Signs of a cooling real estate market in Ottawa

The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) is reporting a 21 per cent drop in sales in April 2022 compared to a year prior, in a sign that higher interest rates and other factors are cooling down the red-hot real estate market in the city.

OREB members sold 1,889 properties last month on MLS, compared to 2,394 in April 2021.

“With the number of transactions just slightly over the five-year average, this was one of the weakest performing Aprils we have seen in a while,” OREB President Penny Torontow said. “Considering that the number of new listings increased last month, it is a bit of a surprise that sales were off.”

Torontow said rising interest rates, growing buyer frustration, cooler temperatures and new housing measures introduced by government are all likely factors in the market’s performance last month, and the board is monitoring to see a trend begins to form.

“The fact remains that it is still a seller’s market with supply under one month. Bidding wars and multiple offers persist in some pockets, prices continue to rise, albeit more moderately, and the market remains relatively strong,” Torontow said.

Last month’s sales include 1,419 residential properties, down 23 per cent from a year ago, and 470 condominiums, a 13 per cent decrease year-over-year. The five-year average for total unit sales in April is 1,849, the OREB said in a news release.

According to the OREB, the average sale price for a condominium in April was $473,702, an increase of 11 per cent from 2021, while the average sale price for a residential-class property was $829,318, increasing 12 per cent from a year ago, though down from March 2022, when the average price was above $850,000.

There were 2,814 new listings in April, down 11 per cent from 2021 but still above the five-year average. Ottawa has “just under a month’s supply”, according to the OREB, compared to “just over two weeks” in March.