‘Our new reality’: Higher Ottawa housing prices projected in 2020

OREB forecasts busy new year coming off strong December home sales in Ottawa
ottawa

A busy December for members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board is a sign of things to come in the new year, according to the organization's incoming president.

OREB members sold 761 properties in Ottawa last month, an increase of 15.3 per cent year-over-year. Condo sales especially picked up in December with 227 such properties changing hands, an increase of 18.8 per cent over last year.

The average sale price of a condo in the capital was $310,675 in December, an increase of 11.5 per cent year-over-year. Residential-class properties, meanwhile, checked in at an average price of $500,306 – up 10.3 per cent from December 2018.

Outgoing OREB president Dwight Delahunt said in a release that the last month of 2019 reflected a year-long pattern in the Ottawa market: namely, that demand continued to outstrip supply as inventory levels dwindle in Ottawa. That’s creating a tight market for buyers as properties are spending fewer and fewer days on the market, he said.

OREB member sold a total of 18,622 properties throughout 2019, an increase of 6.6 per cent over 2018. Residential-class properties hit an average sale price of $486,590 this past year while condos sold at an average of $304,203, representing year-over-year price hikes of 8.9 per cent and 9.3 per cent, respectively.

“2019 was a record-breaker in both the number of sales as well as average prices, with the residential property class reaching $500,000 in several months during the year,” Delahunt said in a statement, adding that Ottawa’s real estate market nevertheless remains one of the most “affordable and sustainable in the country.”

Deborah Burgoyne will replace Delahunt as OREB president in 2020. She said in a release that she expects the Ottawa real estate market will exhibit similar trends in the year ahead.

“Supply issues will surely persist into 2020, and I don’t expect the inventory will be able to recover in the near future,” she said.

Burgoyne did note that local builders’ recent tendencies towards luxury rental units might remove some pressure from the market as boomers could opt for a change in lifestyle from home ownership. She cautioned that even with new supply, home prices are likely to remain elevated across various neighbourhoods for the foreseeable future.

“This is our new reality,” she said.