Ottawa homes gain four per cent in December 2016


January 17, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized


Home construction

The benchmark cost for Ottawa homes went up four for every penny year over year to $341,400 in December, as per a study distributed Monday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

That is significantly beneath the 14.2 percent gain recorded broadly by CREA, which evaluated the benchmark cost for homes at $582,000 in December.

The reference price — developed monthly by the Ottawa Real Estate Board and ten other real estate organizations — tracks housing characteristics such as the age of property, the number of bathrooms and type of roof. This permits a more consistent view of underlying trends in the housing market than using average, or median prices would do.

The price gains reflect in part a significant year-over-year drop in the number of new listings, signifying a tightening of the real estate market. For instance, CREA reported there were 918 new listings in Ottawa in December — a decline of nearly 16 percent. That was roughly in line with the 14 percent drop nationally, paced by a drop of 33.5 per cent and 32 per cent in listings in greater Vancouver and Calgary, respectively.

In greater Toronto, the number of listings shrank 12.4 percent over the same period. (Detailed data for Quebec markets are unavailable until later this week.)

In short, the trends continue to benefit sellers rather than buyers in many markets. This can be seen clearly in the sales-to-new-listings metric used by CREA. When the number of home sales exceeds 60 percent of new listings, CREA considers this to be a seller’s market. Anything below 40 percent and buyers has the advantage.

The ratio for Ottawa in December was 51.8 percent — suggesting the real estate market is roughly in balance. A year earlier it was 44.9 per cent.

But in greater Toronto, the ratio last month was 73.4 percent — up from 63.1 percent a year earlier. In greater Vancouver, the number of homes sales was 67.4 percent of new listings — down from 71.4 percent a year earlier but still a seller’s market.

The best market for sellers last month: Victoria, with a ratio of 80.2 per cent.

The best city for people looking for a home: Saskatoon, at 36 per cent.

CREA also provided data Monday for average home prices. In Ottawa, properties in December sold for an average of $376,100 — up 7.1 percent year over year. This put the national capital exactly in the middle of 20 markets surveyed by CREA and the local real estate boards. Topping the list was the Niagara Region — where the average home price soared 25.3 percent in December year over year to $339,000. Housing values just outside greater Toronto have been jumping as properties inside the city have moved out of reach for many would-be home buyers.

Victoria’s housing market posted the largest year over year decline in average home prices. In December, these fell to $597,400 — off 4.7 percent. Home prices in greater Vancouver and Edmonton also slipped more than three percent over the same period. In Vancouver’s case, this was from a lofty height: the average price in December was $944,000 — a figure that includes data for townhouses and apartments.

Email: jbagnall@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/JamesBagnall1

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