It will not surprise anyone that the number of properties sold in Ottawa in April was down in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, but there is also considerable good news to share about prices, I’m happy to report.

The average sale price for condo units and residential-class properties were up more than 6% in April, and the year-to-date numbers show increases of more than 15% for both types of properties, the Ottawa Real Estate Board has announced in its report on sales figures for April of 2020.

Members of the Board sold a total of 913 residential properties in April through the Multiple Listing Service system (MLS). That is down 55% from the number sold in April of 2019. Those sales included 700 in the residential-property class and 213 in the condominium-property class. The five-year average for sales in April in the Ottawa area is 1,692.

What I noticed in April was that while the number of people listing their properties was obviously lower than usual, there is still a lot of demand, and Ottawa remains very much a  seller’s market, as it was before the crisis.

Sellers who listed their homes at market value saw their properties sell quickly, and in most cases above the list price.

Those sellers who have listed their homes or condos above their actual market value have been unable to sell their property as it’s not aligned with the market. This however has nothing to do with the demand during the COVID19 crisis.

The real estate industry was deemed an essential service by the Ontario government, to assist buyers or sellers who were in the midst of transactions and needed to continue to buy or sell a property.  In those cases, we have worked while practising distancing and following provincial recommendations. Our paperwork, for example, can be done electronically. And though we cancelled open houses, Realtors have been offering virtual tours.

We have encouraged those who are able to hold off on buying or selling to do so until we see things starting to turn around. We are now starting to see this coming as of the past week or so.

“I am proud to say, our members have rapidly adapted to following the “State of Emergency” guidelines and are limiting work activity to assisting those who must sell and/or buy during this pivotal time _ while keeping the health risk to all parties to a minimum,” said Deb Burgoyne, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, in a statement.

“Our members have been adjusting and retooling the way real estate is conducted. They are finding new ways to market properties and provide options for viewing using technology such as livestreaming open houses, posting virtual tours, and holding virtual showings, “ she added.

“These adaptations are key in mitigating risk for all parties and will certainly continue to be necessary as things normalize in the city and our working environment.”

I was happy to see that even with the reduced number of transactions, average sale prices were up during the month.

April’s average sale price for a condominium-class property in April was $327,813. That’s an increase of 6.3% from April of 2019. The average sale price of a residential-class property in April was $521,694. That is up 6.8% from the same time last year. 

Year-to-date figures show a 15.1% and 18.5% increase in average sale prices for residential and condominiums, respectively.

“While the number of unit sales has decreased substantially, residential prices are still holding their own and are up over last year’s figures, with properties often selling above the asking price,” Deb Burgoyne says.

“There is still a holdover of pent-up demand in our marketplace. We believe that when the market opens up again, although it won’t be business as usual, sales will rebound and make up for the decline the spring market has experienced.”

She also assures those who need to buy or sell “there are means to do this in a safe and prudent manner. Do not hesitate to contact a Realtor to discuss, plan and protect you through this unique period.”

The Ottawa Board cautions that average sale prices for a specific month can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be taken as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. As with any city, prices in Ottawa vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

But it’s reassuring that sale prices in our region held their own even in difficult circumstances.

If you are interested in buying or selling in the Ottawa area, feel free to give me a call 613 747 4747 or send me an email if you have any questions about buying or selling in this unique market.

In the meantime, I send you all the best as we work to get through this together. Stay safe and stay healthy, everyone!