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New-home sales in December show typical slowdown

It was a slower month for Ottawa new-home sales in December, which is typical of that time of year, but December still benefited from the unexpected demand seen for most of the year, says Cheryl Rice of industry analyst PMA Brethour Realty.

“In spite of seasonal trends — and the pandemic — the extraordinary demand that consumed new-home supply in previous months generated more sales for December than the same period in three of the four previous years, and at three-per-cent higher than the five-year average,” she says.

In its monthly report prepared for the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association, PMA reports there were 287 new-home sales in December. That’s down from both December 2019, which had 329, and from November, which had 417. Rice attributes the 31-per-cent drop from November to December to a lack of supply, specifically in the central and west areas.

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As we’ve seen for much of the year, demand has far outstripped supply, with the handfuls of lots regularly trickled out by builders often snapped up within hours of their release.

Lower than 2019

For the year as a whole, sales reached 5,924, down 6.2 per cent compared to 2019, a record-setting year in which sales hit 6,315. Given the upheaval the pandemic created in 2020, getting that close to 2019 numbers was impressive.

“Single-family homes in Ottawa South captured the majority of Ottawa sales, at 54 per cent of total product sold and an increase of 26 per cent compared to December 2019,” says Rice. “Townhomes achieved 24 per cent of total market share, mainly due to diminishing supply throughout the fourth quarter.”

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Claridge Homes had a strong month, claiming 28 per cent of market share in December and finishing the year in the top two with 16 per cent. The overall market leader for the year was Minto Communities, which topped 1,000 sales and captured 18 per cent of the market. Mattamy Homes was a close third, also claiming 16 per cent of the market. Rounding out the top five were Richcraft Homes and Caivan Communities.

“All things considered, I think the housing industry has been one of the fortunate industries in this whole COVID scenario,” Minto’s Ottawa president, Brent Strachan, said in a recent interview. “Who would’ve thought we’d end up where we are?”

The new-home market is expected to remain strong this year, although Rice does see new-home demand slowing somewhat, along with an easing of the surging price increases we saw in 2020, so that “supply and demand are expected to achieve a healthier balance.”

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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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