Ottawa’s affordable market attracting millennials and entrepreneurs

Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by Nancy Benson of RE/MAX Hallmark Realty.

The trend is certainly noticeable as the prices in Ottawa have started to increase. I’ve helped a number of clients moving to Ottawa from abroad and from other parts of Canada and the United States as they find Ottawa a very affordable city and notably a “green” city. 

HouseSo I wasn’t surprised at the news in late February of a new study showing that Ottawa has become the top destination of millennials from other parts of Canada who have decided to make Ottawa home.

I also wasn’t surprised to read that affordable housing and the stable job market in Ottawa were cited by researchers as the prime reasons for the trend.

The study, by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, reported that between 2018 and 2019, Ottawa saw a net gain of 3,099 millennials (the generation ranging in age from about 25 to 39).

In media interviews, a senior researcher from the Ryerson study said the two big factors that drew these residents were housing affordability and Ottawa’s reliably low unemployment rate.

If you missed the other news that backs up this report, the City of Ottawa announced last June that it had officially passed the 1 million population mark, meaning Ottawa now joins the ranks of Montreal, Toronto and Calgary. Our population has been growing by about 28 people each day, the City reported, and the number of people moving to Ottawa is larger than the number of people moving away.

RealtorAs a Realtor in Ottawa for more than 30 years who has watched our city grow and diversify, I’m delighted that a wide range of Canadians and foreign investors are discovering the attractions of our city as a place to settle, build a career and buy property. 

It’s particularly gratifying when I help clients who have moved from Toronto or Vancouver, where real estate prices are double or more what they are in Ottawa. I love to watch their excitement when I show them properties they tell me they could not have dreamed of affording in either of those cities.

While Ottawa prices have been rising steadily in recent years, average prices still make it much easier than in Toronto or Vancouver for first-time buyers to enter the market rather than rent. 

Consider that in 2019, average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Ottawa’s downtown core was nearly $1,800. Renting that apartment over two years, you would pay more than $43,000 to a landlord.

In 2019, the average sale price of a condominium unit in Ottawa was $304,203. If you’re a qualified buyer considering a $300,000 apartment, it could be yours with as little as $15,000 in down payment and less if you consider an insured mortgage. 

The average sale price of a residential home in Ottawa in 2019, meanwhile, was $486,590. 

If you were considering a $480,000 house, with the minimum required five per cent down payment of $24,000, you could enter Ottawa’s real estate market and start contributing to your own financial future. You’d be lucky in Toronto to find a tiny condo unit for that price.

UmbrellaClients of mine who entered the Ottawa market a year or two ago have already seen an increase in their investment and are now building equity for their future. In some cases their properties have increased some 10-18 per cent in this short time frame which is much more than they would have gained in other investments in their portfolios. 

Average sale prices of condo units and residential-class homes in 2019 were up 9.3 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively. 

Between 2018 and 2019, more than 20 of the 46 real estate districts in our region saw average price increases in excess of 10 per cent.

If you’re interested in buying property in the Ottawa area, I’d love to meet and chat about the current market and conditions in the neighbourhoods that interest you. 

If you are considering selling, it’s a great time to list, as inventory in Ottawa has been lower than usual for much of the past year. New listings receive a lot of attention from buyers and their agents, and properties are selling faster than they did a year ago. 

With more than three decades of experience, I’ve helped buyers and sellers in Ottawa in a wide range of market conditions.

You can read more about me at www.nancybenson.com

Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.

Nancy

Nancy operates a full-service office at RE/MAX Hallmark Realty and specializes in unique homes in the most desirable neighbourhoods of Ottawa. Whether you're buying, selling, acquiring an investment or a secondary home, we have a system that will work for you.