HOUSING MARKET OUTLOOK 2011 - OTTAWA
Stability continues to characterize residential real estate activity in the nation’s capital, despite an anticipated dip in the number of homes sold in 2010. Approximately 14,200 properties are expected to change hands in Ottawa this year, down from the peak 2009 level of 14,923 units. Yet, housing values continue to climb, up almost seven per cent to $325,000 at year-end 2010, more than $20,000 ahead of last year’s figure of $304,801.
First-time buyers were, in large part, behind the push for resale properties throughout 2010, stimulating sales of entry-level product, including condominiums. Condominium sales were up significantly as a result, representing close to one in four properties sold in Ottawa this year. Affordability has been a key factor, with units located in high-rise buildings in the downtown core most sought-after by entry-level purchasers. Empty nesters and retirees have also gravitated to the lifestyle, choosing to downsize to larger units in the city’s most coveted neighbourhoods. The upper end of the market has been robust as well, with sales over $750,000 up about 15 per cent over one year ago. Inventory levels have been on the upswing in the latter half of 2010, rising over 2009 numbers, but lower than in years past.
Supporting Ottawa’s housing market in 2011 are the same solid economic fundamentals that have buoyed this vibrant city in years past. A stable employment picture, combined with relatively low unemployment levels, and job security have anchored the market, providing home-buyers with the confidence necessary to realize homeownership.
Market conditions will remain static moving into 2011, with the supply of homes listed for sale meeting demand in Ottawa. Housing sales are expected to match 2010 levels, while average price is forecast to appreciate another five per cent to $340,000 by year-end 2011. Upward trending in condominium values will continue to outperform freehold properties in the New Year, as demand for affordable housing remains front and centre. First-time buyers will lead the charge once again, spurred by low interest rates and favourable market conditions.