Ottawa’s hot new-home market appears to finally be cooling as sales in October slowed for the first time since the early days of the pandemic.
There were 443 new-home sales in October, which is down 41.9 per cent over October 2019 when 762 homes were sold, according to the latest report by industry analyst PMA Brethour Realty prepared for the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association.
Sales were also down 38 per cent from September, which saw 716 sales.
“I’m not at all surprised that October sales were as low as they were,” says PMA’s Ottawa president, Cheryl Rice. “The Ottawa new-home market has seen remarkable pent-up demand and sales for many months now.
“And although the demand for new homes may still be high, supply has decreased, with numerous projects and products across the city now either temporarily or permanently sold out.
“There were several new product releases in October, but most were small and quickly consumed by our market’s large appetite for new-home product.”
Those releases included the launch of eQ Homes’ latest condo building at Greystone Village, called The Spencer, several small lot releases by Minto Communities that were snapped up the same day they were available, and other releases by Mattamy Homes, Caivan Communities, Cardel Homes and Tamarack Homes.
But by October, many builders had chosen to reduce the number and size of their releases to slow the pace of sales in order to manage closing dates, labour and material costs, Rice says. Several builder developments remain temporarily sold out.
Townhomes were the most popular home choice in October, capturing 49 per cent of the market, and the south end remained the biggest draw with 39 per cent of sales.
“COVID or no COVID, tight supply and high demand drive prices up and, so far, new-home buyers seem to have adapted to the higher price sticker,” says Rice.
The resale market has remained strong, seeing a 34-per-cent increase in sales for the month, although we appear to be starting to see a shift in buyer preferences, with condos not being snapped up as quickly as they were earlier in the year.