The final numbers for 2018 are in, and the Ottawa Real Estate Board is reporting good news, including average sale prices that were up for residential class properties and condominium units.

The Board says the average sale price for a residential-class property in Ottawa in 2018 was $446,661. That’s an increase of 5.1 per cent over the average sale price in 2017.

The average sale price for a condominium unit in Ottawa in 2018 was $278,316 _ an increase of 3.2 per cent over the 2017 number, the Board reports.

The year was marked by lower than usual inventory in certain areas of the city. This led to a slight drop in the number of residential-class properties sold in 2018 _ 13,418, down from 13, 478 the previous year.

But thanks to a 13.1 per cent increase in condo sales (4,058 in 2018 compared with 3,587 the previous year) the overall number of properties sold in 2018 (17,476) topped the 17,065 properties sold in 2017, the Board announced.

While the Ottawa real estate market has seen steady growth in prices as well as the number of properties sold, the Ottawa Board says the numbers in the past two years specifically “have jumped significantly in activity, with a 12.6 per cent increase in unit sales from 2016.

“Ottawa, and its surrounding area, has excellent employment numbers and has proven to be one of the most affordable larger cities in the country,” says Ralph Shaw, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, in a statement.

Looking at the past year, he adds, “what has come to a head in 2018 is the overall shortage of inventory, which is extreme in certain pockets of the city. While this has caused unit sales to slide in the residential market, it has fueled the condominium market, which has recovered and carried us through much of 2018. We have been predicting this will bode well for new construction in delayed high-rise projects.”

Another significant factor that affected the market in 2018 and first-time buyers in particular, he said, was “the mortgage stress test _ an attempt by the federal government to cool two major markets in the country.”

 “It has also unfortunately made move-up buyers less likely to take that step and free up entry-level options, which is an important part of the resale market,” Ralph Shaw says.

Looking ahead at 2019, he says, “we expect the economic fundamentals of supply and demand to be at play, with upward pressure on prices due to limited supply and increasing demand.  Buyers do have affordable options in outlying communities if they are willing to commute _ or they will simply have to pay more, provided they can qualify,” he says.

“New builds and purpose-built rental housing could help ease some of the pressure, particularly if builders are able to provide a variety of quality options, allowing for more movement in the market.”

The most active price points in the Ottawa market over the past year, meanwhile, offer another reminder of how attractive our market remains for buyers, compared with the markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

In Ottawa’s residential (non-condo) market, properties in the $300,000 to $449.999 range represented the most active price point, accounting for 45.6 per cent of sales over the past year.

On the condo market in 2018, properties priced between $175,000 and $274,999 accounted for 49.8 per cent of the market, the Board reported.

As it always does when reporting average sale prices in our region, the Ottawa Real Estate Board cautions that while the average sale price for a specific month or year 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 vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

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