High demand keeps Ottawa market humming towards 2018

A low supply of houses and continuing demand made for a busy start to the fall, and will likely keep Ottawa’s real estate market steady going into the New Year.

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,243 homes through the Multiple Listing Service system in October (261 condos and 982 residential House_with_Scarf.jpgproperties), compared with 1,214 in October 2016, for an increase of 2.3 per cent. The number of sales from January to October 31 were 9.1 per cent higher this year than last year, with 15,080 properties being sold during this period in 2017 versus 13,821 in 2016.

On another positive note, observes Patrick, “The average number of days on market has continued to fall for both residential and condominium properties. There’s still a lot of demand left over from the summer because of the shortage of inventory. Good homes in popular areas are still selling quickly.” Although the overall market is balanced (meaning there is a buyer out there for every home), some neighbourhoods are edging towards a seller’s market.

The average number of days on market for residential properties (for the period from January to October 31) fell more than 20 per cent from 2016 to 2017, dropping from 84 days to 67. For condo properties over the same period, the average number of days on market fell 5.8 per cent, from 108 days to 102 days (see chart below).

The most active price range for residential property sales continues to be between $300,000 and $499,999, accounting for more than half of residential property sales. For condos, the most active price point was between $175,000 and $249,999.

YTD_Chart.JPGThe average sale price for both residential and condo properties has increased year on year (January to October 31). The average residential sale price rose to $425,154—an increase of 7.3 per cent over 2016—while the average sale price for condos rose to $272,076, an increase of 4.9 per cent over last year. Though average sale price shouldn’t be used as an indicator for specific properties, it can be useful for establishing trends over time.

Given Ottawa’s robust employment market and overall affordable housing, the real estate market is set to be steady in the final days of 2017, says Patrick. 

ASK PATRICK

Question: What do I need to know about fixtures and chattels?

You’d think it would be easy to tell the difference between a fixture and a chattel, Chattel-or-Fixture.pngand it is—mostly. Typically, anything that is permanently attached to the property (i.e., screwed, glued, bolted down, and the like) is considered a fixture, and can be expected to come with the property, unless stated otherwise in the purchase agreement. Examples include garden sheds, satellite dishes and, yes, the “throne.” Conversely, chattels are items not physically attached to the property, including freestanding major appliances, draperies, and furniture pieces. Some items could really fall into either camp—such as flat-screen TVs fixed to the wall with brackets and wired into the system.

It is important that all parties in a real estate transaction make it clear what items are to be included in the sale and what items will be excluded.

Two important points: make sure your purchase agreement includes a warranty clause, and always check fixtures and chattels for proper operation as soon as you gain possession. If anything is on the fritz, the seller may be held responsible for any repair or replacement, per the warranty clause.

HOMEBUYING TIPS:

If you are ready to start your journey into home ownership, here are 14 tips to help you get started:

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  • Have a wish list for the kind of home and neighbourhood you want to live in.
  • No house or condo is going to be perfect, but if you do come across hot property that meets your criteria, move fast or you might lose it.
  • Brand-new condos tend to be smaller than older units.
  • Seek out condo buildings with a high percentage of owners. They tend to be more diligently looked after.
  • Make time for a second visit to a property you like, to make sure the facts back up your feelings.
  • A home inspection is a wise investment, especially if you are buying an aging or older house. The home inspector will uncover any issues with structure, plumbing, fixtures, and critical systems, such as electrical wiring.
  • Secure your home loan in advance so you can nab your dream property when you find it.
  • You should be able to afford a mortgage three times your income, bearing in mind that lenders subtract any debt payment from your income.
  • Set aside money for closing costs, such as the land transfer tax (see above) and legal fees, which typically amount to around two per cent of the purchase price.
  • When in doubt, walk away.
  • Before you make an offer, find out what other homes in the area have sold for (and when), and what amenities they have. Having a real estate expert on side is key.
  • The market determines the value of a house—not your ability to pay for it.
  • When negotiating, it is vital to be prepared, and be realistic. Make an offer as low as you can without insulting the sellers. Buyers often think they’ll end up with a better price on a house by starting with a low offer, but that’s not usually true.
  • Enlist the experts to help you find your dream home.

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Need help selling your home or finding the perfect house?

With over 40 years experience, we’ve assisted thousands of Sellers and Buyers with their real estate and relocation needs. You can rely on our intimate market knowledge and professional service. Let us help you. 

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