from the 1990’s.

New Trajectory 2011-2014:  Should we have seen this coming?
When one looks at average price movement since the end of 2010, it definitely paints a picture of a new trajectory in market results.

Average price increase:
2011: + 5.2%
2012: + 2.3%
2013: + 1.6%
2014: + 1% or less (estimated)

We have certainly noticed and reported on slowing market conditions which really became apparent mid-2012.  Our current excess listing inventory did not happen overnight but has accumulated based on flat unit sales results over the last couple of years.  This excess supply (plus new construction inventory from builders) resulted in competitive price pressures and lower average selling price increases.

Is it the 1990’s all over again?
The 1990’s were a dirty decade for Ottawa real estate.  A recession plus a Liberal Federal Government that slashed jobs to balance the budget put a real chill on the Ottawa market for the whole decade.  Average prices from 1990 to 1999 grew a total of only 5.8% (from $141,438 to $149,650) for an annual average increase of only .58%.  In fact, the average selling price actually decreased in value during 1994, 1995 and 1996, something seen only 5 or 6 times in the history of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Unit sales dropped by 31% from 1989 to 1995, before getting back to 1989 levels later in the decade.

Ottawa Board Membership mirrors results:
As independent business people on 100% commission, the ranks of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) are closely aligned with the level of business and activity.

Board Membership by year:
1989: 2,566
1999: 1,338
2010: 2,617
2014: 3,025 (estimate)

As one can see from these simple stats; membership dropped 47.8% between 1989 and 1999.  Since 1999, membership has grown approx. 226% to its current level.  Growth has already levelled off and could be expected to plateau or even decrease if the current trend lines continue.

So how does this affect me and my housing plans?
We fully expect to see a continuation of these  tougher real estate market conditions for the foreseeable future and this makes it all the more imperative for both buyers and sellers to be aligned with an experienced and qualified real estate professional.  If you do not already have a REALTOR® under contract, we would be happy to discuss your specific objectives and strategic alternatives for 2015.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692  oasisrealty@rogers.com


Ottawa real estate more "naughty" than "nice" in 2014?

Definitely another slow year in Ottawa real estate and the emergence of a market favouring buyers. This caught a lot of sellers off guard but in retrospect it was fairly easy to see a tougher market coming over the last couple of years.
Ottawa will end with about the same number of resale transactions as 2013 with average residential prices up about only .8% and condo selling prices will be about the same or in slightly negative territory.
Most people don't see the stats until they are buying or selling but we have been slowing down for a few years now: Average selling prices by % increase:
2010: + 7.7%
2011: + 5.2%
2012: + 2.3%
2013: + 1.6%
2014: less than 1%
If you are interested in statistics affecting your own area or property, please let us know and we are happy to research them for you. We can also assist with an up to date market evaluation of your property should you have housing plans for 2015.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com

Should I be listing my Ottawa home or property in the winter?

While the credo of professional real estate would suggest “there is never a bad time to list a house/property”, there are certainly a number of issues to be considered in marketing a property in the Ottawa winter. This is particularly true in 2014/15’s more challenging market environment.  Here are a few items to consider:

The case for listing in the winter:
Most years, the assumption has been that while there are fewer buyers in the market there are also fewer sellers.  With listing inventory levels running at historical highs, this will not be the case for this winter. There is significant competition for both residential properties and condos from both the resale and new construction markets.

Get a “jump” on the spring market?
There is also a case to be made that while buyers may not be “buying” (in large numbers), they have already started shopping and doing their online research in advance of the season.  There is some validity in this position; particularly as we get to mid-February when “cabin fevered” Ottawans are looking ahead to spring.  Open Houses also see a pickup in activity, especially when we get a warm(er) and sunny day.

It is equally as likely that a REALTOR® may be trying to “get a jump” on the spring market by securing a listing but that is another discussion.

