Despite Lower Sales in December, Ottawa Real Estate Market Ends 2018 On a High Note

Thanks to great employment rates and continued affordability, 2018 was a year of steady growth. Despite the mortgage stress test of January 2018 contributing to lower inventory and more hurdles, particularly for first-time homeowners, over 17,000 happy homeowners found their dream properties.

When looking at the monthly statistics, we still finished strong despite a lower number of sales than December 2017.

Here are the December 2018 numbers:

  • Total number of units sold: 663 – a decrease of 13.3% from 765 in December 2017.

Here are the specifics of each property class:

  • Number of residential-class properties sold: 471 – down approximately 16% from 566 in December 2018.
  • Average sale price of a residential-class property: $453,011 – up 4.3% from $434,098 in December 2017.
  • Number of condominium-class properties sold: 192 – down 5.2% from 205 in 2017.
  • Average sale price of a condominium-class property: $278,295 – up 8.9% from $255,335 from December 2017.

Ottawa’s 2018 Real Estate Facts and Figures

The Ottawa real estate market saw a 2.4% growth in number of sales (both residential and condo-class) in 2018. Agents in the city sold 17,476 properties, compared to 17,083 in 2017.

Breaking it down, residential-class property sales decreased slightly (0.4%) to 13,418 from 13,478 in 2017, while condominium-class property sales were up 13.1% with 4,058 units sold in 2018 versus 3,587 sold in 2017.

2018 yearly stats

“What has come to a head in 2018 is the overall shortage of inventory which is extreme in certain pockets of the city,” explains Ralph Shaw, Ontario Real Estate Board President. While not conducive to significant growth in the residential, single-family home market, the lower inventory did spur on condo sales, which were a huge part of the real estate market’s success in 2018.

“We have been predicting this will bode well for new construction in delayed high-rise projects,” Shaw says.

One of the reasons inventory was low this year was the 2018 mortgage stress test. This was a “significant factor affecting the market in 2018, and first-time homebuyers in particular,” Shaw says.

The stress test, an attempt by the federal government to cool two major markets (Toronto and Vancouver) unfortunately made buyers less likely – and able – to upgrade to larger family homes, thereby freeing up entry-level options.

The stress test and low inventory weren’t ideal – but Ottawa is a consistent market that is based on strong employment and affordability.

“For the last decade, we have experienced steady growth in our real estate market from volume to prices,” Shaw says. “ The past two years have jumped significantly in activity with a 12.6% increase in unit sales from 2016.”

What Will Happen in 2019?

It wouldn’t be a new year without a few predictions about the market conditions in the coming months. Shaw was happy to oblige.

“In 2019, we expect the economic fundamentals of supply and demand to be at play with upward pressure on prices due to limited supply and increasing demand,” Shaw explains. It is expected that buyers will have to make compromises on either price or location.

It is also expected that newer homes will be more widely considered. “New builds and purpose-built rental housing could help ease some of the pressure, particularly if builders are able to provide a variety of quality options allowing for more movement in the market,” Shaw concludes.

Get Listed for the Spring Market – It’s Already Started

The spring market is already underway. There are buyers all over the city looking for a home like the one you’re thinking of selling.

Talk to one of our team members, and we can help you with every step of the listing process, including marketing, showings, and negotiations.We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to make your home sale a resounding success.

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