Podcast: What triggered a record-breaking Ottawa real estate deal

A record-setting residential real estate deal takes centre stage in the latest episode of Behind the Headlines.

To hear the full podcast with OBJ publisher Michael Curran and editor David Sali, please watch the video above. Prefer an audio version of this podcast? Listen to it on SoundCloud or Spotify.

MC: We know the business audience likes big numbers, and this is a big number: a quarter of a billion dollars. This is a three-building rental apartment complex in Westboro, and it sold for $267 million. We think it’s the largest residential real estate deal in Ottawa history. Dave, tell us about it.

DS: CBRE brokered this historic deal. It actually took three of their offices – Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal – working together to get this deal done. That’s how big it was. The buyer is Homestead Land Holdings out of Kingston. They already own a couple of dozen properties in Ottawa along with dozens more across the province. As Nico Zentil of CBRE’s Ottawa office told me, it is just very rare that you would see a property of this scale ever come on the market in Ottawa because we have a pretty tightly controlled market here. This is part of Homestead’s play to expand its footprint here – they also recently filed an application to build a 25-storey apartment tower with 235 units near Baseline and Greenbank. Clearly, they’re wanting to go big in what they think is going to be a big bounceback for the Ottawa rental market. Zentil said the properties were hotly pursued and got multiple bidders. That’s a testament to the strength of the Ottawa residential market right now.

As you know, last year wasn’t great for the rental market in Ottawa. With the pandemic, two big groups that are normally pretty steady, reliable renters – students and new immigrants – well, there weren’t many of those coming to the capital last year, so that caused a little bit of a dip in the rental market for sure. But the general consensus seems to be that things are ready to bounce back.