Million-dollar home sales helped heat up the Ottawa housing market to kick off the new year, as the lack of inventory pushed prices to "levels previously unseen."

The Ottawa Real Estate Board says 936 residential properties were sold in January, compared to 963 homes in January 2021. The January home sales were above the five-year average for total home sales in January of 840.

The average sale price for a residential class property last month was $771,739, up 14 per cent from a year ago.

According to the Ottawa Real Estate Board, homes selling for over $1 million accounted for 14 per cent of detached homes sold in January.

“Average prices continue to rise steadily with the lack of inventory pushing prices to levels previously unseen. We only need to observe the number of homes now selling over $1M for a clear demonstration," said Penny Torontow, president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

"In 2020, they represented three per cent of residential sales, in 2021, they held 9 per cent of the market’s resales, and now in 2022, that number reflects close to 14 per cent of detached home sales.”

The Ottawa Real Estate Board says residential-class properties selling within the $650,000 to $900,000 range represented 47 per cent of all sales in January, compared to 31 per cent in 2021.

"But we must keep in mind, average prices statistics amalgamate data from the entire city, so while in some areas the increases would be less, other pockets of Ottawa may see more,” advises Torontow.

Overall, the Ottawa Real Estate Board says January's sales "were very strong for a traditionally slower month."

There were 661 residential-property class properties sold, down two per cent from 2021, while 275 condominiums were sold.

“This increased activity compared to previous years is not solely a pandemic phenomenon," said Torontow. "Yes, the pandemic has accelerated market activity in some ways, but pent-up Buyer demand due to the housing supply shortage has been an ongoing fundamental issue for the Ottawa resale market for well over 5 years now – and the price increases will continue to reflect that until the housing stock grows.”