Posts Tagged ‘home evaluation’

ANNUAL REAL ESTATE REPORT: OTTAWA 2021

Posted on: January 15th, 2021 by Chris Scott

OTTAWA REAL ESTATE REPORT

RECAP OF 2020: A Year We Will Never Forget

It was a record-breaking year of growth and price appreciation in Ottawa. Coming into 2020 our supply levels were at all time lows and demand was strong. When the COVID hit supply also dropped. The demand did not. Buyers were still very much interested in purchasing. Having a stable economy in Ottawa helped matters. The pandemic even brought other people who were not thinking about buying into the fold. Privacy and pools became high priorities for some buyers.

The end result was freehold prices up 20%! The average sale price was $582,267 in this category. Who would have thought that we would have record price appreciation in the midst of a pandemic. In the condo market prices soared over 19%! It would have been hard to predict these numbers before the start of the year. Even with the lack of inventory the number of units sold were way up too.

This thriving market is due to inventory shortage, multiple offer situations, record-low mortgage rates and buyers from larger markets. Ottawa is a resilient and sheltered market in comparison to others. Ottawa has secure government and tech sector employment that allowed many to work from home. 2021 will see a continuation of Ottawa’s solid resale market, real estate professionals were deemed essential workers and the market was only slightly shaken by the world-wide pandemic. This market is very active, insulated, and strong.

Average sales prices are for 2020 based on MLS sales.

Combined is for all property classes. Arrows are gains from 2019.

OTTAWA REAL ESTATE REPORT

FORECAST 2021 

We are entering the year in the midst of rising COVID cases and economic uncertainty. Not to mention some political unrest with our neighbours to the South. This is a unique place to begin. From a real estate market perspective, I look at the supply and demand metrics to determine where things may be going. We enter this year with very few homes for sale, the sales being recorded so far are noticeably higher than last year. Our supply is exceptionally low and demand still quite high. This will once again make Ottawa a very competitive market for 2021.

Ottawa is a growing city, and I am not sure there is a long-term solution to this price acceleration. Rising prices may be a common theme for the foreseeable future. The biggest change I see in the years to come is in the luxury market. There are many more 1M plus buyers out there now.

Half a million can barely afford you a townhouse now in suburbia. It is kind of surreal thinking about my average sale price in my first year in real estate. It was around $220,000.

I do predict that freehold prices will continue to appreciate at a higher level than condos. Many major projects in Ottawa are in the building stages with dozens more approved. At some point we will have enough condos to satisfy demand. That will come sooner than on the freehold side. Some condo owners have felt a bit trapped with COVID and working from home. I have had a few reach out to change into a freehold and have a bit more space to spread out.

OTTAWA REAL ESTATE REPORT

KEY INDICATORS

WORKING FROM HOME: THE NEW NORMAL

Ottawa’s solid public sector is a great foundational piece to our economy. This represents 20% of the workforce in Ottawa. These jobs are high earnings and are very secure. Ottawa is in a unique position to have so many jobs that can be done remotely. The high-tech sector in Ottawa has been booming, tech-giant Shopify has made working from home permanent for their employees. This has kept our local economy sheltered from what is happening elsewhere. It may also have an impact on where people decide to live. With many working from home permanently extra space is becoming more desirable.

 

SUPPLY TRENDS LOWER FOR FREEHOLDS & CONDO

This graph illustrates the supply available in the Ottawa real estate market. It is so interesting to see where we are from an inventory perspective when compared to the last 15 years. Supply remained low for 2020, and we are starting out 2021 with very little inventory.  This is the heartbeat of the market. As we witnessed in 2020 with inventory this low, prices were pushed way up as buyer competed for homes. Early 2021 seems to be trending in that direction as well. Will be an interesting year!

 

INCREASED USE OF TECHNOLOGY

I think that the way people buy and sell real estate will forever be impacted by COVID. This year has proven that we can do so much virtually. Our team has sold 10 homes to buyers from out of town (mostly military) who never actually stepped foot in the house they purchased until closing day. We would virtually walk them through the house and usually have a 3D tour to share with them. I am not suggesting everyone would have a comfort level with that. However, if you could have me walk you through a house while you are in the comfort of your own home, would that be beneficial? Some buyers are opting for this for the first visit and then coming through if they like what they saw on the virtual visit.

If you are curious about your home’s worth please fill in this form for a no-obligation market assessment.