Should I continue to list it over the winter?
Those who have had their property already listed during 2014 often feel they “may miss a buyer” by taking their property off the market.  This may be true but it is more likely that a property which has already been listed for any significant period of time (60 days or more) may have some other issues inhibiting the sale and continuing the listing over the winter is not likely to produce a better result.

Continuing to list a property for an extended period can make the listing become “stale” and buyers tend to wonder; “what’s wrong with it?  Or “why hasn’t someone else bought it already?

Remember that online buyers have the attention span of a “gnat” and if they have not been interested at first glance; then the likelihood of their coming back to revisit a property deemed not to have measured up the first time is slim.  So the seller is left to wait for only those new buyers who enter the market.

Sales are definitely slower:
November through February is the slowest sales period of the year and while sales don’t cease completely, they do drop off to only 33% to 66% of average sales during the other 8 months.  This is especially true of December and January. (see monthly unit sales at www.oasisrealtyottawa.com a few posts below)

Competitive disadvantage with those listing later:
By having one’s property exposed to the market earlier, those in the market get to have a look at the property and compare it to determine their potential interest.  However, equally true is that sellers who plan to list later on (and their REALTOR®) have a chance to plan their pricing and marketing strategy by knowing what the competition is.  (kind of liking seeing a competitors' poker hand)  Subsequent listings will do their best to take advantage of this knowledge and present a more attractive marketing package for buyers.  This is why we see many new listings sell in the first week or two, as these sellers have adjusted and improved their offering compared to the existing already listed competition.

Buyer challenges:
Visiting properties in winter can be awkward/ difficult and many do not want to move in the depths of winter.

Many buyers also have a property to sell and therefore face the same slower market in trying to get a deal done on their own property.

Curb appeal and outdoor features suffer:
When we are mired in our 90 to 120 days of Ottawa snowbanks and deep freeze, most homes will not show their best, particularly those with key outdoor features such as decks, patios, pools, gardens, interlock, trees and privacy.

Also buyers are unable to as carefully inspect roofing, foundations, decks, fencing, sheds, air conditioning, swimming pools or other outdoor features and amenities.

Some negative features may stand out:

Properties with older or poorly designed heating systems may expose themselves in winter and focus buyer attention on cost of replacement and utility costs.

Older windows may emit drafts or show moisture/icing

Cool floors, bedrooms or basements may be highlighted
low light conditions may make some homes seem “very dark” or devoid of natural light which can be a big issue for buyers.

Street parking, snowbanks, driveways and walks and their maintenance needs in winter are all highlighted.  We see properties with large icicles hanging from the roof and eaves in winter, pointing to another inspection issue.

Homes that do not have eavestroughing may have glaciers forming on walks and driveways, depending on their exposure.

Homes or condos without indoor parking may be less of interest to buyers on a cold, snowy and windy day.

Full disclosure:
In the interest of full disclosure, we point out that we travel regularly in winter which inhibits our ability to consider new listings, if these are immediate.  This is also true of many in our profession who take vacation, training or have corporate or other industry events during this quieter business time of the year.

We are certainly available to discuss listing requirements and plans for 2015 at any time and look forward to hearing from you!*  Or by all means contact another REALTOR® to help assess the right time for marketing your property.

* not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements


Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com   www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

experienced professional real estate services!



New construction also feeling effects of slower Ottawa market

A report by PMA Brethour Realty Group in the Ottawa Citizen shows that new construction sales were off by 15% in October 2014 versus a year earlier and that year-to-date unit sales are down 2.3%.  The article says that there are fewer new condo launches this year compared to last which negatively affected results.  They also say that a decline in the number of first time buyers has had an impact in the market.

These slower results certainly parallel what we are seeing in the resale market and builder bonuses and incentives are at the highest level we have ever seen and are probably not equalled unless one goes back as far as the extended housing slowdown in the mid 1990’s. So while selling remains a challenge for many, there are good resale and new construction opportunities out there, as well as great mortgage rates.


Did you know?

