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Resale numbers in October meant trouble for some buyers

Ottawa’s resale numbers in October were close to the five-year average but continuing tight inventory means first-time buyers are struggling to get a toehold in the market, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

Realtors sold 1,677 properties through the board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) last month, which is slightly above the five-year average of 1,605 sales. Sales were down 21 per cent from last October’s 2,132, but high fall sales last year were the result of low sales in the spring because of the first pandemic lockdown.

Last month’s transactions included 1,263 non-condo properties and 414 condos.

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Inventory woes persist

Inventory remains at a one-month supply for residential properties and 1.2 months for condominiums, said board president Debra Wright in a statement. There were 1,960 new listings in October — just under the five-year average of 1,976 — but that wasn’t sufficient to make up for the long-running dearth of resale homes that have plagued the Ottawa market, including first-time buyers, in recent years.

“Low inventory and a lack of suitable housing options restrict movement along the housing spectrum. Move-up buyers and downsizers have nowhere to go, so they stay in place, but we need that exchange of properties in the marketplace to free up supply for entry-level homebuyers.”

Wright added that there’s been a notable increase in rental transactions through the MLS system. That suggests some properties have been purchased or held on to for investment purposes, again reducing the number of properties coming onto the market for sale.

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House prices up again

Along with a tight inventory, first-time buyers have been faced with sharp increases in housing prices over the past couple of years. Resale numbers in October show the average non-condo resale property cost $716,378, up 19 per cent from a year ago. Condos averaged $404,760, up 10 per cent.

Year-to-date, non-condo properties have averaged $720,150 and condos $419,515. Those prices have risen 24 and 16 per cent respectively compared to the same period last year.

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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.

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