We are having the best year since 2010 in Ottawa real estate, with unit sales and prices up nicely and listing inventories dropping significantly from some historical highs in 2015.
Overall unit sales are up 10.8% and average prices are up 7.2% to $398,872 across the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB)
Builders are reporting an extraordinarily strong year with one report indicating a 44% hike in unit starts and one builder reporting that sales have doubled in the first half of the year!
So how is Stittsville doing? Stittsville market is keeping pace with overall growth with the exception of areas north of Hazeldean Rd which is fairly flat in both sales growth and price increases.
Desperate need of more listing inventory north of Hazeldean Rd!
MLS® zone 8211
Unit sales are down 7.6% compared to midway in 2016 and average prices are pretty flat with an increase of .5% to $393,237.
Very limited listing inventory may be the cause of relatively fewer sales, for example, this area has only 22 total listings at time of writing and that is barely one month’s worth of sales! So this is a great time to be selling in Stittsville North (Fairwinds, Jackson Trails, Bryanston Gate, Timbermere, Poole Creek) especially.
One would have thought that this should push average prices higher but is not the case thus far. The other two Stittsville zones below have a more reasonable 3 months’ worth of listing inventory, although still much lower than in previous years.
Central Stittsville: (MLS® zone 8202 between Hazeldean Rd. and Abbott St.)
Unit sales are up 25.6% and average prices up 8.2% to $468,745. 55 residential properties currently listed.
South Stittsville: (MLS® zone 8203)
This area is also seeing strong results with unit sales up 21.7% and the average price up 5.8% to $512,666. 50 residential properties currently listed.
Builder competition: With so much new construction in Stittsville and Kanata, the resale market is always competing with builders. This can have an effect on those selling, particularly if the home is less than 5 years old and the builder still offers that particular model for sale.
Builders have been raising prices this year, along with the market overall.
Construction disruption: Some streets/neighbourhoods may have resale affected by new construction in adjoining parcels of land, particularly where that development may change the ambience or traffic patterns.
The military invasion continues! With the migration of DND HQ to DND Carling Campus at Moodie Dr., Stittsville and Kanata continue to be very popular for military families.
If you would like more information on this or any other neighbourhood and are not currently working with another Realtor by all means give us a call 613-435-4692 or check us out at our online co-ordinates below.
Our Ottawa market is showing some strong signals that we may be seeing a return of seller’s market conditions, with stronger demand, rising prices and the increase in the number of multiple offer situations. This can be a stressful experience for all parties, particularly buyers who have not experienced the process.
We recently competed in a multiple offer (representing a buyer) on a detached single home in the south end which attracted 5 offers within 48 hours of being listed on MLS®. We were not successful with our offer and our buyers were very disappointed but we gave it our best shot in the fast paced process surrounding these types of situations.
Here are some of the key challenges in the process:
Compressed timelines: The listing was just posted on MLS® later on Monday. We alerted our buyers to the new listing that evening and requested a showing directly via the listing agent that night. We actually viewed the property twice on Tuesday, once with one of our buyers and the 2nd time with both buyers. (one of our buyers was actually able to take the day off work to get in to see property as early as possible)
We submitted an offer on Tuesday evening that was slightly over asking price, as we expected that demand would be reasonably strong given the amount of showing activity on the listing. We were aware of the fact that another offer was pending and it had been submitted just prior to our own offer.
Our buyers revised their offer price upwards, based on the 2nd offer.
The listing salesperson had now established an offer presentation time for Wednesday later afternoon. By early-mid afternoon Wednesday, we were aware that there were now a total of 4 offers registered on the property. (there ultimately ended up being 5 offers submitted)
Our buyers revised their offer price upwards a 2nd time to their absolute maximum and we submitted revised documentation to the listing sales person.
