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Want a Condo, but not in Toronto? Try Ottawa Instead!

18 February 2013

Whether you’re searching for your next investment property or that next place to call home, you might be a bit wary to look at any condos. Indeed, the story of Toronto condos has all Canadians thinking that these “boxes in the sky” are becoming the bottom-feeders of the housing market, thanks to an oversupply and a strong desire by builders to continue building throughout it. In Canada’s biggest city, the price of condos are plummeting, and Flaherty’s worry about “the last condo buyer in Toronto” is very much coming to life. But there are condos in more places than Toronto. And if you have your heart set on one, you might want to think about turning towards the nation’s capital.

Ottawa resale figures show a decrease in January 2013 when compared with January 2012, going from 682 units sold to 602. However of those sales, unlike in other parts of the province and country, condos are becoming king – and it seems as though that’s a trend that’s going to continue.

Last month’s sales show that there were 136 condos sold, with 466 sales forming in other types of residential properties. That may seem like a big difference, but the number for condos has edged up. And many think that’s a trend that’s going to continue.

“Within some areas of Ottawa, we are already starting to see condo sales on the rise,” says Tim Lee, president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

He also believes that as more Boomers move into retirement, and more one and two-person households begin to form, the demand for these condos is only going to go up. And that may already be reflective in the pricing of these units.

While residential properties as a group saw a decline of 1.8 per cent in their prices from January 2012 to January 2013 (dropping to $342,458,) the prices on condominiums went up. Condos saw an increase of 6.1 per cent in January ’13 compared to January ’12, with the average sale price now set at $268,604 – still very affordable when you compare that to the still-high prices of Toronto condos.

But Lee also points out that for those still seeking low-rise and single-family homes, the market still looks good.

“The Ottawa resale market, which started to flatten out in November and December – potentially as a result of the government’s aim to cool down the market – maintained its steadiness into January. January 2013 isn’t too far off from the numbers we’ve seen in recent years, and although the units sold are a tad lower, Ottawa remains a healthy market.”

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