Tight rental market a catalyst for higher house prices across Ottawa
If last month’s tornadoes affected the business of buying and selling homes in Ottawa it was not immediately evident in the data published this week by the Ottawa Real Estate Board.
The number of homes and condominiums sold across the city approached 1,400 in September, according to the board, which represents about 3,000 realtors. That was virtually identical to the number sold during the same month a year earlier.
The only change, and it was a slight one, involved the mix of properties. There were 347 condominium owners who sold their properties in September, compared to just 311 a year earlier — an increase attributed by the board to low vacancy rates in the rental market.
Indeed, the tightness of residential housing generally helped to push up the average house price to $449,600 in September, up 7.9 percent year over year. For condos, the average price was $282,800, up 7.6 percent over the same period.
Evidence of the relative shortage can be seen in the number of active listings at the end of September. There were 3,434 residential listings, down 17 percent from the same month last year. For condos, the shrinkage was even greater. There were slightly fewer than 1,000 condos listed at month’s end, down 28 percent year over year. It’s possible that some property owners who had been planning to list properties decided to hold off, either to repair damage caused by the Sept. 21 tornadoes or to help with the general cleanup.
Condo prices varied markedly depending on the region. The most expensive units were in the downtown core, where prices averaged $382,550 last month — about the same as a year earlier. In the west, condo sales fetched an average $326,500 — up 17.5 percent, year over year. The average condo price in the east was $270,700 (down 14.3 percent). In the south, it was $258,600 (up 9.1 percent).
The board also offered some insight into benchmark prices for single-family homes, ranked by district. Across the city the benchmark price was up 7.4 percent in September to $430,800 — marking the fifth straight month of decline in year-over-year hikes. The price momentum was highest in April, when the benchmark price jumped 9.2 percent compared to April 2017.
By real-estate district, the biggest price gains in single-family home prices were reported west of Woodroffe Avenue, most notably in areas located near the new National Defence headquarters at 60 Moodie Dr. There were also pockets of strength in the downtown core, where the benchmark price for single-family homes was $665,700 (up 9.2 percent year over year), and in Hintonburg-West Centretown, where the benchmark price was $555,000 (up a city-leading 15 percent).
The Hintonburg area has been gaining favour among those who have found trendy Westboro and environs too pricey. Indeed, while the benchmark price for Carlingwood-Westboro gained a modest 4.7 percent in September, single-family homes there still sold for $776,800. Similarly in Westboro-Hampton Park, the benchmark price climbed just 5.1 percent but that still set back the buyer $628,800.