Buyer roller coaster: Buyers are caught on a roller coaster of emotions: from the elation of seeing a property they both really want in their price range and area, to happily submitting an offer which is over the listing price and hoping there are not too many offers, to frustration from waiting around without any control of the situation, to stressing about how much one should offer and avoiding temptation to overpay or remove some important condition from the offer which may help “win” the property bid but prove costly later, to the anticipation of waiting and hoping your offer will make it to the top of the pile, to the disappointment that comes from finding out that it was a good offer but not quite good enough.
Sellers are happier but not stress free: Sellers are definitely the beneficiaries of the best possible market value in these scenarios but they are certainly not stress free. This young family was pretty much shut out of their home for the better part of 2 days while buyers and their agents toured the property.
These sellers also have a home they are buying, so until their own property sells and firms up, they are not 100% sure of securing their own dream home. Even if it looks pretty good right now, it is still not over until the final paperwork is done with any buyer conditions satisfied.
Buyer representatives have a lot of conflicting pressures: All buyer representatives want the right property for their buyers and at the right price. While one-on-one negotiations with a listing agent and seller have one set of challenges and variables, multiple offer situations are completely different and the buyer representative has far less control or influence over the outcome.
Price, closing date and conditions are the critical factors and we want our buyers to win but not pay too much or sacrifice important conditions. i.e. like foregoing a home inspection or not including a financing condition.
Add to this the uncertainty of knowing what the “winning” price might be and how to properly advise buyers is a challenging task.
No “cake-walk” for the listing salesperson, either: The listing sales person has their own set of pressures in professionally representing the seller, co-ordinating access for showings, communicating on a timely basis with all interested parties and running a well-organized and credible multi offer submission, advising sellers on bid selection, negotiations and debriefing all who have submitted offers. This is a pressure packed process for them as well. In this case, we had a very professional listing salesperson who very ably managed all of these from our vantage point.
Everyone’s life is “on hold”: All parties to these situations are pretty much “on call” as the dynamics of these situations unfold and the process lurches towards a conclusion. Don’t miss out on a phone call, text or email-as you may lose out on timely information or ability to act upon that information. When the ultimate prize is so important, everything is circumspect and under a microscope. Did we do everything we could? Was there more information we should have had? Should we have been more aggressive? How much risk should we take?
This is definitely starting to look like a “you snooze…you lose” kind of market: What about the buyer representative who missed the listing or the buyer who wasn’t quick enough to even get in to see it? What about the buyer representative who wasn’t available to get their buyers in to see the property? What about the buyer who said: “let’s wait for an Open House”?
Bottom Line: It is always disappointing to “lose” but our buyers did everything they possibly could and are moving on to the next one. Our job is to find them an even better one than the one that got away and it’ll happen for them!
Though January is typically the lowest sales month of the year, (along with December) there are some very positive trends in the current market.
Strong residential sales in January 2017:
Unit sales have been trending up steadily since April 2016 and January continued that trend. Unit residential sales were up a solid 16.6% for the month and overall residential and condo sales were 8.6% higher than the 5 year average for January. Condo unit sales were flat in January but did sell at a higher price than a year earlier.
Listing inventory trending down:
This is a key category and indicator of overall market activity. We experienced several years (2013-2015) of increasing inventory levels which led to a supply/demand imbalance favouring buyers. Starting in spring 2016 this indicator started moving in the opposite direction and moved in to a balanced position during 2016. See chart: https://public.chartblocks.com/c/5895b4b79973d295631e48dc via @chartblocks
January 2015 listing inventory is 15.2% lower for residential listings and 10.7% lower for the number of condo listings, compared to a year ago.
New listings in January were 11% lower than a year ago and condo listings for the month 4.6% lower.
Balanced market or seller’s market?
If we continue the combination of higher unit sales with lower numbers of new listings and total listing inventory, then we may see more pressure on buyers and higher prices and move more towards a seller’s market. This is what can occur when demand outstrips supply and can be characterized by shorter selling times, higher prices and the existence of more multiple offers on listings. We have not had sellers market conditions (except perhaps at a neighbourhood level) for 4 or 5 years now, here in Ottawa.
