By John King, Broker of Record with Engel & Völkers Ottawa –
“Slow and steady wins the race.” That’s advice my father gave me and it is proving to be true for Ottawa real estate owners and investors.
Homeowners in Toronto and Vancouver have done extremely well in recent years with double-digit price increases; however, forecasts in the Canadian real estate market in 2017 are fairly pessimistic. The average house price is predicted to fall by 4 per cent this year on a national basis. The combination of the new BC real estate tax on foreign buyers and tighter federal mortgage rules is expected to cool off red-hot markets in Toronto and Vancouver, making it harder for first-time buyers to get into the market.
But while Ottawa has missed out on much of the recent euphoria, 2017 promises to reward local homeowners and investors for their patience. I’ve identified 10 reasons why 2017 is a great time to own and invest in Ottawa, particularly inside the greenbelt and in the Centretown-West Ottawa corridor.
1. The “Trudeau Effect”
An expanding federal government will increase public service jobs in the national capital and the city’s population. A growing federal workforce is the biggest factor that will positively impact demand for local real estate.
2. Exciting Redevelopment Projects
New commercial developments are making Ottawa’s downtown a better place to live and shop. Projects like the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park, the proposed redevelopment of LeBreton Flats, the Innovation Centre in Bayview yards in Mechanicsville and the construction of a new City Library on the east side of Centretown will make Centretown-West neighbourhoods more vibrant.
3. New Development in the Downtown Core
New residential developments are bringing more people into central neighbourhoods. The new Zibi development at Lebreton Flats, Greystone Village in Old Ottawa East, and Trinity Development Group’s 3-tower complex of 50+ storeys in Lower Hintonburg are three examples of big new projects that will bring thousands of permanent residents back to the city’s core.
4. The LRT’s Impact
The LRT’s (Light Rail Transit) effect on local real estate will start to be felt. The Confederation Line—Phase 1 of the Light Rail Transit project—will open in 2018, with 13 stations and 12.5 kilometres of track taking passengers east-west from Tunney’s Pasture to the Gloucester Centre at Blair Road. It will make neighbourhoods adjacent to the route—Westboro, Wellington Village, Hintonburg, Mechanicsville, Little Italy, Centretown and Sandy Hill—more accessible and more desirable. The train promises to be fast, quiet and air-conditioned and is expected to have more than 250,000 riders per day. Like other cities with mass transit systems, Ottawa properties located within walking distance of an LRT station will inevitably become more valuable in the future, making them an attractive investment to buy now.
5. Urban “Intensification”
City zoning changes that encourage “intensification” are creating new investment and new development. Contractors are snapping up single family homes inside the Greenbelt, with the intent to replace them with multi-unit dwellings, in some cases more than doubling the density and the value of the property. New regulations will allow homeowners to convert or construct carriage homes adjacent to their existing houses to create new rental housing.
6. Increased International Interest
As Vancouver and Toronto become more expensive for foreign buyers looking to invest in Canada, Ottawa will increasingly be on their radar. We are already seeing an influx of foreign buyers and increased traffic to our web site from foreign investors.
7. Steadily Growing Population
Ottawa is growing. Ottawa’s population is expected to grow by another 25,000 to 975,000 this year and surpass 1 million citizens by 2019. If you include the Quebec side of the river, the total metropolitan population of the National Capital Region will be more than 1.4 million people. With all the amenities of a national capital, residents have access to cultural institutions usually associated with a much larger city.
8. Incredible International Events
Ottawa continues to evolve into a truly world-class multicultural city. In 2017, Ottawa will host a number of international events that put it on the map for international buyers. Ottawa will host Canada’s 150th birthday, the Grey Cup, and Tim Hortons’ Roar of the Rings Curling tournament to name a few. With most of Ottawa’s population growth coming from immigration, the multicultural nature of Ottawa will continue to flourish.
9. Optimism in the Private Sector
Ottawa’s private sector continues to grow and create new jobs. Ottawa boasts the largest concentration of engineers and scientists in Canada. Ottawa’s technology sector has more than 1,800 companies and 68,000 employees, making it second only to the federal government. The tech jobs lost with the collapse of Nortel are now being replaced by hundreds of small and medium-sized technology firms. Some of these are destined to be the next Shopify in terms of commercial success and job creation.
10. Ottawa’s Unmatched Lifestyle
Ottawa’s affordable housing and quality of life make it an ideal place to start a business, raise a family and invest in real estate. Ottawa’s generous green spaces, access to bike paths, canals, waterways and ski resorts offer an unequalled quality of life to local residents.
Putting all of these factors together makes Ottawa an outstanding place to invest in real estate in 2017 and beyond. The economy is solid, population is growing, government regulations are favourable, demand continues to be strong and prices remain affordable—for now. It’s never been a better time to invest in Ottawa real estate!
If you are interested in learning how to take advantage of these opportunities and invest in Ottawa real estate, contact John King or any of our team members at Engel & Völkers Ottawa.