Ottawa sees 51 per cent increase in March home sales

By Maureen McEwan

Once again the Ottawa real estate market is breaking records this spring with a 51 per cent increase in home sales in March compared to last year.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) reported that 2,285 residential properties were sold in March 2021 while 1,514 were sold in March 2020. Those sales included 1,705 in the “residential-property class” and 580 in the “condominium-property category,” according to the organization. 

The five-year average for total sales in March was 1,688. 

Debra Wright, OREB president, said there were a number of factors that contributed to the jump. 

“Typically, real estate is heavily influenced by the weather, and we had remarkable and unseasonably warm temperatures last month, which facilitated buyers’ ability to view and purchase homes,” stated Wright in a press release April 7. 

Wright added that there was a “significant uptick” in the number of new listings on the Ottawa market. 

“This total (2,798) was higher than the 5-year listing average, which hadn’t happened since July 2020, when the first lockdown ended. Ongoing pent-up buyer demand meant that most of the properties that came on the market in March were quickly acquired,” Wright stated. 

COVID-19 measures also impacted the final numbers. 

“The 51% increase in transactions over last year can be attributed to the State of Emergency, which commenced mid-March 2020 and impacted overall sales that month. Measuring against a drastically reduced comparable made this year’s figure jump,” Wright stated. 

The average price for a condominium-class property was $437,041 in March, which was an increase of 18 per cent from last year. The average price for a residential-class property was $758,802, up 35 per cent from March 2020. 

“These accelerated price growths are purely a result of long-term inventory shortage. I don’t believe that Ottawa’s market is by any means out of control but rather is coming into its own,” Wright stated. “However, until there is action at all three levels of government to resolve our supply challenges, our housing prices are not going to stabilize. And this phenomenon is not occurring in our market alone; housing stock scarcity is a nation-wide issue.”

“We have already seen an upturn in new listings coming onto the market, and we are hopeful this trend will continue. In fact, there may be some pent-up supply as sellers have held back during the pandemic even though the market has been more active than expected throughout,” she added. 

On April 7, the OREB also reported an increase in rentals. Since the beginning of the year, OREB members assisted clients with renting 1,079 properties compared to 746 this time in 2020. 

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