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March 2021 new-homes market: A cooling effect

While the resale market saw a huge increase in sales for March, things were a little calmer when it came to new homes.

Ottawa new-home sales for the month hit 504, up just 6.8 per cent compared to March 2020 when 472 homes were sold, according to PMA Brethour Realty Group, which prepares a monthly new-home market report on behalf of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association. And that small jump was in spite of a continued hot market and the fact that numbers for March last year were affected mid-month by the global shutdown as the COVID-19 pandemic took full effect.

On the resale side, Ottawa saw a massive 51-per-cent increase in March 2021 compared to the year before, but that didn’t translate into a similar result when it came to new homes.

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The inventory issue

A key factor is the number of homes available. Chronic shortages have plagued both the resale and new-homes markets for quite some time. While a greater infusion of new listings in March was quickly snapped up on the resale side, many new-home projects remained temporarily sold out.

“Robust consumer demand continues to constrain new-home supply,” says PMA Ottawa president Cheryl Rice. “In each of Ottawa South and West, about half of the projects were either sold out or temporarily sold out of new product.”

Even still, the south end of the city still managed to capture half of the market share, with 55 per cent of new homes being sold in the south end.

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The condo factor

Claridge Homes and Mattamy Homes topped the builder list for most sales, thanks in part to condo sales. Between them, the two builders sold 63 condos for the month.

“Condo apartment sales improved in March due to increased availability, driven mainly by 360 Condos (at Wateridge Village) by Mattamy and a surge in sales from Claridge Royale,” says Rice. “Such surges occur when buyers and investors who are anticipating the next price increase quickly snap up available product.”

Although there were dozens of new product releases across the city, indicating that demand is as intense as ever, she notes that “with such short supply, new product being brought to market in April is sure to be quickly consumed by motivated buyers, even at the higher price point.”

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About the Author

Anita Murray All Things Home Ottawa homes

Anita Murray

Anita Murray is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and owner of Three C Communications. The veteran journalist has covered the Ottawa housing industry since 2011.

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