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Ottawa real estate market essential advice for homebuyers

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Ottawa real estate market essential advice for homebuyers

Ottawa real estate market essential advice for homebuyers, as of 2023, the Ottawa housing market was generally characterized by stability and steady growth. The city had experienced a relatively strong real estate market with a consistent demand for both residential and commercial properties. Several factors contributed to this stability, including a growing population, low unemployment rates, and the presence of a stable government sector. The market was marked by a relatively low inventory of available properties, contributing to a competitive landscape, especially in sought-after neighborhoods. If you are considering buying in Ottawa, we’ll dive into these topics plus many home buyer tips to help you along the way.


Current State of the Ottawa Housing Market

In December 2023, the Ottawa Real Estate Board reported a notable uptick in home sales, with 565 units sold, marking a 7.6% increase from the same month in 2022. However, these figures still trail behind the five-year average by 16% and the 10-year average for December by 11.9%. The year in total presented a more subdued picture, with 2023 witnessing a total of 11,978 home sales, reflecting an 11.0% decrease from the previous year. OREB President Curtis Fillier remarked on the market’s steady and balanced close to the year, suggesting a budding resurgence in consumer confidence. He anticipates that the full effect of rate stabilization might not manifest until the latter half of 2024, yet the activity observed in December lays a promising foundation for a robust year ahead in Ottawa’s housing market.

The market’s journey hasn’t been devoid of challenges, as noted by OREB’s Past-President Ken Dekker, who acknowledged the difficulties faced over recent times. While a return to the peak levels of 2022 might not be on the horizon, Dekker remains optimistic about the market’s ability to rebound from the downturn experienced in the past year. He emphasizes the need for patience among both buyers and sellers during this transitional phase. Despite the current market’s temperance, Dekker assures that there are still substantial opportunities for those willing to navigate Ottawa’s real estate landscape with diligence and an eye for potential.

Action Steps: 

Stay Informed on Market Trends:

Given the dynamic nature of the Ottawa housing market, staying informed on current trends is crucial. Regularly follow updates on property values, emerging neighbourhoods, and any shifts in demand for specific property types. Engage with reputable real estate publications, local news, and market reports to gain insights into the latest developments. Being aware of the market trends will empower you to make informed decisions as a buyer, seller, or investor.

Diversify Your Property Search and Investment Portfolio:

Given the quest for housing solutions that cater to diverse needs, consider diversifying your property search or investment portfolio. Explore different neighbourhoods and property types to identify opportunities aligned with your goals. For example, if single-family homes in suburban areas face high demand, evaluate the potential of condominiums in emerging urban districts. Diversification not only hedges against market fluctuations but also positions you to benefit from the various facets of Ottawa’s real estate landscape. Engage with local real estate professionals to gain insights into upcoming developments and areas of opportunity.

Availability and Property Types

Availability of housing in Ottawa remains a key consideration for prospective buyers. The city may be witnessing fluctuations in housing inventory, with certain types of properties experiencing high demand and limited supply. For instance, the condominium market might be characterized by a range of options, but single-family homes may be subject to a more competitive landscape. Property developers may be responding to these trends by focusing on specific types of housing projects, such as mixed-use developments or affordable housing initiatives. As the city evolves, the diversity of available property types is likely to be influenced by urban planning initiatives, demographic shifts, and the evolving preferences of Ottawa’s residents.

Action Steps:

Stay Informed on Urban Planning Initiatives:

Stay up to date of urban planning initiatives in Ottawa, as they can significantly influence the availability of different property types. Municipal development plans and zoning regulations may impact the types of projects that developers undertake. Being informed about upcoming developments, infrastructure projects, and changes in zoning laws allows you to anticipate shifts in housing availability. This knowledge is particularly valuable for buyers seeking to invest in areas undergoing positive transformations or where new housing projects are planned. You can do some of this research online with the City of Ottawa, CMHC and OREB the Ottawa Real Estate Board. 

Engage with Local Developers and Real Estate Experts:

In a market where property developers are responding to trends by focusing on specific housing projects, engaging with local developers and real estate experts can provide valuable insights. Attend local real estate events, seminars, or connect with professionals who have a deep understanding of Ottawa’s evolving real estate landscape. Developers often have firsthand knowledge of upcoming projects and can offer insights into the types of properties that may be in the pipeline. By building relationships with local experts, you gain access to insider information that can guide your property search and investment decisions in the context of Ottawa’s changing housing availability.