We have also had reports of strong sales from builders on new construction and inventory homes.
Overall average prices are not leaping forward, as has been the case for the last number of years but the trend suggests this could change if supply limitations drive prices up.
This is a very important time of year for both buyers and sellers, as market activity grows on a daily and weekly basis from now through peak season in May and June, so it is a good idea to get one’s plans in place and existing properties ready to sell.
These overall numbers may not apply to all neighbourhoods, so if you would like to get an analysis done for your own property or area, feel free to give us a call or call your Realtor. 613-435-4692
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691 email@example.com oasisrealtyottawa.com
One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
Here is a chart we have compiled from monthly Ottawa real estate board published unit sales results (residential and condo property unit sales/month) for the last 5 years. This demonstrates a pretty consistent annual pattern in the Ottawa market.
Spring is key: April through June are typically our peak sales months and this will come as no surprise for most. Government employees are relocating and families looking for a summer closing and move before the next school year, give this season a major boost. Each year Ottawa real estate handles some 800-1000 moves in to town by government personnel with an equal number moving away from Ottawa. The highest % of these are military and RCMP relocations.
Summer surprisingly strong: There is a significant myth that “real estate is dead in summer” and this table shows this is totally incorrect! July and August are typically the 4th and 5th busiest sales months of the year, so those who “wait until the market picks up in the Fall” are really doing themselves a disservice.
March, September and October: These are “shoulder” or transition sales months. March activity is increasing for the busy spring and September and October are marked by erosion of peak demand heading in to the slower fall and winter season.
November-February: Ottawa sales take a breather, as fewer people want to move during the winter time and seasonal vacations, holiday activity and weather all play a role in making house buying not quite as active. A lot of planning and preparation for the peak season can be done during January and February, so still an active period-just not as many sales.
Personal Objectives most important: What dictates selling or buying times is often based on a specific property being available and this then drives the sale of an existing home. Those with homes to sell will want to consider their buying and closing timelines in a way that optimizes selling an existing property if at all possible. For example, buying a new home that closes in February means one is selling an existing property in late fall in order to co-ordinate the new home purchase. This however, is not the best-selling market for the existing property-so the seller will have to take this in to account when doing their pricing and listing plans.
When will my property show best? Most properties will not show their best until mid-May when leaves are on the trees and everything has “greened up”, so some may wish to time their listing (and photo) plans accordingly. For example, a house with a pool will look much more inviting when the pool is open and warmer temperatures occur.
Is my property ready to list? It can take longer than one thinks to get a property in HGTV condition for listing and selling, so this must be planned in to the listing cycle.
Competition also a factor: The quality and number of head to head competitors to the property being sold (both new and resale) also factors in to the timing decision.
How long will it take my property to sell? Sellers will have to factor in both selling and closing time in to the planning timeline and these can vary widely by location, price point and property type.
Bottom line: There are a lot of variables to be considering in the listing, marketing and selling process and your Realtor is best equipped to help facilitate the process and optimize results based on all these factors. If one is planning a purchase or sale this year, January and February are the ideal months to sit down and have a planning discussion with your Realtor and any other key 3rd parties ie mortgage broker, stager, trades people.
If you are not already working with another Realtor, we are happy to provide a no cost, no obligation market evaluation of your property to help you with your real estate objectives.
With renewed local confidence and lots of government activity at all levels, 2016 was a turnaround year for the local real estate market and many key indicators suggest we could be in for a great year in 2017.
Positive key indicators: Unit sales growth: Unit sales improved by 6.3% overall with residential sales (which is 81% of the total units) increasing by 5.5% and condos coming in with a welcome 9.6% unit sales increase to the end of November vs the year before. New listings: The number of new listings decreased by 7.4% in the first 11 months of 2016 and this certainly helped move the supply/demand balance closer to a balanced market and away from some historically high inventory levels (and buyer’s market conditions) 2014 and 2015. Current listing inventory at year’s end is about as low as it has been in 4 or 5 years and this is a very positive sign, unless there is a backlog of chronic listings that sellers have carried over the winter and will relist in spring. Builder new construction sales: The last report we have seen suggests that builders have had a good bounce back year and have recorded a sales increase of 15-20% which is great news, although may be influenced by a larger number of new projects coming online and adding to the sales numbers.
