The slippage in the March 2022 resale market can likely be pinned on cold weather, the lifting of pandemic restrictions and the spring break, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board.
Realtors sold 2,011 residential properties in March through the board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system. That was down 12 per cent compared with 2,274 sales in March 2021 but still higher than the five-year average of 1,792.
March sales included 1,493 non-condo properties and 518 condos, down 12 and 10 per cent respectively from the same month last year.
“Although the number of sales in March decreased from last year at this time, it was still a robust and busy start to the spring season,” said board president Penny Torontow in a statement. “Last March was unseasonably warm in comparison, and the lion-like weather that pervaded most of this March may have played a role.
“More likely, the lifting of some restrictions and opportunity for unfettered travel during the spring break had peoples’ attention turning towards other activities during the month.”
April numbers should give a better indication of how the normally busy spring market will perform, she added.
Price and inventory continue to grow
Non-condo properties hit an average $853,615 while condominiums sold for an average $479,405 in Ottawa’s March 2022 resale market. Those numbers are up 13 and 10 per cent respectively over the same month last year.
Year-to-date, non-condo homes have fetched an average $831,122 and condos $467,915. While prices in March were are up just two to three per cent over February, year-to-date numbers have jumped 13 to 14 per cent over the same period in 2021.
Forecasts for this year have resale prices growing about nine per cent, and Torontow said that the housing supply shortage — a long-standing problem in Ottawa — will continue to put strong upward pressure on prices until inventory grows.
In fact, March saw 2,632 new listings in March, about four per cent higher than the five-year average. However, newly listed properties are quickly absorbed due to an “unrelenting” high demand and more listings are essential to meet the need, said Torontow.
She said she’s hopeful Ontario’s newly introduced More Homes For Everyone Act, designed to tackle the housing shortage by working with municipalities to get homes built faster and increasing the Non-Resident Speculation Tax, will help potential homebuyers in Ottawa finally get a foothold in the market.