Monday, November 18, 2013

Ottawa Housing Experts say region's hot market means jump in and buy dream home

By Megan Gillis, Ottawa Sun

First posted: Saturday, November 09, 2013 09:27 PM EST

Lots of choice plus mortgage rates that seem set to stay low equal good news for first-time buyers, according to a past president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Ansel Clarke said Ottawa’s a “balanced” and “stable” market with local realtors selling 1,090 residential properties last month. That’s up 2 per cent from October 2012 and spot on the five-year average, according to statistics released Tuesday.

Average sale prices were up – slightly – with a 1.6 per cent increase for condos to $270,542 and by 3.5 per cent to $381,580 for residential listings over last October. But the number of available properties of all types was up 8.6 per cent compared to last October with 9,142 active listings.

That means buyers can search the market and see what’s available while sellers need to watch trends in their neighbourhoods to be sure not to overprice their homes, Clarke said.

“It’s a great time to buy,” he said. “From all indications, the mortgage rates are going to continue to remain reasonable so it’s a great opportunity for anyone to get into the market. There’s lots of inventory, there’s good choice and the market is exhibiting stability.

“In places like Toronto, Vancouver, even the Calgary area it’s a lot more difficult for somebody to get into the market.” The average amount Canadians expect to spend on their first home is $300,000, according to a survey by BMO Financial.

That’s the price range for 20-something Ottawa couple Scott Nichols and Emily McFall. In Greenboro – an area they’re considering – that buys a townhouse Nichols said would be a perfect first home for two.

Yet they’ve looked at about 40 resale and model homes without taking the plunge. “We’re continuing to look for a deal at this point,” Nichols said. “We haven’t found anything we’re chomping at the bit to buy.

“It’s a huge amount of money and its going to be the biggest purchase of my life – it’s hard to commit.”

Seller Pauline Portelance, meanwhile, has been trying to sell her renovated and “cute” Vanier single on a tree-lined street minutes from downtown in the same price range.

“It’s a buyer’s market,” she said. “It’s incredible how many houses are for sale.”


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