1) About one Ottawa buyer in every 6 purchases a new construction home?  (our estimate: 20,000 resale transactions annually vs approx. 4,000 new home or condo purchases)

2) A REALTOR® can help buyers with their new construction purchase? 

An experienced professional can provide advice on the myriad of options, models, elevations, upgrades, lots and developments which best meet your objectives.  Call your REALTOR® before going to see the model homes and if you are not working with another REALTOR® then by all means give us a call.  We show new construction homes (and model homes) every month to prospective buyers and can help you with the new build process.

3) Buyers don’t pay for this professional assistance, as builders have co-operating broker referral fees for them.  So why not take advantage of this “free” help?

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage


Experienced professional service and lower listing fees*

* not intended to solicit existing listings


Residential prices dip in to negative territory in October

Ottawa real estate residential prices showed a 3.2 % decrease in the average price of properties sold in October, compared to Oct 2013.  While one month does not make a trend, it is only the 2nd time this year that average selling prices in a month have been lower than the previous year. (the other month was July)  Quite likely the weight of listing inventory fuelled the price drop, as many sellers chose to compromise on price to get deals done.  This helped push the # of unit sales up slightly for residential homes by 5.6% for the month, although MLS® condo unit sales were down 8.1%.

Listing inventory, competition and seller motivation:
The principal reasons for the resale average price decrease is that excess listing inventory and builder incentives are creating significant competitive pressure on sellers.  Residential listing inventory at the end of October remains 36.1% higher than the 5 year average and condo inventory is 62.7% higher. (vs end Oct 2009-2013)

Another statistic that clearly emphasizes the problem is that residential listing inventory is almost exactly double what it was at the end of Oct 2009 when we had a seller’s market (average prices increased 13.3% during that month!) and a comparable level of unit sales. This is almost 3,000 more listings now than then!

Sellers with a high selling motivation or who had been listed for an extended period most likely made price concessions to secure deals before the slower winter selling season.  (Nov-Feb are the 4 slowest months of the year in Ottawa real estate with unit sales 50%-66.6% lower than the peak selling months in the spring and summer. See table below)

What can we expect this winter?
With the current listing inventory excess, we would expect to see a strongly competitive market, unless sellers quit the market en masse to relist in the spring which is unlikely to happen.  Our expectation is that prices will stay flat or in slightly negative territory as sellers compete for available buyers.  This should also continue to maintain unit sales levels in positive territory.

On the plus side:
Underlying demand and activity seems pretty solid and it would only take a few hundred extra sales monthly which would turn those sellers in to buyers and thus push the whole market in to more positive territory.

We are hoping that the Federal Government eases budget restraints somewhat in the coming election year and personnel relocations (especially DND) can return to more historical levels.

What we see from the “inside”:
Our real estate market has been slowly changing over the last two years from what was a long time “seller’s market” to what can now be described as more of a “buyer’s market”.  Many homeowners and ultimately sellers have been surprised and disappointed by their current market listing experience and the length of time it is taking to find a buyer.  The single most common issue is overpricing for this market.  Many factors cause this over pricing and we have noted a few of these in a couple of recent blogposts:



We are happy to discuss your 2015 plans for buying and selling if you are not already working with another real estate professional.  It is never too early to plan and prepare for success!

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage

Boutique brokerage services and lower commissions for you!*

* not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements

When is the best time to sell?

A tougher market environment for most sellers continues in Ottawa, based on October 2014 results from the Ottawa Real Estate Board.  While there appears to be reasonable activity and underlying demand, the large excess inventory situation is making the resale market very competitive.  Good for buyers but not so good for many sellers.

A key question many buyers and sellers ask is" "when is the best time to buy or sell?"  This is of course determined by individual buyer and seller circumstances but in looking at the unit sales history below, one can see how much stronger sales are in the peak spring and summer seasons.

See the table below with historical sales transactions by month: (combined residential and condo sales from Ottawa Real Estate Board published results:






















































* not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements. 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage


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