Radji Millette and his family have been doing what so many have done in the pandemic, working from home. His need for more room, and an office, is costing more than he could ever imagine.

“My fiancée and my daughter and I, we’ve realized that being here 24/7 we’ve kind of outgrown this little two bedroom apartment,” says Millette. “We watch TV in our living room. We work in our living room. We workout in our living room. We even have dinner in our living room. We just need a bigger place.”

However, buying a house right now is not easy. Houses are often listed lower than they should be, to bring in more buyers and create bidding wars, or to force buyers to risk more money than normally would.

Today, going in at $100,000 over asking seems to be the norm, but even with a bid that high, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the house.

“We went in 140,000 over asking,” says Millette. “We ended up losing the house by 6,500 dollars.”

Some houses in Ottawa have been selling for hundreds of thousands over asking, which is making it difficult for some first time home buyers to get into the market.

Real estate advisor Zak Green says limited supply is part of the problem, but that's not all.

“There’s some key factors that are impacting affordability right now,” says Green. “One of those is interest rates. Interest rates are historically low. But, on top of that, you’ve got massive population growth happening here in Ottawa.”

Prices were up dramatically for both homes and condominiums year over year.

In August, a condo in Ottawa sold for an average of just over $380,000, an increase of 24 per cent from last year, while a residential property had an average price of $590,000, up 22 per cent from a year ago.

“I think it's probably wise to consider investing in a home now,” says Green. “Making upgrades, improving it if you can and, in a few years time, I think you’ll still be well rewarded by this market.”

Housing sales usually slow down over the winter. Millette knew his time was running out.

After five months of searching, Millette's determination to get the house of his dreams, even if it was going to cost him more than he planned, was rewarded.

“We went in almost a hundred grand over asking on this one as well,” says Millette, “and when we got the phone call saying that we got it we were just beside ourselves and just super happy that this whole ordeal is over. Now we can move in and not worry about it.”

He gets the keys in five weeks and will move in knowing there are hundreds of buyers just like him.


And waiting.