Ottawa Real Estate Board members sold 1,586 residential properties in August through the board’s Multiple Listing Service, compared with 1,535 in August 2017— an increase of 3.3 per cent. The five-year average for August sales is 1,417.
“We had a very good summer in the real estate board residentially and in the condo sector,” observes Patrick Morris. “We’ve noticed a pretty consistent distribution of the style of homes sold, as far as residential properties go.
“A lot of buyers and agents have had the perception that most of the market is in the town house price range, and that’s a yes and a no. The number of town homes that have sold year-to-date in 2018 represents the same proportion of town homes sold last year over the same period. This year, perception is not reality.” The situation is similar for semi-detached homes and detached homes, he adds. “Detached homes last year represented about two-thirds of the total number of residential properties sold. The same applies this year.”
While the number of residential property sales during the month of August didn’t change much from 2017 to 2018, the number of condo sales jumped 10.9 per cent, to 398.
Overall, the condo market is faring much better than it has over the past few years, but is not completely out of the woods, says Patrick. “Year to date, the number of condo sales is up 15.5 per cent in 2018 compared with last year. When you’ve had such an increase in the number of sales, one would expect that the average price would rise proportionally. It hasn’t. The average condo price has only increased 1.8 per cent.”
On the other hand, the number of residential home sales year to date increased marginally by 0.6 per cent, but the average price increased five per cent, to $447,176. “The $300,000 to $500,000 price range continues to be very popular,” notes Patrick. “It’s the most affordable price range, and it represents about half of total sales. It’s huge in the residential market.”
Within the condo market, the most active price range this summer was between $175,000 and $274,900, accounting for around half of all sales.
Property listings in both the condo and residential sectors are taking less time to sell this year than last. The absorption rate identifies how long it would take for all current listings to be absorbed in the market, i.e., how many months it would take to sell all listings if no new ones entered the market. The average number of days to sell residential properties this year is around two months—about 19 per cent lower than last year.
In the condo sector, the absorption rate dropped 31 per cent year to date. “But it’s still taking 71 days, on average, to sell any condo in Ottawa,” comments Patrick. He adds that it’s a common misconception in this active market that properties are selling within days. “The time it takes to sell depends on the neighbourhood, and the situation can even change from block to block.”
One caveat for the coming months is that the housing inventory continues to be low. “I think this trend is unfortunately going to continue for the next little while, until the condo builders decide to start to build a lot of the projects that have been put on hold over the last several years.”