Ottawa Housing Market Set to Remain Stagnant as Forecasted

As Ottawa (along with the rest of the country) gears up for a federal election this fall, its real estate market is likely to remain low-key, like our Donald-Trump-free election campaigns.

“It’s still a stagnant market, as the CMHC predicted last fall,” observes Patrick Morris. “The number of property sales has been flat compared with last year. On the other hand, the inventory has really increased.” For instance, in July 2015, members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,165 residential properties—versus 1,179 residential sales in July 2014—but the number of homes on the market has increased 8.7 per cent.

“Compared with five years ago, the number of residential houses for sale is up 37 per cent (see chart below),” adds Patrick. “Although the number of sales hasn’t increased that much year to year, the inventory has really climbed. I’m sure consumers have noticed the proliferation of ‘For Sale’ signs in all the different neighbourhoods. The market is still active, and people are still buying and selling, but not in the same numbers and not as quickly as a few years ago.”

The average number of days it takes to sell has gone up for houses (see red box*). This year, it’s taking 50 days to sell the average house, while it took 34 days in 2011. “That’s a 47 per cent increase,” notes Patrick. “It’s just taking a lot longer to sell properties.”

The condominium market is especially tough for sellers, given the vast supply of new condominiums. For the period of January 1 to July 31 this year, the number of condos sold is down three per cent versus the same period in 2014. It’s also taking longer to sell condominium properties. “If you look at the cumulative days on market, this year it’s taking 97 days to sell the average condo compared with 85 days last year,” notes Patrick.

Five_Year_Review_Graph.JPG

Average_DOM.JPG

*NOTE: These figures do not take into account properties that have been relisted on MLS more than once.

The average sale price of a house was $394,889 in July, while the average price of a condo was $255,102. Houses between $300,000 and $400,000 were the most popular, followed by those in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, and next the category between $400,000 and $500,000. 

Year to date, the average residential home price has gone up 2.2 per cent over the same period last year. However, Patrick cautions, “you have to be careful, because the majority of the sales—54 per cent—were between $300,000 and $500,000. That really skews the total numbers. If you have over half of all your unit sales residentially between 300K and 500K, there’s not much left for all the other price ranges.”4,889 in July, while the average price of a condo was $255,102. Houses between $300,000 and $400,000 were the most popular, followed by those in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, and next the category between $400,000 and $500,000.

Even if the upcoming vote turns out to be more gripping than usual, Patrick doesn’t foresee anything major happening in Ottawa’s real estate market during the election. “Anytime there’s a federal election,” he concludes, “it’s not an overly exciting market.

ASK PATRICK

Should I sell in the fall, or leave it till spring?

Maximize Curb Appeal

The outside of your home should draw people in. Neatly trimmed hedges, raked and weeded lawns, and mulched garden beds all help make that crucial first impression. Add colour with freshly painted front doors, new mailboxes and house numbers, and seasonal flowers and plants. These are easy ways to create maximum impact without breaking the bank.

Potential buyers will make an instant judgement when they see your home; you want to be sure it’s positive.

Clean Up

Rain and wind during the summer can make your windows dusty and streaked by autumn. You might not notice smudges, but buyers will, if only subconsciously. Make your windows sparkle to help sell your home.

6b48d__living-room-with-orange-tan-and-white-accents.jpg

Remember to wash the windows inside as well as out, as pets routinely rub their little noses on the inside glass while walking along window ledges. Remove screens and spray them down.

Ensure walkways and gutters are free of leaves and debris.

Wash down decks.

Ensure your doorway and the rest of the house are clear of knickknacks, bicycles and toys that make your home appear cluttered.

Let There Be Light

Keep in mind that in the fall selling season, the days get shorter. Plenty of buyers will want to look at homes after work, when it will have already become dark outside. Presentation is everything when selling real estate. You don’t want a buyer walking into a dark, unlit home. Turn on an abundance of lights both inside and out. Make sure your walkways and any exterior entertainment areas are well lit.

Keep the House Cozy

A cold house could leave an unfavorable impression. Make buyers forget the cold outside by warming up the interiors and giving your place a homey, cozy look. Set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature.

orangetowels.jpg

Always be Ready to Show

Your house needs to be “show ready” at all times. You never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. Keep your house in tip-top shape. Clear away the dishes, make the bathrooms sparkle, and send those dust bunnies packing. The extra maintenance will be a little inconvenient, but it will help get your home sold.

Display Photos from Warmer Days

Put spring and summer photos of the home’s exterior online, and display them during showings. Allow potential buyers to see what the beautiful flower beds and garden around your property look like on warmer days.