It was a wild and wacky year in Ottawa housing in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a red-hot market to a screeching halt before it then took off again to end the year within reach of 2019’s record-setting pace.
A combination of unrelenting demand and ever-shrinking supply meant Ottawa’s housing prices shot up well above usual so that, by the end of the year, average new-home prices had jumped more than 15 per cent.
“It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride for the housing market,” senior economist Robert Hogue of RBC Economics said in an update to members of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) on Jan. 26. “The market is extremely tight.”
According to PMA Brethour Realty Group, which analyses Ottawa’s housing market and which was also part of the GOHBA update, average new-home prices by the end of 2020 were:
- $708,665 for single-family homes
- $517,424 for townhomes
(The overall average resale price, which included all housing types except condo apartments, was $582,267. Keep in mind that it was only in June 2019 that Ottawa first reached the $500,000 threshold for the average price of a resale home. Just a year and a half later and that average has jumped close to $100,000.)
So, with those kinds of price increases, how far will your money go?
Aside from the fact that simply finding available new-home lots has become difficult, here’s a sampling of what you can get at the average new-home price. Note that pricing changes frequently. All prices listed here were as of Jan. 25.
Townhomes (avg. price: $517,424)
They’re scarce, but there are a few builders who have them for sale. You won’t find any under $400,000, but there are some in the $400,000s. Here’s what you can get near the average price:
Builder: Minto Communities
Sq. ft.: 1,382
Beds/baths: 3 beds, 1.5 baths
Features: This is a three-storey town, part of Minto’s Avenue Towns series. It’s a corner unit with no basement. The ground floor includes the garage, foyer and a den. The main living is on the second floor, which features a powder room, laundry closet and open-concept living room, dining room and kitchen, with a balcony off the kitchen. All three bedrooms are on the third floor and they share the main bathroom, although the master includes a walk-in closet.
Builder: Richcraft Homes
Sq. ft.: 1,445
Beds/baths: 2 beds, 2 full baths, 2 half baths
Features: This is also a three-storey town, part of Richcraft’s Jasper Urban Towns series, but this one includes a small basement area. Like the Madison, the ground floor finds the garage, foyer and den. But the Granville also has a powder room and the den is not a separate room, rather it’s a walk-through space to get upstairs. The second floor is the main living level, with kitchen, another powder room and open living/dining room that leads to a balcony. There are only two bedrooms in this town, but the master gets its own ensuite and the laundry closet is on the bedroom level.
Single-family homes (avg. price: $708,665)
Single-family homes were the most popular new-home housing type in 2020, accounting for 44 per cent of sales, said PMA’s Ottawa president, Cheryl Rice. That’s up eight percentage points over 2019. Here’s a sampling of what the average price will get you:
Builder: Cardel Homes
Sq. ft.: 1,964
Beds/baths: 3 beds, 2.5 baths
Features: Sitting on a 34-foot lot, the Auden is a two-storey single with a mudroom that leads to the kitchen pantry and kitchen beyond, handy for bringing in the groceries. There’s no formal dining room, but the open-concept main floor combines the kitchen eating nook and great room with fireplace. Upstairs, the master bedroom includes an ensuite and walk-in closet, the two other bedrooms share the main bathroom, and the roomy laundry room houses the linen closet and has a window. There’s a generous bonus room across the front of the home that can be either a family room, a fourth bedroom or in these days of working at home, a spacious home office. The basement is unfinished, but there’s room for another bedroom, rec room and full bathroom.
The Piper II
Builder: eQ Homes
Sq. ft.: 2,653
Beds/baths: 4 beds, 3.5 baths
Features: In a world where open-concept floor plans dominate, the Piper II is refreshing for its centre hall-inspired layout. It’s still open concept, but with a twist by placing the staircase in the middle of the home. To one side, a flex room works as a home office and is sufficiently separated from the rest of the main floor to keep out the noise of family life. The kitchen is on the other side of the stairs, with the dining room and living room stretching across the back of the home. Upstairs, the master has an ensuite and walk-in closet, of course, but there’s also a secondary master perfect for parents, a live-in caregiver or an adult child. The remaining two bedrooms share the main bathroom. The basement is unfinished, but there’s room for another bedroom, a rec room and a full bathroom. The home sits on a 37-foot lot.
Builder: Richcraft Homes
Sq. ft.: 1,785
Beds/baths: 3 beds, 2.5 baths
Features: This two-storey home sits on a 31-foot lot and includes a single-car garage. The main floor is open concept, with the kitchen, great room (with fireplace) and dining room making up the back of the home and a home office conveniently located up front off the foyer. The three bedrooms are spacious, with the master including an ensuite and walk-in closet. There’s also room for a laundry closet on the bedroom level. The basement is unfinished, but has room for a rec room and full bathroom.
Builder: Tamarack Homes
Sq. ft.: 2,360
Beds/baths: 4 beds, 2.5 baths
Features: This two-storey single sits on a 38-foot lot and combines all the needs of a family home. The main floor includes a dedicated home office that’s separate from the rest of the living area, a mudroom, and an open-concept kitchen (with a ton of counter space), great room (with fireplace) and dining room. Upstairs, the large master boasts a five-piece ensuite and the laundry room is spacious, with a window.