7 Trends Shaping the Ottawa Real Estate Market in Spring 2017

couple buying new home

As you may have read, the spring real estate market is off to an early start and is hotter than last year.

We’ve had the second most powerful March than in any year since 2010. Sales volume – the number of properties sold – is up 28%. Home prices in Ottawa have even climbed a bit with the average sale price up 5.3%. You can read the details here.

All told, it’s bringing the former buyer’s market back into balance. It’s not a seller’s market – yet – but things look pretty fair to both buyers and sellers.

So why is the market in Ottawa doing so well this year? And what kinds of homes are people looking for?

Here are some factors influencing this year’s market.

1. Stable Government Employment in Ottawa

Underpinning the consumer confidence in Ottawa is the job stability in the area.

The federal Liberal government has been hiring, and when large numbers of people are confident about staying employed, they’re more likely to buy their first home, or upgrade to a better home.

Good job levels in the government sector have a big effect on other businesses in the area too, and they in turn also need to hire.

2. Weather

Fewer people are prepared to run around and look at houses when there’s snow on the ground. As soon as it warms up, everyone starts looking.

We saw an early spring this year, with a major thaw in February, and a wet but mild March. It was just warm enough to get people thinking about spring and looking for a new house.

3. People Fleeing the Toronto Market

Toronto, like Vancouver, is seeing some huge growth due in part to foreign investment. The prices of homes in Toronto, whether residential or condos, are larger than ever.

While we’re not seeing anything like that here in Ottawa, the Toronto market does have an indirect affect on us.

That’s because some Torontonians are moving to Ottawa if they can. They sell their homes in the GTA for a lot of money, move to Ottawa, and have money for a new home and often an investment property or two as well.

This all adds up to higher demand for homes in the nation’s capital.

4. Lower Inventory

About 2,000 fewer homes on the market this year and other years previously. If you were buying last year, you had much more choice.

While not exactly a seller’s market yet, we’re very balanced. But this does amount to more competition for the most in-demand houses, which can mean faster sales and slightly higher prices for those properties.

5. Good Rental Market

Again, because of good employment numbers, there are lots of people looking to rent homes in areas with good transit service and nearby amenities.

This makes investment properties in these areas more attractive to buyers, as they can charge enough rent to cover costs and make a little bit on the side.

6. Infrastructure Spending in Ottawa

The construction is well under way along the future light rail corridor, with the two lines connecting in the Bayview/Tunney’s pasture area. Properties in the surrounding neighbourhoods are being bought up almost as soon as they hit the market.

While this isn’t the only desirable neighbourhood in the city, it is a hot one. You can read more about the top neighbourhoods in Ottawa here.

7. Love of Low Maintenance and Walkability

Millennials are the biggest population segment in Canada (there’s more of them than there are Baby Boomers). But both of these groups are both looking for similar types of properties.

Millennials don’t want to be tied down to a home where they have to do a lot of renovating or yard work. They want a low-maintenance home that looks good and will allow them to focus on other things. Boomers, who are entering their retirement years, are also downsizing and focusing more on staying active.

Both groups hate spending time in cars or looking for parking. They want to walk to cool places like coffee shops, restaurants and other great places. If possible they want to walk to work as well.

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