The Ottawa real estate market has been improving steadily since spring 2016 and 2017 was probably the best year in a decade, with overall unit sales up 10.2% and prices up 6.8% for residential properties and 3.4% for condos.
The good news is Ottawa is still very affordable compared to many places across the country and one of its most stable markets.
Average selling prices 2017:
Detached single home: $ 451,306 +7.6%
Row townhome: $ 343,958 +4.9%
Semi-detached home: $ 420,042 +5.7%
Apartment condo: $ 298,537 + 3.7%
2 story town/condo: $ 230,141 + 2.9%
Tougher news for buyers will be listing availability in 2018 and definite upward pressure on prices, as listings have fallen to very low levels all across the city.
New listings were down 8.7% over the course of 2017 and that trend is worsening already in 2018 with new residential listings in January down 30% compared to the 5 year average. Overall listing levels are down 21.7% for residential listings at year end and 27% for condos.
With increasing numbers of sales and lower numbers of new listings, the supply-demand balance will be swinging even more in favour of sellers, so buyers will have to be very aggressive and prepared for a tough seller’s market.
Here’s some things to do to be ready to buy:
1) have your team in place, so you are 100% ready to buy: Realtor, mortgage broker, insurance broker, inspectors, lawyer. Make sure you and your spouse/partner are on the same page concerning priority level of housing features.
2) know your financial plan and pre-qualification levels before even looking at a property. Know whether you will need a property appraisal and if the new 2% qualification threshold applies to your file. Understand home operating and utility costs, as this may vary from your existing geographic location. For example: property taxes may be higher or lower and ditto for heating, electrical or water costs. Ottawa has much higher property taxes than Toronto per $ of assessment, for example and we also have rental hot water heaters which those from out of Ontario may not know.
3) have a realistic target of home by type, area, features and price and narrow that as quickly as possible. No sense chasing rainbows in a tough market for buyers. Wishing you can get the $525K house for $475K will not make it so.
4) have a plan for multiple offers. Well priced new listings will be attracting multiple offers, so discuss your position in advance with your Realtor.
5) consider builder quick occupancy inventory, as many builders are building some homes on spec to be available for peak delivery months ie summer.
6) search online for exclusive listings and other non MLS® posted properties. Many are “trying” listings out on 3rd party sites and social media before posting on MLS®, so you may find listings on social media groups or via search engine alerts.
7) drive through your geographic areas regularly (if possible) to look for new lawn signs popping up. New ones may have toppers that say: “coming soon” or “exclusive” listing. These may be good choices if you can find them before other buyers. The fragmentation of listings from the central MLS® system makes it difficult for buyer agents to stay on top of all new listings appearing in your areas of interest and one cannot be satisfied that electronic means will be sufficient in getting you in to see the hot new listings, before other buyers.
If we can assist with your Ottawa purchase plans this year or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to call 613-435-4692
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record and Principal Broker
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage