Ottawa Real Estate Market Picks Up Steam as Summer Arrives

The Ottawa real estate market continues to gather momentum heading into the summer, with the number of sales picking up and the inventory of homes for sale declining.

“We’re doing much better this year, year to date, than we did last year,” observes Patrick Morris. “The number of sales is up, and the inventory is down between 10 and 12 per cent, depending on location. This is creating a nice, balanced market in most price ranges.”

He cautions, however, that “in some of the price ranges, there are homes where it’s still a buyer’s market. Homes that require a lot of updating are taking much longer to sell; they may not even sell within 90 days.”


Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,985 properties through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in June, exceeding May sales figures by 64 properties and besting the five-year average for June sales by 268 properties. Of the 1,985 units sold, 1,654 were residen­tial properties and 331 were condominiums. The most popular price range for homes sold in June was between $300,000 and $400,000, followed by the $400,000 to $500,000 range.

The absorption rate continued to move in the right direction for residential properties. Absorption rate is a key market indicator that gives an idea of the relationship between housing inventories and sales—specifically, how long it could take for all current listings to be absorbed in the market.MarketWatch_Summer_2016_charts.jpg

Put another way, the ratio shows how many months it will take to sell all listings without any new listings entering the market. In June 2016, it would take 3.5 months to sell all listed residential properties based on the number of sales that month; in June 2015, it would have taken 4.7 months.

It is taking considerably longer to sell condominium properties, which had an absorption rate of 6.0 for June, but there was a respectable increase in the number of sales this year to date compared with the first half of 2015. On another positive note, the inventory of condos available for sale—which has been high—dropped 9.4 per cent in June compared to this time last year.

The Ottawa market is likely to maintain a consistent number of sales for the year, says Patrick, with the caveat that interest rates could go up. “Economists have been predicting for about 10 years now that interest rates are going to go up,” he says. “We have yet to see it. All indicators are that interest rates will remain similar for the balance of the year.”

And so, Ottawa’s market enters the summer “steady as she goes,” concludes Patrick.

How NOT to Repair or Remodel Your Home

Getting the keys to a new home is exciting, and new homeowners will no doubt have visions of how to make the place their own. While there is plenty of inspiration to be had in home magazines and TV makeover shows, it’s important for homeowners to find out how the job is really done before diving into the remodelling or repair process.


Avoid these common mistakes:

Mistake #1: Completing work without a building permit.

If you are considering structural work, always check with the municipal building office to see if a building permit is required. Skipping this step can affect the resale value of your home and the time it takes to sell it. Worse, you could be asked to take down and remove the structure at your expense.

Mistake #2: Doing the work of skilled tradespeople.

For all of us, there are tasks best left to the professionals. Rely on recommendations for tradespeople from friends and associates. Always agree on a set price before work begins. Make sure tradespeople have the necessary qualifications!

Mistake #3: Not researching the proper technique and materials. There is a right way and a wrong way to approach every project. Find how-to resources on the Internet or at your local library and bookstore; alternatively, consider having a few quotations from professional outfits to better understand the scope of your project.

You can get immense satisfaction when you challenge yourself to gain new do-it-yourself skills. But learning and understanding the best practices will make DIY projects all the more rewarding. Best of all, you will preserve the value of your home.


Homes will become smarter, more accessible, and more sustainable over the next 10 years, according to more than 500 residential architects who completed the American Institute of Architecture’s latest home design trends survey. It’s not just technological progress driving these changes, but economic and demographic shifts, including an ageing Boomer population and the large generation of Millennials trying to get a foothold in the property market.

Smarter, more efficient homes: Emerging technologies such as automated lighting systems and thermostat controls will be more Smart_Home_Graphic.jpgwidespread, making the home environment more comfortable and increasing energy efficiency through products such as motion-sensor-activated lights. Water conservation devices will be ever more important, as will renewable energy sources.

Healthier building materials: Consumers are driving the use of paints, wood, carpeting and other materials that contain low or no volatile organic compounds and are therefore much less toxic.

Better accessibility for an ageing population: Although universal design principles—which encourage a more accessible environment—have been coming to the fore over the last two decades, they will be even more popular as Baby Boomers seek to stay in their homes well beyond their sixties. Design elements include one-level living spaces, wider hallways and more handrails.

Focus on the kitchen: More than ever, the kitchen will be the centre of the action for families, and architects will continue to give prominence to this room both in terms of size and features.

Smaller homes, but more innovative: As younger generations, in particular, wish to live closer to work and have public transpor­tation nearby, this will necessitate building closer to urban centres, where real estate is typically more expensive. Homes that develop in these areas are likely to be smaller, but more creatively designed.

Outdoor features: Architects foresee home owners going beyond patios and decks for their outdoor spaces, with ideas such as outdoor kitchens and fully furnished living areas.

Home offices and wireless networking: As more and more people work from home, there will be a greater prevalence of home offices, as well as WiFi to accommodate mobile devices. 

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