The Bank of Canada announced a small interest rate hike this week, up .25%, seeing the rate now sitting at 4.5%. This is the smallest of the rate increases since last March. I don’t think it will make a big impact in Ottawa. What this will do is bring further stability to our market and in turn help buyer confidence.
The overall goal of the Bank of Canada is to dampen inflation through a series of interest rate hikes. This campaign of rate increases to curb inflation has been ongoing since March 2022. This is the eighth time in less than a year that the rate has been hiked. Let’s hope this is the last of it.
Here is the second installment of our new monthly value-added feature, the Suburban Statistics Series. This series showcases statistics for the 5 largest urban neighbourhoods in Ottawa.
As Ottawa is such a spread-out city it’s great to see the variances from area to area. All of these statistics are based on MLS OREB sales from January 1, 2021, to December 13, 2021, over January 1, 2022, to December 13, 2022.
The Ottawa resale market has continued to cool this past month. Sales are down by 42% over November of last year. With average prices down 5.2 % in the same period. Important to note however prices are still up YTD by 7%.
The decline in sales volume is concerning. Buyers are just waiting to see where the economy and real estate market are going before making a purchase. The interest rates have gone up another 50 basis points which will freeze out some buyers while others may start looking in different price ranges to make it work. All to say homes are still changing hands just at a much slower pace. The average time a home stays on the market is now 50 days. For context, it was 25 last November.
With the Bank of Canada saying they may be done with rate hikes now might be a good time for buyers to execute on their purchases. Prices are reasonable and buyers have some negotiating power. I do think we will get off to a sluggish start in 2023 but when the economy performs better than expected hopefully, we can get things back on track for a very balanced market that will slightly benefit buyers.
As a new monthly value-added feature, we present the Suburban Statistics Series. Each month we will present statistics for the 5 largest urban neighbourhoods in Ottawa.
As Ottawa is such a spread-out city it’s great to see the variances from area to area. All of these statistics are based on MLS OREB sales from January 1, 2021, to November 8, 2021, over January 1, 2022, to November 8, 2022.
The market is still absorbing the most recent interest rate hikes. It has had an immediate impact on the market. Houses are more expensive for the average consumer due to the higher rate which will continue to put downward pressure on prices. There is also a consumer confidence problem. Many would-be buyers are concerned about the market and making a major purchase when prices are on the downswing.
In October OREB saw 2,047 new listings hitting the market, slightly above the 5-year average of 1,971. Prices have taken a slight dip of -5.4% for a residential home when compared to the same month last year. Tough times out there right now for sellers. You can really see the drop off in the amount of sales. We are down 40% from October of last year. In the last 3 weeks I have seen a slowdown in almost every area. Well-priced homes are taking much longer to sell. I predict we will be getting close to an average of 60 days on the market by the end of the year.
All that to say for buyers there is some good value out there right now. Especially if they have their rate locked in before recent increases. Ottawa always weathers economic downturns better than any major market centre. Buyers will never know where the bottom is. Important when you find value to lock in and get in the market. Much better than sitting on the sidelines and joining in when news is more optimistic because by that point prices will already be going up and you may have increased competition. Also, it is important not to speculate in the market. Any purchase right now should be made with a longer-term plan.
If you would like to see more focused statistics, click on our most recent blog post below that showcases Suburban Statistics for the 5 major neighbourhoods in Ottawa. Or if you would like to know what is happening down the street or in your neighbourhood, please reach out, we are always happy to help.
The Ottawa real estate market has shifted in many ways over the last few months. One thing we are seeing more of is conditional offers being accepted by sellers. In some cases, a buyer is even able to make their purchase conditional upon the sale of a current property. This is great news for buyers who are relying on the funds they receive from the sale of their present home (or cottage or investment property) to finance the purchase of their next property.
