Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 780 residential properties in January of 2020 through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.

While that’s above the five-year average for January, which is 713, it’s down 4.5 % from the 817 properties that sold in January of last year, the Ottawa Real Estate Board reports.

The 780 properties sold included 558 in the residential property class (down 8.4 % from January of 2019) and 222 condominium units (up 6.7 % from the number sold in January of last year).

If you are considering selling, it means this could be a good time to list, as new listings, particularly in popular neighbourhoods, attract more attention than they would in a year with higher inventory.

The average sale price of a residential unit in January of 2020 was $516,229. That’s up 19.3 % over the average sale price in January of last year. The average sale price of a condo unit was $338,077, up 19.1 % from the average in January of last year.

Compared with December of 2019, the average sale price of a residential property in January was up 3.2 %, and the average sale price of a condominium unit was up 8.8 %.

Deborah Burgoyne, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, said that although the total number of properties sold in January was above the five-year average, it was lower than January of last year because “persistent supply challenges seem finally to have caught up with us.”

“Furthermore,” she added, “the number of new listings that came on the market in January (1,082) is well below the average (1,651).”

“We don’t expect this trajectory to change anytime in the foreseeable future. The supply chain needs to be buffered at all points along the continuum, from first-time and move-up buyers, to downsizing boomers as well as renters.”

On a bright note for buyers, prices in Ottawa for residential properties and condo units remain far below average prices in Toronto and Vancouver.

A full 55 % of all condo units sold in January were in the $200,000 to $349,999 range. The most active range in the residential market was from $400,000 to $549,999, making up 40 % of the residential property sales in January.

“The fact is Ottawa’s market has always been steadily increasing at a reasonable pace and is sustainable,” Deborah Burgoyne said.

“If buyers are waiting for prices to decline, based on historical trends, it’s not likely. Although supply may pick up eventually, if you need to get into the market, don’t wait,” she advises. “It’s a challenging market for everyone. Hire a trusted professional to ensure you are protected and well informed in your home buying or selling transaction.”

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

With the lower than usual inventory Ottawa has been experiencing, our city has become something of a seller’s market, particularly in the most in-demand neighbourhoods.

If you have been considering listing your property, the current Ottawa market could work to your advantage. When new listings enter the market, they receive a lot of attention from other agents and buyers.

If you are buying, the lower inventory can mean that you have to have clear ideas of what you want in a property, and, particularly in the most popular neighbourhoods, be prepared to make an offer quickly when you see something you like.

As it always does, the Ottawa Board cautions that while average sale prices for a specific month can be useful in establishing trends over time, they should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. As with any city, prices and conditions in Ottawa vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a property in the Ottawa area in 2020, I’d love to chat with you about current market conditions and forecasts for the coming year. With more than 30 years of experience I can put my experience and strategy to work for you.

Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.