A low resale inventory took a bite out of November’s housing market, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB).
The board reports that its members sold 1,165 properties through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) System compared to 1,232 in November 2017. The decrease of 5.4 per cent is the largest monthly drop so far during a year when, despite tight inventory levels, board members have mostly achieved higher month-over-month sales.
“Even though home sales are down this month compared to a year ago, this is simply a reflection of the lack of inventory that we have been experiencing all year,” OREB president Ralph Shaw said in a statement. “Unit sales would have been higher if only we had the selection and supply.”
Shaw also pointed out the ripple effect of a low inventory: not only are many buyers unable to find a suitable property, sellers are keeping their homes off the market because they, in turn, can’t find a resale home they want to buy.
Condo sales slip
While condo sales have been going gangbusters for most of the year, jumping more than 33 per cent in April and over 24 per cent in October compared to the same periods in 2017, last month they grew a paltry 0.3 per cent over 2017.
Non-condo properties saw a drop of 7.2 per cent in November compared to the same month last year.
Despite a slippage in condo resales in November, that market is up 14.3 per cent year to date over 2017.
“Robust sales over the last two years have stabilized the oversupply that previously existed in our condo market,” said Shaw. “Given that the rental market is as tight as it is, the condo market is not necessarily being driven by lifestyle choice but more often is purely about fulfilling accommodation needs.”
Prices rise in November
The average resale condo went for $285,764, an increase of 11.1 per cent over the same month last year. Non-condo properties averaged $429,039, up 2.6 per cent compared to November 2017.
Despite good price growth all year, Shaw said that Ottawa average home prices remain lower than the national average.
That helps make Ottawa a desirable place to live and work, he said.
“When you look at what’s happening in real estate markets across Canada, Ottawa’s market performance is the polar opposite.”