There are two parts to this condition. The first part defines the subject property to be sold and gives an appropriate amount of time for the buyer to secure an accepted Agreement of Purchase and Sale (example below):
“SALE OF CURRENT PROPERTY: This Offer is conditional upon the sale of the Buyer’s property known as 123 Main Street, Ottawa ON, K1K 2A2. Unless the Buyer gives notice in writing delivered to the Seller personally or in accordance with any other provisions for the delivery of notice in this Agreement of Purchase and Sale or any Schedule thereto not later than 11:59 PM on November 30, 2022, that this condition is fulfilled, this Offer shall be null and void and the deposit shall be returned to the Buyer in full without deduction. This condition is included for the benefit of the Buyer and may be waived at the Buyer’s sole option by notice in writing to the Seller as aforesaid within the time period stated herein.”
The length of time given to sell the buyer’s property will change according to the average number of Days on Market in that area, and other factors. The buyer should expect the listing agent to ensure that their property is already listed on MLS (or very close to it), and that it is priced in a way that will promote a quick sale and sufficient sale price from a qualified buyer.
“Provided further that the Seller may continue to offer the property for sale and, in the event the Seller accepts another Offer satisfactory to the Seller, the Seller may so notify the Buyer in writing by delivery to the Buyer personally or in accordance with any other provisions for the delivery of notice in this Agreement of Purchase and Sale or any Schedule thereto. The Buyer shall have 72 hours from the giving of such notice to waive this condition by notice in writing delivered to the Seller personally or in accordance with any other provisions for the delivery of notice in this Agreement of Purchase and Sale or any Schedule thereto, failing which this Offer shall be null and void, and the Buyer’s deposit shall be returned in full without deduction. This condition is included for the benefit of the Buyer and may be waived at the Buyer’s sole option by notice in writing to the Seller as aforesaid within the time period stated herein.”
Even after accepting an offer with this condition, the seller is allowed to continue to market their property for sale. If they accept another offer, they will notify the original buyer- at which point the original buyer can decide to remove their condition(s) and secure a firm agreement for the property OR walk away from the purchase without penalty.
If you are a buyer who will need this condition in an offer, this is a fantastic time to be in the market for your next home. Prices have softened since the beginning of the year, and supply in many areas is high enough that there are often multiple properties that fit your criteria. This condition can be a valuable tool for buyers, yet there is a lot to consider. The most important part of having this condition included in a successful offer is planning. Speak to your Realtor today about how best to plan your next move and leverage the current conditions to your advantage.
This blog was a contribution from our team member Colin Raines, Realtor®.
The market continues to slow as the rising interest rates work themselves through the market. There seems to be a standoff in the market right now. Buyers can’t afford early-year prices with the high-interest rates while some sellers are still holding out for prices that are simply not there anymore. In turn, many sellers are waiting for conditions to improve before selling. The buyers that are active are being very careful in their approach.
In most areas, we have entered a balanced market. We have left the seller’s market that has been for the past 5 years or so. Very interesting times. The next question to be answered is if we will retreat to a buyers’ market for the first time in a decade. That remains to be seen. The new listing inventory is still pretty low so the supply might not be there to get us into that market in the short term.
In terms of pricing, prices are stable for the most part with slight movement each month. This stabilization will help give buyers confidence that maybe our market has bottomed out. The bank of Canada holds that hammer in this regard. Another interest rate increase could change this but I don’t predict the large increases that we have witnessed over the past few months. I think it is important they protect the economy and hope that inflation will subside based on the cuts they have already made. Just my opinion as I am not an economist.
One thing is for sure it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out. As always, if you have any questions or would like to know what’s happening in your neighbourhood, please reach out!
We are seeing a slowdown in the market as there are more options for buyers. With more choice and less pressure on buyer’s, we have seen the return of conditions, from financing to inspection to first right of refusal. This is very much a different market then this time last year. Residential sales are down 27% from this time last year, with condo sales down 28%.
The trend seems to be looking like a buyer’s market to the untrained eye, but this is coming from living through the extreme sellers markets of 2020 and 2021. With that as the recent comparison it would look like a buyer’s market, but the thing is, we are still slightly in a seller’s market leaning more towards a balanced market. How this is determined is by inventory. We are currently sitting at 3 months worth of inventory for a residential property, this is technically still a sellers market. It is when we see 4 months or more of housing inventory that it is a true balanced market, with 6 months or more of inventory being a true buyers market. This is a far cry from 2020 and 2021 when we were constantly sitting below 1 months worth of inventory.
