Ottawa’s 2023 resale market a case of underperformance

Despite a small rally in December, the 2023 resale market was distinguished mostly by underperformance, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

Realtors sold 11,978 properties through the board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) last year. That was a drop of 11 per cent from 2022, itself a poor year, and down almost 33 per cent from 2021, when the pandemic saw the housing market in overdrive. It was also the lowest number of annual transactions in the past decade.

Soaring interest rates, inflation and buyer fatigue have all been blamed for the slowdown in both the resale and new-home markets across the country.


While last year saw lacklustre sales, it also saw a return to a balanced market in Ottawa after a prolonged seller’s market. That was a possible harbinger of better times to come, at least for buyers, especially with more interest rate increases seemingly on hold.

“Ottawa’s resale market closed out the year in a steady, balanced state,” said board president Curtis Fillier in a statement. “This could be an early indication that consumer confidence is returning.”

Referencing the 7.6 per cent increase in transactions in December compared to the same month in 2002, he added: “We likely won’t see the full impact of rate stabilization until the second half of 2024, but December’s activity bodes well for a strong year ahead in Ottawa.”


MORE: 2022 a disappointing year in resale

Prices down but up

Single-family homes sold for an average of $818,345 in 2023. That was down 5.5 per cent from the previous year but up more than 24 per cent from 2020 and an astounding 89.2 per cent from 2013. Realtors sold 6,159 singles last year, making that housing type the biggest seller by far.

Townhomes fetched an average $544,981 in 2023, down 7.6 per cent from the previous year but, like singles, up almost 24 per cent from 2020 and 89 per cent compared to 2013. A total of 3,838 towns changed hands last year, according to the board.

Condos sold for an average of $440,821 last year. That was down marginally from 2022 but up 4.3 per cent from 2021 and 51.9 per cent from 2013. Realtors sold 1,890 condos last year.


Other 2023 resale market indicators

New listings (20,723) were the second lowest since 2014. Homeowners were likely holding back on listing their properties because resale prices had dropped and because they were hesitant about entering the pricey new-build market in a time of economic uncertainty.

Median days on market — which measures the length of time from when a home is listed to when it’s either sold or taken off the market — increased significantly last year, another sign that buyers were holding off on purchasing. Days on market for all housing types averaged 18 last year compared to nine, seven and eight in 2022, 2021 and 2020 respectively.


About the Author

Patrick Langston All Things Home Ottawa homes

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.



Join our mailing list and GET YOUR FREE Homeowner’s Mini-Guide
Whether searching for your first home, preparing to upsize or downsize, or mulling over a renovation, this guide provides valuable resources and tips.