A record-breaking 2020 for the Ottawa real estate market, new numbers show
OTTAWA -- While most of the world describes 2020 as the year we wish to forget, realtors in Ottawa may describe it as one of the most memorable.
2020 was a sales record-breaker in the National Capital Region.
“Ottawa is known to have one of the most consistent and stable economies and real estate markets on the continent, and despite all the craziness that occurred in 2020, Ottawa's economic resilience, stability, and consistency were on full display this past year,” says Taylor Bennett, a broker with Bennett Property Shop Realty.
“Last year we saw a large push toward low-maintenance living as more and more baby boomers entered their retirement years, and that trend has continued in 2020.”
Bennett says along with the baby boomers influencing the market, 2020 saw many first-time buyers enter into their homebuying years.
“As well as many out-of-town buyers that have migrated to Ottawa from across the country attracted to our economic stability and growth,” says Bennett.
“We have seen growth around 20 per cent almost all year long, even during the early months of the pandemic when things were a little more uncertain.”
Bennett explains that inventory levels are still at record low levels. All year, there was an increase in sales and a decrease in days-on-the-market.
Not only are more homes selling, but they are selling faster than ever.”
The Ottawa real estate district encompasses a large area, about five times Ottawa itself. It includes the downtown and suburban areas, and a number of rural areas too.
“While every area in the Ottawa real estate district saw increases this past year, not all areas increased at the same rate and there are still many affordable options in the outer areas of the city, “says Bennett.
“In fact, the average price difference between Inner and Outer Ottawa is over $200,000 or 33 per cent - a substantial difference regardless of your budget.”
Most condos are in Ottawa’s city limits. That is where the condo market experienced the most growth.
“But prices condos in the outside areas are still extremely affordable and are ideal for the low-maintenance lifestyle that many buyers desire.”
Condos in Ottawa were over $130,000 (or 36%) more expensive than condos in areas outside of Ottawa.
“Last year we saw bungalows at the top of this residential list, while they are still in very high demand.”
The average price, according to Bennett, doesn’t fit everyone's budget.
“Similar low-maintenance styles have seen an increase in demand - both split level and high ranch offer far fewer stairs than a traditional 2-level home, and condos simply provide a smaller interior to keep up and require less exterior maintenance providing a very retirement-friendly lifestyle.”
Bennett says row houses are found near the top of both of these lists since they can be large enough for a young couple or young families.
They are also small enough to offer the low-maintenance lifestyle Baby Boomers are seeking.
From a real estate perspective, one of the major impacts of COVID, according to Bennett, is that it reduced, or removed, the need to be close to the office.
“But it increased the need for a larger dwelling as we have all been spending a lot more time at home. The majority of the homes found in these top five areas are more spacious, found on larger lots, and are less expensive than their inner-city counterparts.”
Bennett says, with the exception of Manotick, the average prices in these areas are below Ottawa's average price.
“The major factor that has greatly benefitted buyers to help stay competitive in this growing market is the mortgage interest rate also being at a record-low level. Even though prices have increased substantially this year, buyers saw their purchasing power increase as well.
"While prices increased by almost 20%, the average monthly mortgage payment only increased by 8% - making the growth in the market far less daunting.”
A more in-depth look at Ottawa’s Real Estate Stats:
To learn more about the Ottawa Real Estate Market, you can listen to Marnie Bennett and Taylor Bennett on “The Bennett Real Estate and Wealth Show”, Saturdays at 1 p.m. on Newstalk 580 CFRA.