Ottawa’s resale market in August red hot

Big hikes in sales volume, inventory levels and prices made Ottawa’s resale market in August a notable one, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

The increase in inventory may also be a first step toward restoring balance to a sellers’ market that has long been driven by a shortage of available properties, pushing demand and prices ever higher.

Sales volume continues to surge

Board members sold 2,017 residential properties through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) last month. That was a jump of 17 per cent over the 1,725 properties sold in August of last year and far outstripped the five-year average of 1,668 sales.

Non-condominium sales led the charge, up 22 per cent from a year ago. Condos were up a far more modest two per cent.

“August’s resale numbers were undoubtedly driven by the considerable increase in new listings that came onto the market in both July and August,” said board president Deb Burgoyne in a statement. “There were at least 300 more residential and 175 more condo listings added to inventory than we saw last year at this time. In fact, we have not seen new listing numbers like this since August 2015.”

Multiple reasons for inventory bump

Burgoyne pointed to various reasons for the inventory increase after at least two years of short supply:

  • Sellers capitalizing on their investment after a long period of price growth;
  • Homeowners selling so they can move into a new-build home or out of town, and;
  • Boomers downsizing or moving into rentals.

If the rate of properties coming onto the market is sustained, said Burgoyne, “it will surely bring some much-needed balance. For some time, as inventory comes on the market, it is quickly being absorbed. If this increased listing trend continues, at some point, the housing stock may finally build to a point that demand is going to be somewhat satiated.”

Prices up again, and buyers more pragmatic

In August, non-condominium properties spiked 22 per cent over the same month last year, hitting an average $592,548. Condos were up 24 per cent, selling for an average of $383,640.

For the year to date, prices are up 17 and 19 per cent for non-condominium properties and condos, respectively.

Ottawa’s market has been red hot for months now, and that’s contributing to “buyer burnout,” with would-be buyers tired of making offers unsuccessfully, said Burgoyne. That and other factors are making some buyers “more pragmatic and compromising on what they accept, whether it’s a home’s condition, age, or location,” Burgoyne said.

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