Real Estate Insider Tips:

Explore Diverse Neighborhoods: Ottawa is a city of many neighbourhoods, each with its unique charm. Before settling on a property, explore different areas to find the one that aligns with your lifestyle. From the family-friendly atmosphere of Barrhaven to the urban vibrancy of Centretown, understanding the nuances of each neighborhood will be key to making an informed decision.

Consider Commuting Factors: Ottawa’s traffic patterns and public transportation options play a pivotal role in daily life. Consider the commuting factors that matter to you, whether it’s proximity to public transit, highway access, or walkability to amenities. This consideration extends beyond the property itself to enhance your overall quality of life.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Underestimating Hidden Costs: Beyond the property’s price tag, be mindful of additional costs such as property taxes, utilities, and maintenance. Failing to account for these hidden expenses can strain your budget and affect the long-term sustainability of your investment.

Skipping the Home Inspection: In the excitement of finding the perfect home, some buyers may be tempted to skip the home inspection. This is a critical step to identify potential issues, ensuring you make an informed decision and avoid unexpected repairs down the road.

Neglecting Resale Value: Your property is an investment, and it’s essential to consider its resale value, even if you plan to stay for the long term. Avoid personalizing the home in ways that could deter future buyers, and prioritize features that have broad appeal.

Foundation Issues: Look for signs of foundation cracks or settling. A thorough examination of a home’s foundation is critical during the inspection process. Look for visible cracks, especially around the foundation walls or basement. Uneven floors, doors that don’t close properly, or windows that stick can be indicative of settling issues. An experienced inspector will assess the foundation’s structural integrity, identifying any red flags that may affect the stability and safety of the property. Reach out to us for a referral for the best inspectors in the city

Asbestos and Vermiculite: In older homes, asbestos and vermiculite insulation were commonly used. Both materials pose potential health risks if disturbed. A comprehensive inspection should include checking for the presence of asbestos in insulation, floor tiles, or pipe wrapping. Similarly, vermiculite insulation, which may contain asbestos, should be examined to ensure the safety of occupants. Identifying and addressing these materials is crucial to creating a healthy living environment.

Poor Construction: Identifying signs of substandard construction or previous DIY fixes.

An experienced realtor savvy with construction and a home inspector will assess the overall quality of construction to uncover potential issues. Signs of poor construction or inadequate repairs, especially DIY fixes, may include uneven flooring, improperly installed fixtures, or visible signs of wear and tear. Identifying these issues early on can prevent future complications and expensive repairs.

Water Damage and Mold: Water damage and mold can have severe implications for both the structure of the home and the health of its occupants. Inspectors should thoroughly examine areas prone to water intrusion, such as basements and attics, for signs of dampness, discoloration, or musty odors. The presence of mold or mildew should be addressed promptly, as it can lead to respiratory issues and compromise the structural integrity of the home.

Electrical and Plumbing Systems: A comprehensive home inspection includes a thorough evaluation of the electrical and plumbing systems. Inspectors will check for code compliance, potential safety hazards, and the overall condition of wiring, outlets, pipes, and fixtures. Identifying issues in these systems early on can prevent safety hazards, electrical fires, or plumbing leaks that may lead to costly repairs.

Roof and Insulation: A roof inspection is crucial to assess its overall condition, looking for signs of wear, missing shingles, or potential leaks. Additionally, inspectors should evaluate the insulation in the attic, ensuring it meets current standards for energy efficiency based on the Ontario Building Code and the relevant year of build for the subject property. Proper insulation not only contributes to energy savings but also prevents issues like ice dams and interior water damage.

Home inspectors rely on various resources and tools to conduct thorough assessments. This may include moisture meters, thermal imaging cameras, electrical testers, and more. These tools enable inspectors to uncover hidden issues that may not be apparent during a visual inspection alone. Homebuyers and sellers should be aware of the tools used by inspectors and ask questions about the inspection process to gain a comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition.

In Ottawa’s dynamic housing market, homebuyers should focus on thorough home inspections, scrutinizing key areas like foundation, potential hazardous materials, build quality, water damage, and the state of electrical, plumbing, roof, and insulation. Staying updated on market trends, economic shifts, and city planning, while working closely with local real estate experts and utilizing available tools, can lead to informed decisions that meet personal, financial, and future needs, ultimately ensuring a successful home purchase in the Nation’s Capital. 

And if you are thinking of relocating to Ottawa feel free to reach out to us. Give us a call – shoot us a text – send us an email – or even wrap it in a bow and send it first class because we got your back when moving to Ottawa or anywhere across Canada.

You can learn more about the city of Ottawa by visiting its official website: https://ottawa.ca/en.




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