Ottawa housing market on ‘steady upward trajectory’ as prices rise 14% since end of 2022: OREB

Home for sale
Home for sale

Ottawa house prices have jumped nearly 14 per cent since the end of 2022, pushing the city back into “seller’s market territory,” the president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board said Wednesday.

While April’s average sale price of $747,123 for a freehold-class property was down 10 per cent year-over-year, it was up five per cent from the previous month, OREB said. It marked the fourth consecutive month that average prices have risen since the market bottomed out in December.

The trend was similar in the condominium market. Last month’s average condo price of $435,875 was eight per cent lower than a year earlier but four per cent above the average price in March.

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OREB members sold 1,488 residential properties last month – down 21 per cent from April 2022, when the market was riding a hot streak, but up nearly 25 per cent from March. The five-year average for April transactions is 1,739.

“Ottawa’s resale market is on a steady upward trajectory, narrowing the comparison gap to peak pandemic activity in 2022,” OREB president Ken Dekker said in a statement. “However, with new listings not keeping pace, the available housing stock is declining, and with less than two months of inventory – we’re back into seller’s market territory.”

New listings are down 25 per cent from a year ago, fuelling more competition between buyers who were too hesitant to buy homes earlier this year.

Pushing these buyers to the sidelines were eight consecutive interest rate hikes, which took a bite out of their borrowing power even as prices started to tumble. 

Their hesitance and those lower prices weighed on sellers too as many held off listing their homes because they wouldn’t fetch the big sums or bidding wars their neighbours had in 2021 and early 2022.

But real estate agents have started to see the market turn in recent months.

Dekker said “multiple-offer situations have returned to certain neighbourhoods” while the average number of days properties are on the market continues to decline, from 34 days in March to 27 days last month for freeholds and from 39 days to 33 days for condos.

New listings for April totalled 2,144, down from 2,843 a year ago and well below the five-year average of 2,575. 

“There continues to be low inventory in certain property classes and new product is coming to the market at a slower rate, which is affecting supply,” Dekker said.

Prices still remain below last year’s levels, however.

The average price of a freehold property in Ottawa is $718,633 through the first four months of 2023, down 13 per cent over the same period in 2022. Meanwhile, the average condo price of $421,722 is 10 per cent lower than a year ago.

OREB’s monthly update comes a week after the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said it expects home prices in the capital to fall in 2023. If the agency’s predictions hold true, it would mark the first time in nearly three decades that Ottawa house prices declined year-over-year.

– With additional reporting from the Canadian Press

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