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Year-over-year home sales in Ottawa up 6 per cent in May

A new home is displayed for sale, in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick A new home is displayed for sale, in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Ottawa Real Estate Board says home sales were up six per cent in May 2023 compared to a year prior, marking the first year-over-year unit sales volume increase since early last year.

New data released by OREB shows that members sold 1,939 residential properties last month, compared to 1,830 in May 2022.

"Typically the highest-selling month, May’s transactions did not disappoint," said OREB president Ken Dekker in a news release. "This month we saw the first year-over-year unit sales volume increase since February 2022."

There were 2,822 new listings in May, down nine per cent compared to May 2022 but up 32 per cent from April 2023.

Average sale prices are down year over year, the OREB says. House prices declined seven per cent to an average of $745,902, but on-par with prices in April 2023, when it was $747,123. Average condo prices dropped six per cent from 2022 to $442,859, which is also down two per cent from April 2023.

OREB says year-to-date average home sale prices are at $727,728, a 12 per cent drop from 2022. Condos are averaging $428,394, a nine per cent decrease.

However, the prices in May mark an increase over where prices were at the end of last year, Dekker says.

"We are not seeing steep price escalations yet. May’s average prices stayed on par with April’s, although prices are well over what we saw at the end of 2022," he said.

Dekker suggested the average sale price could surpass last year’s figures for a month over the same month in the latter half of 2023, provided interest rates did not increase. But on Wednesday, the Bank of Canada raised its overnight rate by 25 basis points to 4.75 per cent on Wednesday, its first increase since pausing hikes in January.

The central bank’s key interest rate has not been this high since April 2001.

Dekker says throughout 2022, there was a correlated drop in sales every time there was an interest rate hike.

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