We recently chatted with Paul Rushforth (via video conference, of course) to find out how COVID-19 has changed local real estate trends and to hear his expert predictions for up and coming Ottawa neighbourhoods in 2021.
How Has COVID-19 Changed Real Estate Trends?
Here are some recent changes in why old and young alike are heading out of Ottawa and into the valley to find their next home. According to Paul, COVID-19 has reversed two major real estate trends.
First, before the pandemic, most people wanted to live close to their work. Now that working from home (WFH) is so prevalent and you won’t have to make that long commute, the less expensive rural Ottawa neighbourhoods become much more appealing.
Second, people are looking for big homes now, completely contrary to what we saw before COVID-19, when many buyers were downsizing. Millennials, in particular, were looking for properties with little upkeep, small space, and access to city life.
Paul points out, “3,500 square foot homes or 5 acres of land was a tough sale pre-pandemic. Now, there are people looking for it. Although the most popular properties selling right now are still townhomes and singles; we’re seeing a shift in people wanting more space.”
Once again, WFH is a major factor. If you have kids, escaping from your compact home to a larger one can potentially provide a private home office – with a door that closes.
There’s another advantage to a larger house that Paul mentions. Say you have an elderly parent. These days, you are likely to be looking to care for Mom or Dad at home rather than moving them to a seniors’ residence, where things are looking risky due to COVID-19. In those types of situations, having the extra square footage to make accommodations becomes necessary.
Third, many people are seeing themselves quickly being priced out of even a modest home in Metro Ottawa. Small towns or acreage in the Ottawa area can really provide some bang for your buck. Many of the areas listed below have walkable main streets and vibrant culture with civic pride.
If one or both of you are going to be working from home for the foreseeable future – perhaps 4 bedrooms and a detached garage on a half-acre doesn’t sound half bad!
One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is that Ottawa real estate prices are continuing to climb.
The Top Up-And-Coming Ottawa Valley Towns in 2021
Pre-COVID, buyers in Arnprior were all driving into Kanata to work. Now, we’re seeing a lot of new businesses popping up locally, as well as people working from home; so that long commute is often from a kitchen across the hall to a home office.
Arnprior offers a comfortable small-town vibe, combined with a lot of new builds. The average selling price is much cheaper than a top neighbourhood in central Ottawa. But still, it’s gone from $309,000 to $413,000 since September 2019. That’s over $100,000 gain!
Metcalfe doesn’t have the infrastructure that Arnprior does, but it’s still a great place to live, especially if you’re looking for acreage.
People moving to Metcalfe are mainly those looking for more open space and less urban congestion.
What Manotick offers is choice. This walkable village at the south edge of Ottawa is a small but diverse community, with lots of big homes, new builds, waterfront, and a mix of old and new properties.
Manotick has always been a popular neighbourhood and a good real estate investment, but COVID-19 is making it even more so.
People working from home this summer started wondering, “If I don’t have to commute to work every day, why not just live in my cottage in Westport?”
It makes sense. When you’re cooped up looking at the same four walls every day, you start craving land and waterfront … which Westport has in abundance.
The average sales price has gone up 24.8% from September 2019.
Carleton Place is perfect for either home workers or commuters. Only 20 minutes from Kanata, it’s a great alternative, offering historic charm, natural beauty, and a developing infrastructure. Carleton Place has been a robust market for quite a while, for everything from detached homes to condos, and is still reasonably priced.
The average sales price is currently $430,000.
Paul remarks, “This one really did surprise me. The Casselman/Rockland/Hawkesbury area has gone up 23.7%, to an average sales price just shy of $400,000!”
With the incredibly high prices of Orleans, these areas are a great second option in southeastern Ontario. There are tons of new buildings, providing buyers with plenty of opportunities.
Again, people are looking for a change of scenery. Casselman/Rockland/Hawkesbury has golf courses, waterfront, and open space to enjoy.
Get Help Choosing The Right Ottawa Neighbourhood
If you have been thinking of looking to see just how far your money can go just outside the City of Ottawa, don’t hesitate, prices are still climbing! Give us a call or click the chat box to talk to a live agent. We would be happy to connect you to current listings in any of the areas listed above.
Turn to Paul Rushforth Realty. Whether you’ll be buying, selling a home, or investing, our large team of qualified realtors know the market conditions across Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley.