No slow time for Ottawa real estate: OREB president

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A Toronto real estate brokerage has declared Jan. 20 as the day when real estate prices in that city are at the very lowest every year.

But while The Red Pin brokerage might have the numbers to prove that’s the case in Toronto, the president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board said the same is not true in the nation’s capital.

Citing numbers from December, David Oikle said the Ottawa market is strong all year, adding there are no real pros or cons to buying or selling in any month.

Mr. Oikle did say that if a home’s backyard is important to a prospective buyer – whether it has a pool, for example – he or she might want to see it outside of the winter months.

The Red Pin said from 2010 through 2014, it found home prices in Toronto averaged $22,338 less in January than in any other month.

Red Pin’s research indicates January sellers are more often putting homes on the market out of necessity. In other cases, sellers might be ready to lower the asking price on houses that have already been on the market for a while. As well, with fewer people shopping for homes in January while they try to pay off holiday debts, it is easier to avoid bidding wars.

“There might be less inventory, but sellers at this time are generally highly motivated,” The Red Pin co-founder Rokham Fard said in a statement. “This creates a buyer’s market … but, buyers have to move fast. It’s a short window. A home is a huge purchase, and we’d never suggest rushing into such a deal. We’re simply saying that if you are in the market for a new home, the inconvenience of the cold and snow could pay off with serious savings.”

Those savings could come in handy, if new data from the 11th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2015 is any indication.

The survey assesses 378 markets in nine countries using a median multiple – that is, the median house price divided by gross annual median household income – to determine affordability.

Anything above 5.1 is considered severely unaffordable, a range of 4.1 to 5.0 is seriously unaffordable and a rating from 3.1 to 4.0 is deemed moderately unaffordable.

Ottawa falls into the moderately unaffordable range with a ranking of 3.7 – considerably better than markets such as Toronto and Vancouver, which both landed in the severely unaffordable category.

In fact, Vancouver was rated the second least-affordable city in the world in which to buy a home, according to the survey. Only Hong Kong has pricier housing, the survey said.