Ottawa’s tightening housing market pushing homebuyers into condos: OREB

Houses priced below $300,000 quickly disappearing from market
housing

Housing costs in Ottawa may be relatively affordable compared to other Canadian cities, but rising house prices are pushing more and more entry level homebuyers into the condo market, according to the local real estate board.

The number of single-family homes priced below $300,000 in the nation’s capital has plummeted in 2018, the Ottawa Real Estate Board said in a report this week.

In the first half of the year, sales of houses priced between $250,000 and $275,000 fell 37 per cent, according to OREB figures. Similarly, sales of houses in the $275,000 to $300,000 range dropped 41 per cent.

But at the same time, condo sales in those two price ranges rose 49 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.

“This suggests that at the lower end of the single-family resale market, buyers are turning towards condominium units as a way of achieving ownership at a price they can afford,” OREB president Ralph Shaw said in a statement. “The oversupply in our condo market that once was an issue is now helping to ease our overall inventory shortage.”

That shortage is reflected in the decreasing number of days properties are spending on the market. For houses, it’s decreased 18 per cent, from 46 days during the first half of 2017 to 37 days during the same time period this year. The average number of days condos spend on the market has fallen 27 per cent, from 71 days to 52.

“The decrease … indicates that inventory is turning over much more quickly, likely due to the lack of available inventory in certain areas of Ottawa,” Shaw stated.

OREB members sold 2,070 properties in June, a decrease of 4.3 per cent year-over-year. That’s still above the five-year average for June sales of 1,914 properties.

Average house resale prices rose to $449,200, a year-over-year increase of 3.4 per cent, while average condo prices were up 1.2 per cent to $293,303.