For 30+ years as  Realtor I have been giving investment advise to those in Ottawa and from other parts of the world  who realize how affordable it is to live here!  Whether I have clients purchasing an investment for their University aged children or moving to Ottawa for their retirement Ottawa offers a great quality of life.

Meet Kate and Alexander, who in 2018 bought a spectacular location here in Ottawa.  Moving from Toronto and saving thousands of dollars toward their retirement in the process.

How?

They left Toronto, the city famous for its high real estate prices, and they bought in Ottawa, where prices are dramatically lower and in line with national averages.

Alexander and Kate, who run a graphic design firm, spent nearly 30 years in Toronto where they raised their children. They loved their time in the big city but were looking ahead to what was next in their lives.  They then rediscovered the charm of Ottawa and decide to move.

In May of 2018, they moved to a wonderful location in the up and coming area of Tunney’s Pasture overlooking the Ottawa River and a top of the line condominium built by Uniform Developments. This 1650 square foot unit …. just needed some updating. With large principal rooms, 2 generous sized bedrooms & 2 full bathrooms the apartment had the potential to be outstanding and with a to die for view over the Ottawa River and the Chaudiere Falls + a city skyline.

The building was constructed in the mid 1980s, and Kate says the unit they purchased was tired and in rough shape after serving as a rental for many years.

But they recognized the potential. Even with the cost of four months of renovations, Kate estimates their Ottawa flat cost them about a third of what they would have paid for something similar in Toronto.

Compare prices in the two cities. In February of this year, the average sale price of a detached house in the city of Toronto was $1,294,936. In Ottawa that month, it was $466,540.

If you were looking for a condominium apartment in Toronto in February, the average sale price was $612,488. In Ottawa, it was $288,354 (for similar sized units).

And though it wasn’t the prices that inspired the couple to make the move, Kate says “financially, it was a terrific move for us.”

Kate and Alexander lived in Toronto from 1989 to 2018, raised their children there, and say they still love the city, but Kate says it was changing recently in ways they didn’t like. They both enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors, and she says in their last few years there, “Alexander and I had to drive farther and farther out to find clean green space for hiking. Toronto was wearing us down. We still love the city. We just didn’t want to live there anymore.”

On extended visits to Ottawa a few years ago to visit her parents, Kate says she and Alexander rediscovered the charms of a city she describes as “clean, green, calm and gorgeous.”

She mentions “the Ottawa River, the elegant downtown, charming neighbourhoods, excellent restaurant scene and art galleries. Ottawa offered a kind of mental and physical sense of relief. It felt like a place where we could thrive.”

In 2017, they started talking about a move. After years of gardening and shovelling snow, they decided they were ready for those chores to be handled by someone else, so they opted for a condo unit rather than a house.

They looked at seven buildings, but Kate says they couldn’t find anything that appealed to them as much as the Islandview Condominiums, situated just off of the John A. Macdonald Parkway, the scenic road that winds along the Ottawa River.

Their apartment, which they purchased in January of 2018, offers 1,650 square feet of open-concept space. They weren’t discouraged by the renovations it needed.

 “We’re from Toronto, so a complete reno was a given. The space was perfect and the architectural bones were good,” Kate says.

They spent four months renovating, including gutting and replacing the bathrooms and kitchen, installing hardwood floors and reducing the size of the large master bedroom to create two walk-in closets.

With its large square footage, the unit was above the average condo sale price in Ottawa, but even then, and with high-end renovations added, Kate says their final cost was well under $1 million.

“A similar unit in Toronto would have cost at least three times what we paid. But you’d never find a building like this, in a location like this.”

Outside their door are peaceful walking trails along the river. Just a kilometre away is the Parkdale Market, one of Ottawa’s most popular farmers’ markets.

“We have really enjoyed our first winter, with lots of skiing and snowshoeing,” Kate says. “Ottawa is a very outdoor-sports kind of town. In every season, people go outside and play. We love it.”

As for the apartment, she says, “Waking up here makes us happy. There are large windows on three sides, so sunlight brightens the space all day. Pink sunsets reflect off the river. Our view includes the Parliament Buildings and the city twinkles at night. The building is quiet and it feels very private.”

Kate says their Toronto friends have been wowed by what she and Alexander were able to purchase in Ottawa for the price. Two of their friends are already in line to purchase investment units in Islandview. Kate and Alexander also bought a second unit in the building for rental income, and have renovated it as well.

 “Alexander and I are fortunate in that we own and operate our own business, so we didn’t have to wait until we retired to make this move,” she explains.

But she says she wouldn’t be surprised to see other couples from Toronto following their move to Ottawa, where the homebuying dollar can go so much further.

“So many of our friends are nearing retirement, and Toronto does not offer them the lifestyle they desire at an affordable price.”

If you’re interested in Buying – Selling or Investing in the Ottawa, Ontario area, feel free to drop me a note at nancy@nancybenson.com  or give me a call 613.7474747. Further particulars regarding services I provide can be viewed  at  www.nancybenson.com.