ANNUAL REAL ESTATE REPORT: OTTAWA 2020

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Chris Scott

OTTAWA REAL ESTATE REPORT

RECAP OF 2019

It was an incredible year of growth and price appreciation in the Ottawa real estate market. Prices were up in all categories. Year-end figures show the average freehold property sale price was $486,590 in 2019. This represents an 8.9% increase over the previous year. In the condo market prices soared over 9%! It would have been hard to predict these numbers before the start of the year.

These incredible gains are being fueled by the lack of supply and strong demand for Ottawa real estate. As the year went on the supply tightened and this put upward pressure on prices. The prices really started to push up in the 2nd half of the year. In some neighbourhoods in Nepean and Ottawa west, I have seen a price appreciation of 6% between sales in March and sales in September. This is because supply tightened as the year went on and in addition, more buyers entered the marketplace.

In 2019 Ottawa’s population grew to over 1 million people. Our city is maturing into a world-class capital before our very eyes! The new LRT line was unveiled and many new projects are on the way. Legacy projects like the civic hospital relocation, LRT expansion, and Lebreton flats redevelopment are on the horizon. This combined with the insatiable demand for Ottawa real estate should keep our construction market strong for the foreseeable future.

Average sales prices are for 2019 based on MLS sales.

Combined is for all property classes. Arrows are gains from 2018.

OTTAWA REAL ESTATE REPORT

FORECAST 2020 

The Ottawa real estate market is showing no signs of weakness. Supply issues will persist in 2020. I don’t expect the inventory will recover in the near future. The absorption rate of our current inventory is like nothing we have seen before!   Prices are expected to continue to grow over the upcoming few years. The demand for our real estate is at an all-time peak. This trend will continue to put upward pressure on prices throughout the next few years. Although prices are going up relative to our income we are actually still in a sustainable position. Prices in Ottawa, when compared with our earnings, are still affordable.

 

Below you can see a table of real estate prices in Ottawa since 1981. The only declining years are in red. The table illustrates just how stable our market is. The only declines were consecutive (94-96) and houses lost less than 3% in each of those years. If you were at a craps table and saw this much black on the board how much money would you be prepared to invest. If you are a long term investor it would be pretty hard to find a scenario where you could lose.

Based on OREB RES & CON MLS Sales | 2020 Prediction

OTTAWA REAL ESTATE REPORT

KEY INDICATORS

OTTAWA: RELATIVELY HIGHER EARNINGS

Ottawa’s solid public sector is a great foundational piece of our economy.  This represents 20% of the workforce in Ottawa. These jobs are high earnings with very good security. When I think of my own network of friends, almost every couple has at least one person working for the government. In some cases, both spouses work there and this creates some very high household income. This past year saw a 6.9% increase in our weekly average income. We have not seen that kind of income growth in Ottawa since 2001. When we see our earnings higher than our neighbours down the 401, it surprises some people. Of course with the financial sector in Toronto, there is more wealth and one-percenters. Ottawa just does a better job with the distribution of wealth.

 

SUPPLY TRENDS LOWER FOR FREEHOLDS & CONDO

Supply is the single biggest issue in our market. It is so interesting to see where we are from an inventory perspective when compared to the last 15 years.  We are at the lowest point in both the condo and the freehold segment of the market. Look at the condos available in 2015! Over 6000 on the market. This is the heartbeat of the market. When we see inventory this low,  prices can only go in one direction! The little secret I have been telling people about Ottawa’s bargain real estate prices is out! Our market is on fuego.

 

STEADY EMPLOYMENT GROWTH EXPECTED

The local economy and job market in Ottawa are solid. Steady job growth is expected to continue over the next few years. It is good to see that full-time job growth is up 5%. This is important because people that occupy full-time jobs are much more likely to be approved financially to purchase real estate.  Our capital city also is one of the hottest and most diverse tech hubs in North America. Overall the health of our local economy couldn’t be better.

If you are curious about your home’s worth please fill in this form for a no-obligation market assessment.

