Ottawa condo sales soar in September amid tight housing market

Real estate

As Ottawa housing prices continue to accelerate, the head of the local real estate board says many first-time buyers are now effectively faced with two choices: Living in one of Ottawa’s outlying communities – “driving until they qualify” – or purchasing a condo.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board says the average house price jumped 7.9 per cent year-over-year to $449,613 in September. Condo prices climbed at a similar pace, increasing 7.6 per cent to an average of $282,781.

“We continue to experience supply-side issues going into our fall market,” said OREB president Ralph Shaw in a statement. “A lack of supply is putting an upward pressure on prices in some areas.”

Ottawa’s low rental vacancy rate, coupled with a strong labour market, is pushing more residents into the housing market and increasing demand.

OREB members sold 1,393 homes last month, an increase of 0.7 per cent from September 2017. Shaw said the increase would have been higher if there were more homes on the market.

House sales actually declined by 2.5 per cent, while condo sales jumped 11.9 per cent, year-over-year.

Shaw suggested that the strengthening condo market could spur some developers to kickstart some previously shelved projects.