Ottawa’s housing market both set new sales records and returned to pre-pandemic norms in 2021, according to the local real estate board.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board says the average monthly sale price at the end of the 2021 hit
$709,980 for residential-class homes and $399,125 for condos. Those figures represent price hikes of 18 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, over December 2020 sales.

December saw a dip in the volume of year-to-year home sales in Ottawa, as the OREB said the market “normalized” in the final months of 2021 from pandemic-driven spikes the year before.

But the last month of the year capped off a record-breaking 2021 for local real estate activity.

The residential and condo markets combined to hit 20,302 unit sales in 2021, up from 18,953 total sales in 2020.

Year-to-date prices in the residential market rose to an average of $719,605, up 24 per cent over 2020 figures. The average condo sale price in 2021 rose to $419,683, up 16 per cent.

Ottawa’s residential real estate market hit a total sales volume of roughly $13.1 billion in 2021, compared with about $10 billion the year before.

“This significant increase in sales volume reflects the price acceleration that we have seen over the last year and correlates with average sale price increases for the city,” said OREB’s 2021 president Debra Wright, who hands the role to Penny Torontow in the new year.

Wright said in a release that the biggest cause of escalating prices over the past year in Ottawa, which OREB expects to continue into 2022, is a lack of housing inventory in the nation’s capital.

With less than a one-month supply of units on the market to start the new year, Ottawa is still “firmly entrenched in a strong seller’s market,” the outgoing OREB president said. She predicted this trend will continue until the city is able to get a buffer of three to four months’ supply on the market at a time.

But Torontow said 2022’s first quarter of real estate activity is tough to predict amid the latest COVID-19 surge and associated restrictions.

“We are entering yet another pandemic wave. Buyers are fatigued, parents are focusing on remote learning, interest rate hikes are looming – I don’t expect we will see the first quarter increases as we did in 2021,” she said.

“Presumably, we will see more of the same with the market performing as well as it can with the current housing stock. Unfortunately for homebuyers, it will sustain itself as a seller’s market for quite some time until our inventory issues are remedied.”

Ottawa real estate enters new year in ‘strong seller’s market’ after record 2021 sales

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