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Canada

Ottawa house prices surge nearly 17 per cent in November, as average home price tops $500,000

If you’ve been thinking about buying a house in Ottawa, sales data from November at first glance looked downright scary. The average price for residential properties in the resale market shot up nearly 17 per cent year over year to $501,200, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. That’s a record for Ottawa, albeit just marginally ahead of the average in June.

“Our inventory is not having a chance to build as it is being absorbed as quickly as it comes on the market,” said board president Dwight Delahunt, adding that one of the factors behind November’s price spike involved the type of house selling fastest. He pointed out the number of sales featuring homes in the $750,000 to $1 million bracket nearly tripled year over year to 65 units in November, while real estate agents also sold 29 $1 million plus properties compared to just 15 in November 2018.

The gain in last month’s prices was also somewhat exaggerated by an unusually weak November 2018.  Had residential house prices reflected the average trend line from September to December last year, the gain recorded in November 2019 would have been a comparatively modest 11 per cent — still robust but not out of line with the year-over-year gains posted during most of the second half of this year.

The market for condominiums resold in November saw average price gains year over year of nearly 10 per cent to reach $313,700. However, price increases downtown and surrounding areas were more moderate. Condos in the downtown core for instance sold for an average $414,500 in November, down marginally from a year earlier. Condos resold just west of downtown fetched $349,700 in November, down 2.4 per cent, while they sold for an average $264,400 in the south, up 3.5 per cent compared to November 2018.  Only in areas east of downtown did condos gain appreciably in value. The average purchase price last month was $309,100 — up 26 per cent year over year.

Across the city there was wide variation in the residential resale market, with average price movements ranging from a 31.5 per cent gain for the 35 properties sold year to date in the district that includes Country Place, Pineglen and Crestview, to a nearly seven per cent drop for the 105 residences sold in Bells Corners. Both of these extremes were influenced by unusual sales activity in a section of each district.

In the Country Place district six homes sold in the area north of West Hunt Club Road and west of the Rideau River for an average $820,500 compared to two sales in this sub-district in the first 11 months of 2018, for just $644,000.  Even so, price gains throughout the wider district were robust.

The Bells Corners district happens to include Cedar Hill and Orchard Estates, which year to date have recorded just five sales averaging $1 million for each property compared to 11 million dollar sales during the same period in 2018.  Price increases in other parts of the Bells Corner district ranged from 10 per cent to 20 per cent year over year.

Overall, half the 46 real estate districts tracked by this newspaper registered average price rises in excess of 10 per cent with a heavy concentration in the western areas of the city.  Among the exceptions were Lower Town -Sandy Hill (average price of $663,700 — up 12.6 per cent), Vanier ($473,000 — up 12.4 per cent), Hunt Club -South Keys ($469,800 — a gain of 11.8 per cent) and Carlsbad Spring ($447,100 — up 11.3 per cent).

Of course, a few western districts also recorded year over year reversals or were among the smallest gainers.  This included the district of Carlingwood-Westboro where sales of residential properties averaged $900,000 in the 11 months to November, down one per cent from the same period in 2018.  Perhaps a little price resistance here.

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