The lockdown seemed to have little effect on Ottawa’s May resale market, as sales, inventory and prices all surged far above the same month last year, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Condominiums fared especially well, signalling an apparent end to the declines that market experienced early in the pandemic.
“Undoubtedly, enhanced safety measures and vaccine adoption rates have enabled potential buyers and sellers to feel more protected and comfortable in their home buying and selling process,” said board president Debra Wright in a statement.
Despite the increases, there may be signs that the local market is headed toward more balanced territory and a slowdown in price growth.
Sales transactions, inventory spike
Realtors using the board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sold 2,296 residential properties in May compared with 1,342 in May 2020, an increase of 71 per cent. They sold 1,779 non-condo properties and 517 condos, increases of 67 and 85 per cent respectively compared to the same month last year.
While sales numbers in Ottawa’s May resale market grew, so did inventory levels, a positive sign in a market where a drought of resale homes over the past few years has helped drive prices skyward.
Twice as many new listings entered the market in May 2021 compared to last year, with 2,386 residential properties and 727 condos added to inventory, according to the board. That’s about 50 units more than the five-year average for new listings in May.
Prices increases may be moderating
The average sale price for a non-condo property in May was $741,206, an increase of 35 per cent from a year ago. Condos averaged $424,843, an increase of 24 per cent.
However, Wright said month-over-month average price increases for April and May are not as high as the jumps in the first quarter of 2021, a possible signal the rapid price acceleration Ottawa has seen in its resale market may be easing.
Also looking ahead, she added, “As we come out of this lockdown, we will closely monitor other market factors including… whether pent-up supply will decrease our supply shortage and eventually bring Ottawa’s real estate market to a more balanced state.”
According to a recent survey by the real estate search portal Point2, Ottawa is Canada’s second most attractive city for millennials based on factors such as home prices, income and life satisfaction. A return to a more balanced resale market would likely make it an even more attractive city for all age groups.