Find us on...


Login using...

New Search X

Ottawa Housing Market Outlook

Posted by Anneke Cundasawmy on Thursday, December 17th, 2015 at 3:01pm.

Ottawa demographics

  • Population: close to 1 million
  • Average population growth: ~2% per year
  • Households: ~390,000 (an average of 2.5 people per household)
  • Two out of every three households own their home
  • 700 households migrate to Ottawa each year from other provinces
  • 1,800 additional immigrant households each year
  • 70%, or 1,260, of those immigrant households rent
  • 54% of recent immigrant households occupy apartments
  • An average of 5,200 international students each year


Modest employment growth is forecast

Employment Growth

Source: Statistics Canada. Labour Force Survey. F is CMHC forecast.



Residential properties demand to inch up in 2016

CMHC forecasts 3.4% growth in the number of MLS® properties sold.

Demand Forecast 2016

Source: OREB. (F) is CMHC forecast.


CMHC forecasts modest price growth 2015-2017

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation forecasts modest price growth year-over-year for 2015: 1.3%, 2016: 2.2%, and 2017: 2.4%. Going back to 1956, the average annual change in Ottawa is 6.0% growth. Over the last decade the annual price growth has been 4.4%. Since mid-2010, overall demand and supply match, keeping the market balanced. For more details, and to see the history of housing prices going back almost 60 years, check out this urbanique Realty/Reality Check blog post.

Modest Price Growth Forecast

Source: OREB. (F) is CMHC forecast.

Housing price growth is outpacing income growth

There are two ways you might interpret this info:

  1. The portion of your paycheque that owning a house represents is higher than it used to be, leaving less for entertainment, food, etc.
  2. Owning more real estate, like an investment property, might be a wise move. Besides the monthly rental income, you might expect a profit on the sale (half of which may be subject to capital gains tax).

Price Outpaces Income

Source: OREB for resale prices. Conference Board for Disposable Income. Index with 2002 as the base year. Quarterly Data. * YTD September


Healthy rental demand

As the vacancy rate drops to ~1.5%, rents are forecast to continue to rise to $1,210 for an average 2 bedroom apartment (CMHC Rental Market Survey).


Rents Increasing


Single detached homes are the most popular style of property sold

According to the MLS (year-to-date 2015) more than half the residential properties sold are single detached homes (whether bungalows, 2 storey, splits, etc.). There are two possible drivers:

  • Employment of those aged 25 to 44 remains flat (since 2009) whereas employment of those aged 45 to 64 continues to increase (Statistics Canada. Labour Force Survey.) 
  • New build singles are $86k more expensive than resale singles (OREB and CMHC, YTD September.)

Detached Singles Graph

Square footage and price per square foot

Newly built rows (townhomes) are relatively large compared to the size of singles and semi-detached homes being built: Square Footage by Style

The price per square foot is relatively lower for rows, with semi-detached homes garnering $271 per square foot, on average so far this year.

Price Per Square Foot by Style

Source: CMHC Starts and Completions Survey. * YTD September 2015


Many months of supply of condos

Whether townhomes or apartments, condominium type ownership has seen some high months of supply of inventory. Ultimately, what this means, is that given the current demand, with no new listings coming onto the market, how many months of supply do we have? For freehold type ownership, we've had about a 5 month supply, which is close to the average, and we've been at the low end of a balanced market. For condos, however, we've had about 7+ months worth of inventory, which has produced some moderating, or even downward, pressure at times.

Months of Inventory

Source: OREB. CMHC calculations for months of supply. Seasonally adjusted series. * YTD September


Have a question? Just contact Anneke! Remember - there's no such thing as a "silly question" around here - so don't be shy.

Thinking of buying or selling in 2016? Let's talk now about reserving your spot.


Guess what? I know acronyms are cryptic and exclusionary, and I don't play that way! Here's everything spelled out:

  • MLS® (Multiple Listing Service) is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association
  • CMHC: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • OREB: Ottawa Real Estate Board
  • YTD: Year-to-date



Leave a Comment