Key Highlights

  • Ottawa’s housing demand now on par with Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver
  • Property value surged +33.7% y/y in 2020
  • Demand far out-stripping supply

COVID Pandemic Fuels Demand and Price Surges for Ottawa Housing

No more waiting for Ottawa’s housing market to ignite.  The COVID pandemic lit a match and housing demand in Ottawa began to sizzle.

Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is no longer playing second fiddle to Montreal’s, Toronto’s, and Vancouver’s housing markets.  “The market went crazy,” said Debra Wright, an agent with Details Realty Inc. and president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB),“and property values surged…” in 2020.  The average home price jumped +33.7% y/y in December 2020.

According to OREB, the average home price hit $457,000 US and 582,267 Canadian.  The average sale price for condominium units was 361,337 Canadian and $285,000 US.

Market Buoyancy in Ottawa a Surprise

 A veteran industry professional, James Wright with the Wright Teamat Royal LePage Team Realtyin Ottawa, said, “I’ve been in business for 41 years, and I’ve never seen a market like this.  We’re seeing bidding wars and many offers over asking, which is very unusual for Ottawa.  We have clients waiting for properties in certain neighborhoods.”

Demand for Ottawa Housing Coming from Multiple Sources

As the country’s capital city, Ottawa benefits from having stable government employment PLUS having a booming tech sector with Amazon and Shopify hiring and attracting more people all the time.

Affordability is another asset to Ottawa’s housing market.  While the average sale price of a home in Ottawa hit $582,267 Canadian and $457,000 US, according to OREB, the average home sale price in Toronto in 2020 was $930,000 Canadian and $730,000 US, the highest price on record, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

According to Richard Rutkowski, a broker with Engels & Volkers Ottawa, transplants from more expensive Canadian cities are joining Ottawans “buying up or buying down” the region’s housing markets.  “If a couple had planned to buy in Toronto or Montreal, they’d be priced out, so they’re now looking in Ottawa, where they can actually enter the market.”

Lastly, Ottawa’s housing market benefits from the pandemic-inspired search for less dense, more rural living that is so attractive to people wanting “out” of big-city living.  In a Statistics Canada report released January 14, population losses in both Toronto and Montreal hit record highs from July 2019 through July 2020.

Luxury Home Sales More Than Doubled y/y

The number of Ottawa homes selling for over 2M Canadian or $1.57M US more than doubled from 2019 through 2020, according to the Multiple Listing Service.  Wright with Details Realty said, “$2M used to be a stretch…and those high-end homes now sell within days or weeks, instead of years.”

Wright added, “It’s a sophisticated, international city with lower density and fantastic green space…Ottawa is in a growth stage.  In the next three to five years, you’ll be lucky to get in here.”

Thanks to The New York Times.




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