New Ottawa home sales rise 58% in March as pent-up demand drives market: GOHBA

New home sales stock image

New home sales continue to rise in the National Capital Region compared with a year ago, the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association says.

A total of 313 new homes were sold in the city last month, according to the latest data compiled by PMA Brethour Realty Group in partnership with the GOHBA. That’s up from 198 sales in March 2023, an increase of 58 per cent.

Some 872 new homes have been sold in the city since the start of 2024, an 84 per cent jump from the first three months of last year but well below the 1,756 sales recorded in the first quarter of 2022.

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GOHBA executive director Jason Burggraaf called the year-over-year increase a “terrific sign” for the local housing market.

“It feels like consumer confidence is improving, and that the pent-up demand from last year is starting to be seen in sales centres,” Burggraaf said in a news release on Friday.

The market appears to be regaining momentum after new home sales in Ottawa fell nearly 50 per cent over the past two years.

Earlier this year, Burggraaf told OBJ higher interest rates and rising inflation eroded consumer confidence and buying power, leading to a significant drop in sales.

In 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered massive supply-chain disruptions that drove up the price of materials, Ottawa homebuyers purchased 6,315 new single-detached homes, condominiums and townhomes.

New home sales dropped to 5,928 in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, and fell further the following year before plummeting in 2022, when the Bank of Canada began a series of hikes that saw its benchmark interest rate jump from 0.25 per cent to five per cent, the highest level since 2001.

Housing starts have also declined over the past couple of years as construction costs have soared and financing new projects has become more expensive, Burggraaf noted.

The south end continues to be the most popular part of the city for homebuyers, accounting for 40 per cent of last month’s sales. The west end was next at 36 per cent, followed by the east end at about 17 per cent and central Ottawa at six per cent.

Townhomes represented 53 per cent of total sales in March, followed by single homes at 28 per cent, condo townhomes at 18 per cent and condo apartments at one per cent.

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