Ottawa's housing supply "continues to remain scarce"

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The capital’s red-hot resale housing market showed more signs of cooling in August as sales were down more than 20 per cent compared with a year earlier and skyrocketing prices continued to level off, the latest figures show.

A total of 1,572 residential properties changed hands last month, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. That’s down from the 2,006 sales recorded in July 2020 and below the five-year average of 1,684.

August’s average sale price for a condominium was $407,148, up six per cent from last year, while the average price for a residential property was $674,449, an increase of 14 per cent from a year ago. 

That’s in contrast to earlier in 2021 when prices were rising more than 30 per cent year-over-year. Last month, homes in both classes rose by an average of 17 per cent. 

It’s also the second month in a row that overall sales were down compared with 2020. 

OREB president Deb Wright said August’s transaction totals were on par with sales in 2017 and 2018, adding that last summer’s sizzling stats were somewhat of an anomaly because COVID-related business shutdowns in the spring shifted the market’s peak to later in the year.

Year-to-date prices of residential-class properties are still up 27 per cent compared to 2020, while the average condo price has jumped 18 per cent over last year, Wright said.

“Supply continues to remain scarce, and that is the driving factor behind these price increases,” she said in a statement, noting that new listings were down 500 units compared with August 2020 and below the five-year average.

While the city’s overall housing inventory is about five per cent higher than it was a year ago, the city has only about a one-and-a-half month supply, Wright said. 

“To achieve a balanced market, we need 4-6.5 months’ supply of inventory,” she added.