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Inventory at historically low levels but sales steady

Despite a housing inventory at historically low levels, May sales were down only marginally compared to the same month last year, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

OREB members sold 2,279 residential properties in May through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) System, compared with 2,294 in May 2017, a decrease of 0.7 per cent. The five-year average for May sales is 2,041.

Inventory turnover a healthy sign

A declining inventory of resale homes has been a concern in Ottawa since late last year. However, OREB president Ralph Shaw said in a statement that while overall inventory is down, the number of resale homes entering the market last month was about normal for this time of year.

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“The sheer number of home sales that took place in May indicates that inventory is turning over quickly– certainly a sign that Ottawa is a healthy real estate market,” Shaw said.

Prices still increasing

The first five months of this year saw the value of a single-family home increase about 8 per cent while condominium prices grew by approximately 6.5 per cent, the board reports.

“This price acceleration is encouraging news for homeowners who have now seen an average of 3-per-cent price growth per year for the last five years,” said Shaw.

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In May, the average sale price of a non-condo property in the Ottawa area was $464,401 while condos averaged $281,247. Those prices were, respectively, 6.3 per cent and 3.4 per cent higher than May 2017.

The good and the bad

Accelerating prices this year will encourage baby boomers to sell their homes, thereby increasing the inventory, said Shaw.

At the same time, he foresees continued upward pressure on prices, which is either a good or a bad thing depending upon whether you are selling or buying. Shaw also worries that affordability could become a challenge here unless the city adopts a long-term housing supply strategy.

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Related

Bucking national trend, local housing market sizzles

If you are considering buying or selling a home, check our directory of real estate agents in Ottawa and our resources and advice section.

More stories by Patrick Langston

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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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