Ottawa’s June 2021 resale market suggests post-pandemic normalcy may be closer than ever, according to numbers from the Ottawa Real Estate Board.
Realtors sold 2,131 residential properties in June through the board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system, only five per cent ahead of sales in June 2020 and about on par with the five-year average of 2,098. Those numbers are very different from the frantic increases that have defined the local resale market for the past year.
June’s sales included 1,647 non-condo properties, up two per cent from a year ago, and 484 condos, up 13 per cent.
“June’s resale market performed similar to a typical (pre-pandemic) June,” said board president Debra Wright in a statement. “This is a normal tapering off as families turn their attention to end-of-school events and enjoying more outdoor recreation. This year, it also coincided with some easing of pandemic restrictions.”
Inventory and listings up
After several years of tight availability, both listings and inventory levels are up. In fact, inventory levels are at their highest since 2017, according to the board’s report on Ottawa’s June 2021 resale market. That’s a good thing for buyers who have long been frustrated by the scarcity of available resale homes in Ottawa and the bidding wars that have erupted as a result.
Despite the good news for buyers, Wright sounded a cautionary note, saying, “we are still at a one-month supply of housing stock, so we aren’t out of the woods yet.”
Further on the issue of availability, the board recently released the results of a survey on seniors’ housing it conducted with the Ontario Real Estate Association and Nanos Research. The study urged municipal officials to address the increasing demand for a range of affordable and attainable housing options for Ottawa’s elderly residents within the next five years, especially in light of the devastating effect of COVID-19 on long-term care homes and seniors’ residences.
Recommendations of the report included greater municipal flexibility on regulations and permits for additions and main-floor in-law suites in existing homes.
Resale prices up again but may be levelling
June’s average resale price for a non-condo property was $725,970, up 26 per cent compared to one year ago. Condos averaged $435,198, an increase of 21 per cent.
While those prices have made homes unaffordable for some first-time buyers, Wright said there are signs we’ve reached a levelling out, especially as it relates to average prices, which recently have not experienced the drastic increases seen earlier in 2021.
“Properties are not moving as quickly as they were,” she said. “Inventory has picked up; there is less scarcity and more choices — consequently, less upward pressure on prices. Additionally, we are noticing fewer of the multiple-offer frenzy situations.”
The easing of Ottawa’s resale market in June corresponded with a cool-down in some other markets, including Toronto and Vancouver. That wasn’t the picture in every city, however. In Calgary, sales jumped a record-setting 65.3 per cent compared to the same month last year.
If Ottawa’s resale market is indeed shifting, some participants will have to adjust, noted Wright. “This start of a perhaps equilibrium in the market is good news for buyers, while sellers are going to have to adjust to this new normal and be more strategic in their positioning.”