The sales numbers for Ottawa’s resale real estate market for the first month of 2018 are in, and there is some good news if you happen to be a seller.

It was a month that saw unusually low inventory, continuing a trend we’ve seen throughout the past year.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board has just released the sales numbers for January, and there were more than the usual number of sales for the month. Members of the Board sold 712 residential properties in January through the Multiple Listing Service system. That was up from 664 units sold in January of 2017 _ a 7.2 per cent increase in sales, the Board reports.

The five-year average for January sales in the Ottawa area is 638.

What’s particularly interesting for sellers, however, is the unusually low number of listings that came onto the market in January.

Rick Eisert, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, says that while the cold and icy month of January is typically the month in which we see the lowest number of new listings, the numbers for January of 2018 were “very low.”

“The five-year average for new listings in January is 1,396 for residential-class (non-condo) properties, and 500 for condominiums.” In January of 2018, the market saw only 994 residential units and 406 condominium units added to the market as new listings.

The lower than usual number of new listings was a trend throughout 2017, and as Rick Eisert says in the Board’s press release, “the result is our resale market is being challenged by decreasing supply in both the residential and condo markets.”

As the supply of properties continues to be reduced, he says, “it will tend to put upward pressure on prices. This is simple supply-and-demand economics.”

It also means that if you live in the Ottawa area and have been considering listing your house or condo for sale, it would be a good time to do it before spring, Rick Eisert says.

“Since inventory is currently low, sellers will certainly get attention because selection for buyers, in some areas, in particular, is quite limited.”

Looking at the average sale prices for January of 2018, the average price of a residential-class property was $427,487. That’s an increase of 8.8 per cent over the average sale price in January of 2017. The average sale price of a condominium- class property, meanwhile, was $263,744. That’s a decrease of 8.6 per cent from the average price for a condo property in January of 2017.

The Board cautions, however, that while the average sale price for any specific month can be useful in establishing trends over time, it should not be considered an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value.  The average price for a given month is based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold that month.  If there were an unusually large number of properties sold in a certain month at the higher or lower end of the scale, this will obviously affect the average price for that month.

And keep in mind that sale prices and conditions will always vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

In January the resale market sales in Ottawa saw 173 condo-class properties sold and 539 residential properties sold. While the number of residential-class properties sold in January was on par with January of 2017, there was a 45 per cent increase in the number of condos sold, from 119 in January of 2017 to 173 in January of 2018.

The most active price range in the condo market was in units priced between 150,000 and $249,999, representing 55 per cent of the condo sales, the Board reports. The most active price range in residential (non-condo) properties, meanwhile, was in the $300,000 to $449,999 range, representing 47.5 per cent of the market.

As Rick Eisert notes, “there is a marked increase in the number of condo units sold in the lower end of the market specifically. This is likely due to the attractive lower price point and the fact that the demand is there.”

The average sale prices for our region are also a reminder of how fortunate buyers in the Ottawa area are compared with buyers in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s most expensive cities. It is still much easier for buyers of either condos or residential-class properties to enter the market in Ottawa than it is in those cities.

If you’ve been considering buying or selling in the Ottawa area, I’d love to chat with you about the current market and the services I can offer buyers and sellers, with more than 30 years of experience as a Realtor in the Ottawa region. You can give me a call at 613-747-4747. You can also visit my website, at nancybenson.com, where you can view my current listings and read about the services we offer at Nancy Benson & Associates. I’d love to hear from you.