The Ottawa Citizen published an article today about the condo market in Ottawa, along with some insider forecasts on the current and future market. You can read the full article here. I have summarized the important take aways, then going to run through exactly what it means for buyers, sellers, and everyone else.
- CMHC reports lowest condo construction starts this year since 2009.
- CMHC says the unsold inventory is to blame
- CMHC forecasts another smaller decline in 2015, then rallying back in 2016
- An industry analyst (from PMA Brethour Realty Group) predicts condos will represent ~18% of sales in 2014, compared to 25% in 2013, 29% in 2012.
- PMA blames poorer job prospects, and more cautious first time buyers, and investors are buying less than previous years, are maxed out, or scared by still-increasing prices.
- PMA sees condo sales increasing over the next year when first time buyers return to market.
What exactly does this mean for those looking to buy in Ottawa?
Donald Trump is famous for saying you make money in the buy, not the sell. During the meltdown in the USA, Warren Buffett was advising to buy residential real estate before prices went back up. Over the next year or so, CMHC along with other analysts, are expecting the market to continue to soften, and then start to rise again. If you are in the market to buy, there is no better feeling then knowing the prices are going to lower (allowing you to buy low), and then rise. Obviously, you want to take your time and find the perfect place, at the best price, that suits you and your future. *NOTE* Plan on holding your property for at least three years, (preferably five), other wise the costs will outweigh your benefits. So think hard and long about your future or if uncertain, at least look at units that can cover the costs by renting it out. This also means the style of property. Are you dating? Chances are that 500sqft unit wont work for the future couple. Want a dog or kid? same thing. Think ahead and save yourself down the road.
What exactly does this mean for those looking to sell in Ottawa?
Certainly not great if you purchased your condo since 2009 and are looking to sell in the next year or two. You have more competition, and harder pricing. You will need to make your property stand out among the rest, and be willing to work with a buyer for a sale. ***Chances are, you have/will never heard/hear an agent say this but....*** if you can hold out, do it. Wait it out. This is the opposite of what we are "supposed" to say, but this is your largest investment - treat it as such. While you wait, the mortgage is getting paid down, and you will have more room later on. THE FLIP SIDE of this, if you need to sell, take the hit now (hopefully as small as possible), and find a great deal that will have a better return.
What does this mean for those who are just checking in, with no immediate plans to buy or sell?
Don't panic. Everything goes up and down, and while we have seen a slow but constant increase, corrections are due to happen. Re-evaluate your life plan and see how your living situation will fit in the property over the next four or five years. Then try and plan accordingly.
Do you want to chat about planing to buy? Or make a plan to reduce the hit you will take when selling? I would love to help you out, click the button below.
Written by Matt Richling
Matt is a licensed salesperson at RE/MAX Metro City Realty in Ottawa, Canada. Matt loves helping sellers and buyers find the perfect home that fits their lifestyle.