Buyers prepare: Ottawa real estate market expecting steady growth

The good news for people selling homes in Ottawa means buyers need to prepare to act quickly, according to one real estate agent.

Average price for a home in Ottawa jumped 9 per cent in a year

Edgar Chavez sold his semi-detached home in Kanata over the course of a single day and all the offers were above asking price. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

The for-sale sign in front of Edgar Chavez's Kanata home still says the unit will be "coming soon," but it already sold — and it only took one day.

"I know the house is a pretty good unit but I was surprised by the amount of offers that I had just the same day that we put in on sale," Chavez said. "It was a great experience."

The four-bedroom semi-detached end unit with 2.5 bathrooms was put on the market Friday at 9 a.m. and the deal was done by 5 p.m., he said. The unit is 2,500 square feet, including the finished basement.

"We had seven offers at the end of the day. All of the seven offers were above the asking price."

Chavez is moving to Westboro with his wife after living in Kanata for five years. They bought the house new, but no longer need the space since their two children are moving out, he said.

Average price jumps from $396,266 to $434,502

The Ottawa Real Estate Board released statistics Thursday showing a growth in the number of homes resold by 10 per cent — from 1,985 properties in June of 2016 to 2,162 this year.

The average price for a home in Ottawa jumped from $396,266 to $434,502 — about nine per cent — from June 2016 to June 2017.

Ottawa Realty Group's Brent Mitchell said Kanata is certainly part of the larger growth trend in the city's housing market.

"The market is the hottest in the $300,000 to $400,000 range right now and you see a lot of homes in Kanata within that range," he said. "When the market is heating up in that area, it's going to hit Kanata." 

Brent Mitchell, a real estate agent with Greater Ottawa Realty, says buyers will have to prepare themselves for a more competitive market. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Stable local economy

Houses are staying on the market for shorter periods of time and there are more bidding wars, meaning buyers should prepare, Mitchell said.

"When it's a seller's market, and you're feeling pressure from other buyers trying to get those nice homes. You need to get certain things in order," he said.

"You need to have your team, your agent, your inspectors, your financing. All that needs to be ready to go to see that home that night if it pops up, or that morning if it comes up. You can't wait to the weekend to see that house, because that house won't be there."

The Ottawa Real Estate Board said the stable local economy and low interest rates have all helped people muster up the confidence to make a big ticket purchase. That appetite is expected to continue through the end of the year.

Seeking greener pastures

Ralph Shaw, president-elect of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, said there's also a surge in interest in "lifestyle" properties outside city limits.

"The Casselmans and the Rocklands in the east, the Kemptvilles and Smiths Falls in the south, and Almonte, Carleton Place, Arnprior in the west. That's a very easy drive in and very appealing to people," he said.

"Properties, like I say, that people don't need to buy, but they want to buy. It's a very confident market right now."

Homes in Ottawa are selling quickly, but there is also growing demand for properties in rural areas immediately outside the city, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

That resurgence usually happens on a seven-year cycle and could lead to an increase in prices, Shaw said.

"There's a limited supply of the stone farms and the waterfront homes. So when that market picks up, it's definitely going to have some price pressure on those areas."

Shaw also said Ottawa is attracting more international money from the Asia-Pacific region, but also other parts of the world.

The interest isn't strictly related to the Ontario government's recent rules restricting foreign investment, but the basics of economics.

"I think there's certainly Eastern money that's overlooking Vancouver and Toronto and Ottawa's a very stable, good market and therefore appealing," he said.  "I don't necessarily think that it's government intervention, but more just the sheer fundamentals of supply and demand and pricing."