OTTAWA -- Even in the middle of a pandemic, the housing market in Ottawa is hot. Prices are 15 per cent higher than they were in June of 2019.

Houses are selling for tens of thousands over asking price due to bidding wars. Some, close to $100,000 over.

“You don’t go buy a car that's listed at $30,000, you don’t buy it for 35, but you’re doing that with a house,” Says Frank Napolitano, mortgage agent at Mortgage Brokers Ottawa.

“Unemployment in Ottawa hasn’t been impacted nearly as much. We’ve got a good amount of government workers but the hi-tech is booming; their business has gone the other way with the pandemic.”

Although it is a great time to be selling, real estate agent Geoff Walker of Walker Real Estate Group says it could be worth your while to wait before you buy.

“Can you handle getting though the next two to three months because it may end up potentially changing the final sale price of the same property you might want to buy.”

Buying a house in the middle of a pandemic can be a little different from what most people are used to. Leah Kane says her experience went relatively well.

“The first few houses that we went in, there was definitely still some nerves and you’re so anxious about being in someone’s house. We tried really hard not to touch anything. Doors are all supposed to be left open, lights are supposed to be left on, to make sure that there’s minimal contact with the property,” she said.

Sales of homes and condominiums were slow this April and May vs 2019, but June has seen a huge uptick, almost back to 2019 levels, with an average price 15 per cent higher than last year.

Housing prices in Ottawa

Buyers are also seeing the benefits of some of the lowest interest rates ever, which is most likely adding to the hot housing market. 

“Buyers are having the opportunity to pay the majority of their payment as principle. It's not interest,” says Walker.

“If you’re buying a house with 20 per cent down or more, you’re in the 2.25 to 2.35 per cent range,” says Napolitano. “Most people have never experienced anything like that.”

Walker says, right now, there are more buyers than sellers in Ottawa, which is driving up prices. However, as more houses become available, the market should balance out a bit.