Ottawa Housing Market: October 2020 Update and 2021 Forecast

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October brings pause to Ottawa's real estate market as sales activity slows from a busy October. Home prices remained steady with an average sold price of $550,734, a 24% increase from 2019 but a 2% decline from October. A total of 2,146 homes were sold, almost 200 fewer than October but more than 34% more than Oct. 2019. The decline remains connected mostly to the condo market which has experienced high volatility in pricing as rising inventory reverses the shortage of condos back in early 2020. Winter is generally a slow season for real estate, so market activity is expected to decline over the next few months before recovering in March.

The growth in Ottawa real estate leads real estate growth in other markets throughout Canada. Backed by record household savings rates and government programs including the CMHC First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, many Canadian housing markets have risen past their previous highs despite COVID-19. Ottawa also has the advantage of being a center for government jobs, which are usually stable and highly-valued in times of financial uncertainty.

The optimism in real estate markets may have been further boosted by recent announcements by the Bank of Canada promising continued Quantitative Easing and low interest rates into 2021. In addition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Federal Government have announced the extension of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy until the end of 2020. This may protect Canadians from further unemployment shocks and support Canada's economic recovery.

Ottawa Housing Market Statistics for All Property Types in October 2020

Average Sold Price and MLS HPI Benchmark Price

Total Transactions

Property Type Distribution

Impacts on Mortgages and Mortgage Rates

Due in part to the continued growth in real estate as well as loose monetary policy, mortgage lenders, including members of the Big Five (RBC, TD, CIBC, Scotiabank, and BMO), are increasingly willing to discount risk in the housing market and are offering record-low mortgage rates. Although this highly-competitive market may not last past the end of 2020, mortgage rates are not expected to rise significantly by 2022.

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Market Overview for Freeholds in October 2020

Average Sold Price

Transactions

Market Overview for Condominiums in October 2020

Average Sold Price

Transactions

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Glossary and Definitions

MLS® HPI: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) is an index by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that tracks the prices of homes in a neighborhood. It allows Canadians to quickly compare home prices across Canada and between periods of time without having to account for specific features of a property. Unlike market prices, which can fluctuate from month to month based on seasonal dynamics, the HPI provides a stable view tracks trends across a longer period of time. The HPI is reviewed every year in May to adjust for changes in the real estate marketplace.

MLS® HPI Benchmark Price: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Benchmark Price is the HPI translated into a real-world price number.

Strata Insurance: Strata insurance is insurance used by a strata like a condominium to covers damages to common areas and assets and liability to the strata. It can also include fixtures built or installed as part of the original construction of each unit, even though these may not be common structures. The insurance can cover:

  • Buildings and structures associated with the strata including common areas such as the roof, parking garages, driveways, gyms, pools, etc.
  • Liability for any property damage or bodily injury suffered on strata property
  • Any fixtures that are part of the "standard unit" or original construction of each unit

Strata insurance does not usually include personal items and appliances that are part of a condo unit. It also does not cover the damages made by individual unit owners, such as in the case of water damage caused by a unit owner. These are usually covered by personal condo insurance.

Property types

Detached home: A detached home is your standard single-family home. It is a residential building that stands alone and is separately titled or legally a single unit.

Semi-detached home: A semi-detached home is similar to a detached home, except it shares a wall with another home. This pair of homes must make up an independent building and each should be separately titled or legally two separate units. There can only be two homes in a semi-detached building.

Townhouses: A townhouse is the middle between a detached/semi-detached home and a condo apartment. Like detached and semi-detached homes, they are often single-family units that have their own land and may be attached to other units. However, like condo apartments, they typically have to pay co-ownership fees for maintenance and may share some common features with their neighbors.

Condo apartment: This category includes all apartments and condominiums. These are complexes of residential units with common areas such as hallways, parking lots, stairwells, etc. They can be low-rise, mid-rise, or high-rise buildings. Unlike townhouses, there are no parts of the lot (the land of the building) where access is reserved for only one owner or occupant. There can be privately owned units and spaces inside the building.

Plexes are multi-story buildings with two to four individual units, usually one on each floor. They are a mainstay in Montreal and other cities in Quebec. Each unit is usually individually accessible via an external entrance with higher floors connected by staircases.

Property Classes

Freeholds: A freehold is any property where the owner owns both the house and the land it is built on. Common freehold property types include: detached, semi-detached, some townhouses, and farmland.

Condominiums: A condominium or condo is any property where the owner owns the home (or unit) but shares ownership of the land and other improvements with a condominium corporation. Common condominium property types include condo apartments and some townhouses.

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Data sourced from the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Any analysis or commentary is the opinion of the analysts at WOWA.ca and should not be construed as investment advice. Please consult a licensed real estate professional before making a real estate investment decision. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.