First-timers feel the heat of Ottawa’s scorching resale market

First-time buyers felt the heat of Ottawa’s scorching resale market in July.

As the COVID lockdown lifted, buyers surged into the market, just as they did in June. The result: Realtors sold 2,189 residential properties in July through the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS), compared with 1,838 in July 2019. That was a year-over-year increase of 19 per cent. The five-year average for July unit sales is 1,729.

“Summer usually slows down; however, after the pandemic curtailed the spring market this year, we have rebounded well beyond expectations,” said board president Deborah Burgoyne in a statement. She expressed surprise at the July numbers, given the long-running inventory shortages and the extra precautions necessary in showing homes during the pandemic.


Many first-timers locked out

With prices also soaring in July — condos were up 19 per cent compared to the same month last year and non-condominium properties increased 20 per cent — many first-time buyers didn’t stand a chance.

“Those most impacted are especially those attempting to enter the housing market,” said Burgoyne. “Multiple offers are a common occurrence with over 57 per cent of properties selling over the listing price compared to 33 per cent of transactions last July.”

Last month, condominium properties averaged $357,764. Non-condominium properties sold for an average of $585,084. It was only in June of last year that non-condominium resale properties exceeded, for the first time ever, an average price of $500,000.


Will the sales and price spurt continue?

The intense market is unusual for Ottawa, which is traditionally steady and predictable, according to Burgoyne. She said that as long as demand outpaces supply, the current situation will continue.

“This market is challenging for all involved, and more balance would be a welcomed relief for everyone.”


About the Author

Patrick Langston

Patrick Langston is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and a veteran journalist. He has written widely about the Ottawa housing industry since 2008.



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