Neutral indicators: Overall price increases: The average residential property sold in Ottawa through November 2016 sold for $396,700 an increase of 1.2%. The average condo sold for $260,880 virtually unchanged from 2015. These numbers continue the trend line in our market over the last 5 years where average prices have been mostly inflationary level. These pale compared to the price levels and average price increases which dominate the news and online media that we hear about from Toronto, Southwestern Ontario and Vancouver but is simply a sign of our stable market and the fact that real estate is very local in nature. Sales: new listings ratio: Our sales to new listings in Ottawa through November 2016 stand at 40.9% by our calculation which is right on the borderline between a balanced market and a buyer’s market. (40-60% is considered “balanced” with lower ratios favouring buyers and 60%+ favouring sellers) With current lower levels of listing inventory this ratio should continue to improve and provide us with balanced market conditions in 2017.
Bottom line: We are in the best position we have been in for some time and if sales demand continues or increases, we should see another positive year in 2017, although modest price increases are still most likely.
Lots of key factors to consider and there are many reasons why 2017 would be a good year to move on your real estate plans. Stay tuned for a future post on what may shape our market in 2017 and feel free to give us a call to discuss your own housing plans, 613-435-4692 as now is a great time to get a head start on a spring or summer sale.
October 2016 yielded another pretty good month in Ottawa real estate, buoyed by continued growth in Federal government headcount and spending. Sales were positive in the month of October with new home sales and condo’s leading the way.
New home sales up 18.5% year-to-date: The new home segment has seen a major surge this year and that is good news for builders. Some of these sales may challenge the resale market which is pretty flat in average price this year, although the number residential units sold is up 6.0% so far this year. Average selling prices are ahead only .9% overall for residential at $396,109.
Condo sales much better this year, up 9.1% Condo sales on MLS® (which also includes some new construction sales but not all) where up a whopping 27.2% in October and are showing a 9.1% increase year-to-date but average prices are again pretty flat with the average price sold at $259,925 unchanged.
Listing inventory pullback has helped the market: The number of new listings this year is down by about 7% overall and current inventories show the number of residential listings down 16.7% at the end of October and condo listings down 14.1%. Rental listings were also down by 28.9% at month’s end.
This has moved us away from some very high listing inventory levels experienced over 2014 and 2015 and keeps us in a much more balanced market.
How long does it take a property to sell in Ottawa? Our days-on-market to sell the average property has increased slightly to 58 days for residential properties (up from 55) and 73 days for the average condo (up from 68 days last year). This is a key statistic for those considering a sale to study in detail for their own area, as it is critical in assessing both marketing timelines and listing pricing. A Realtor can provide up to date and detailed information in this regard.
Most popular pricing categories: The $300,000 to $400,000 price category is the most active/popular range, followed closely by the $200,000-$300,000 price category.
Overall, 80% of residential sales in Ottawa are done at lower than $500,000 and 75%+ of condo sales are done at less than $300,000. These types of ratios are important for sellers to consider when listing, as it determines the size of the potential market for their property.
What’s next? We are entering the quieter period for real estate in Ottawa and while sales should continue strong vs previous years, the months of November-February are our 4 slowest months of the year. Sellers will want to carefully review pricing and competitive factors prior to listing their property for sale during this period.
Now may be best time to buy new construction for 2017 delivery: Buying new construction may be optimal at this time of year for closings in summer 2017, as those with existing homes to sell, will be able to sell in the busy spring market.
First time buyers will have more months to save and also possibly be able to use their 2016 tax year RRSP contribution for their down payment, in addition to getting the 2016 tax break.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage