Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ottawa house prices lag behind only Vancouver and Toronto

Ottawa homeowners have been waiting many months for a sign that the country’s lopsided housing markets are set to return to equilibrium. They didn’t get one in January.
While the benchmark price for single-family homes in Ottawa increased 4.8 per cent year-over-year in January to $373,000, that was still far behind the 24.4 per cent and 15.9 per cent gains posted in greater Toronto and Vancouver, respectively, over the same period.
The Ottawa housing market did hold up well against Regina (up 4.6 per cent) and Montreal (up 3.9 per cent). Benchmark prices for single-family homes actually fell year-over-year in Calgary (down 2.1 per cent) and Moncton, N.B. (down 0.4 per cent).
The figures are from an analysis published Wednesday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Nor does CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump see much evidence that prices in the two big markets will reverse anytime soon. “The shortage of homes available for sales has become more severe, particularly in and around Toronto and in parts of B.C.,” he said. “Unless sales activity drops dramatically, the outlook for home prices remains strong in places that face a continuing supply shortage.”
The Ottawa real estate market is considered roughly in balance. But while that’s true of the city as a whole, there was a large variation in price changes by district.
The biggest gains year-over-year were recorded in Hunt Club/Windsor Park (up 15 per cent) and Billings Bridge/Riverside (up 14.1 per cent). Price is likely a factor here. Indeed, the January benchmark price for single family homes in the five real estate districts that recorded the fastest gains ranged between $335,500 and $433,500.  These districts are all just outside the city core, a relatively straightforward commute by car or transit — and affordable for many two-income families.
Of course, much the same can be said of the five laggard districts, suggesting other factors are at play as well. Three of the laggards — Britannia/Lincoln Heights, Qualicum and Knoxdale — saw benchmark prices for single family homes actually drop compared to January 2016, though only by a small amount. Prices for homes sold in these districts ranged between $371,100 and $491,700.
The most expensive district in January, as usual, was Rockcliffe Park, where the benchmark price reached nearly $1.2 million, up two per cent from a year earlier. The lowest price for single family homes — $309,600 — could be found in Bells Corners. That was up 2.7 per cent from January, 2016. 
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