Prices seem to continue to level off, with a residential freehold home averaging 5% more that August 2021 prices at $707,712. And a condo class property up 4% to $421,966.
As always, the market does differ from neighourhood to neighbourhood, please reach out if you would like to know how the market is affecting your area.
This month’s video update is a little longer than usual, and there is a great reason, we are in a complex market with a lot to discuss!
It has been a challenging housing market in Ottawa so far this summer. In July house sales were down 35% over last year, 840 units sold vs 1,307 in 2021. That is a substantial decrease as buyers continue to be extremely cautious as they have to deal with aggressive interest rate hikes and uncertainty with current economic conditions. It is a new market right now. One that is seeing the market return to conditional offers and more restraint with buyers. A balanced market is something that we have not experienced in years in our local market. All around it is a more sustainable market and one that is fair to both buyers and sellers. With the prices retreating considerably since the late winter market some first-time buyers now have prices within their grasp. With residential prices this past July up 4.5% and condo prices up 1.4% since July 2021 it seems the huge leap in prices has stalled. We have had a few clients reach out who had things on hold and are now re-engaging as they see this as a more manageable situation.
I do believe that with the new rates being quite a bit higher the government needs to step in and reevaluate their stress test. As buyers now have to qualify at huge rates as high as 7 or 8% to qualify for mortgages. This seems excessive.
As new listings get absorbed at a slower pace it puts less pressure on buyers as they have more to choose from. Sellers also need to be more patient as houses are taking longer to sell. I do see things starting to stabilize just in the past week or so as buyers are engaging and showing activity has increased slightly.
As always please reach out if you would like to know about market conditions in your neighbourhood.
I think everyone understands that the Ottawa real estate market is a much different landscape today than it was in February. The current prices feel similar to where they were last year without the bidding wars. A few people have asked if I think the market is going to crash or if there will be a correction. Well, the correction is already happening and I don’t see it going much lower depending on interest rates. Right now I am feeling a very close connection between prices and interest rates. More so than usual. Interestingly a home in March was purchased at a much higher price but way lower rate and it is quite comparable on a monthly payment to a similar home in today’s market selling at a lower price but with a much higher interest rate. Essentially affordability has not changed too much. Ottawa is weathering the drop in prices better than other market centres in Ontario. I expect the latest rate increase of 100 basis points which is the largest since 1998 to slow our market even further over the upcoming few weeks. I do think that the proposed hike in September will be lower than they have forecasted because the market has reacted and will continue to slow as a result of the Bank of Canada’s decision. Again, Ottawa will not be impacted as much as other major Canadian cities.
What are the main reasons for the price drop?
No matter what you seem to be doing, everything is more expensive! Combined with the rising interest rates that were brought in to curb this and the already high real estate prices and you have a perfect storm. Buyers can not simply afford the price gains we have been seeing. With the interest rate hikes, many have been priced out of the market. Then you get a looming recession and all the doom and gloom media coverage. The Ottawa market has never changed so fast in its history. 5 months has pretty well wiped clean the previous year’s gains. We also don’t have the pandemic-driven demand anymore.
Buyers are taking the wait-and-see approach
Buyers are engaged in the market and are looking at homes that are priced well. If sellers are priced at yesterday’s market they are not getting any activity at all. Buyers are also very much on the sidelines taking a wait-and-see approach. Many are trying to determine if they should wait a few more months as prices have been declining or lock-in on something now before interest rates move up more. Affordability could end up being the same.
What is the strategy to sell now? Hold offers?
It has been interesting talking to other agents about this and pricing strategies. For the most part pricing for multiple offers is not the desired strategy right now. Price the house well and get buyers through and sell it the traditional way. Some more patience is required as homes are staying on the market longer. With more competition, the way you present your home will be even more important as will your representation.
My thoughts on the market
My home has lost quite a bit of equity in the past 6 months. However, I have no plans to sell for 20 years so I really don’t care too much. Everything will go back up again eventually. I truly believe this correction was very important to the overall health of our market.
This is exactly where Ottawa needs to be right now.