Residential property market heating up, brokerage says

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Ottawa’s residential property market grew during the first half of 2016, according to a local real estate brokerage.

A total of 6,836 resale houses were sold during the first six months of 2016, a 5.5 per cent increase from the 6,478 resale houses that were purchased during the same period last year, according to RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group.

The company credited that growth to lower prices and increased consumer confidence among civil servants following last year’s election.

The average price for a residential property sold in Ottawa during the first six months of 2016 was $392,717, down from $397,846 in 2015, the company said.

"Momentum is beginning to build in the residential resale market, particularly under the $500,000 price point," Jeff Hooper, a broker at RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group, said in a release. “Almost half of all residential sales have occurred in the price range between $300,000 and $450,000, demonstrating how affordable housing is in Ottawa compared to other major Canadian cities.”

However, he said the trend towards lower prices could reverse itself.

"Should this trend of stronger sales and shrinking inventory continue, Ottawa’s balanced market could transition into seller’s territory in coming months," he said. "While the upswing in sales has yet to impact the average sale price, the decrease in supply is expected to place upward pressure on housing values within the next six to 12 months."

Some areas have seen particularly strong upticks in sales, the company said, including the Glebe and Westboro as well as neighbourhoods close to planned LRT stations such as Hintonburg, Ottawa West, Overbrook and Carson Grove.

The movement of staff by the Department of National Defence and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the west end is also boosting sales activity in Kanata, Barrhaven, and Stittsville, the brokerage said.