 

ANNUAL REAL ESTATE REPORT: OTTAWA 2018

Posted on: January 8th, 2019 by Chris Scott

RECAP OF 2018

When I set out last year to undertake this exercise I was optimistic 2018 was going to be a good year. I could not predict just how hot our market was going to be. Early in 2018, there was a significant shortage of housing inventory across the city. This is usual in places like Westboro and the core of the city. This past year that shortage spread to the suburbs-especially in the west end of the city. The lack of inventory was apparent in almost every class of property and price range. The most active being between 300-450k. In many cases, our clients were offering against as many as a dozen or more other buyers. This is common practice in cities like Toronto but a newer phenomenon here in Ottawa.  The spring brought lots of new inventory and this helped stabilize things. It was still a seller’s market but as the year went on it became less competitive for properties. Instead of 12 offers on many of the listings, we started seeing 2-4 offers depending on price range. Let’s have a look at the numbers driving our market.

Ottawa Home Prices 2018

KEY INDICATORS 

AFFORDABILITY

Ottawa households have one of the highest household income averages in Canada. If you see the graph on the following page you can see that prices are still relatively affordable for Ottawa buyers. This graph looks very different for buyers in cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

Ottawa vs GTA

IMMIGRATION

If you Google best places to migrate to in Canada, Ottawa seems to be the number one choice. I am seeing many more immigrants choose Ottawa as their final destination. Toronto and Montreal are of course popular but when someone researches where to live in Canada,  Ottawa comes out close to number one in almost all categories.

The common misconception out there is that these immigrants do not have the funds to purchase real estate. That is not always the case. In many instances, it is their credit or lack thereof that may be holding them back. In any case, these immigrants are coming at a record pace and will likely be purchasing real estate in the future.

1 MORTGAGE RULES AND INTEREST RATES

Banks have been forced to stress test buyers at a full 2 percentage points higher than the interest rate of their mortgage. This can impact purchasing power by almost 20%.  I see the need for this but as house prices rise in major market centres there has been plenty of pushback. Interest rates have been slowly rising and this has put pressure on affordability for some buyers. If this trend continues it will have an impact on the market for sure. With the economy being more sluggish, the need for further increases may be curbed.

2 LOCAL ECONOMY

Ottawa has always been an underrated city in my view. We have a strong local economy with one of the highest median household income averages in Canada. Our unemployment rate is at historically low levels. It is a prototypical government town that has a growing technology sector and lots of solid, high paying professional jobs. It is only a matter of time before our prices surge and we become a global player in real estate. For a world-class capital city our prices still might be a bargain. Time will tell!

 

3 ELECTION YEAR

Housing affordability has climbed up to be one of the top issues for millennials. This makes it an election issue. A recent poll found that 64% of millennial voters want the government to do something about climbing prices. We will see the politicians respective platforms later this year. My prediction is that some of these platforms will have policies that will make it easier or more affordable for buyers to purchase. It could mean the return of 30-year amortizations. The stress tests might be eased or there could be a new policy altogether. Something to watch for sure.

7 VACANCY RATE

This year renters are facing a 1.3% vacancy rate in Ottawa. This is an all-time low. It has made finding a rental very competitive. Often times renters are actually in multiple offers for rental properties. There is a similar pattern in other major market centres across Canada. As house prices increase it is forcing some people to rent rather than buy. Might be a great time to purchase a property to rent out.

5 GROWTH AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Ottawa is growing and maturing into a world-class city. We should all be grateful to live in a city with such a high quality of life. By March we will have light rail going right downtown that will make life easier for commuters. This will just be the start of a much broader transportation plan. We have a super hospital that will be coming online in the years to come. Lebreton will eventually get the green light for redevelopment. Lots to be excited about. These will help fuel our economic growth in the years ahead.

income

2019 FORECAST

I believe it will be another strong resale year for Ottawa homebuyers and sellers in 2019. There is still pent-up demand and lots of buyers looking to purchase. This was reinforced just before Christmas as our team was involved in 2 multiple bid situations in the Fairwinds area. The targets were modern semi-detached townhomes, one that we sold for a record price with 3 offers. This is not the kind of activity you would typically see just before Christmas. It is indicative of the market in the entry level price points. The $350k-450k market will continue to be red hot this year. I have spoken with a few builders who had record years. Next year many homebuyers will be on the move to their newly built homes. This will hopefully create some much-needed inventory in 2019.

Population VS Employment Chart

I predict we will have another seller’s market that will slowly slide to a balanced market by the time 2019 is complete. Barring an international crisis, it will be another great year for the Ottawa Real Estate market.

Prediction

If you are curious about your homes worth please fill in this form for a no-obligation market assessment.