Ottawa Buyers

Breaking News - Change to Minimum Downpayments In Ottawa

Earlier today the Finance Minister announced a big change to CMHC-backed mortgages over $500,000. Starting February 15th, 2016, purchasing an Ottawa properties over $500,000 will require a minimum downpayment of 10% instead of the current 5%. However, this only applies to the portion above $500,000. 

This change will not affect
- those who are purchasing under $500,000.
- those who are renewing regardless of being over $500,000

This change was put into place to ensure security in riskier transactions, specifically in markets such as Toronto and Vancouver. The government claims that this should only impact about 1% of Canadians.

Looking for more information about buying or selling, or just want to talk about how these changes could affect you? Fill out the form below.

Name *

Do I Need A Concierge In My Condo Building?

One of the first impressions that you will have as a buyer is often when you enter the lobby and are greeted by the concierge. Big smile and a friendly "hello" go a long way. However not all condo buildings in Ottawa have someone sitting in the lobby. In fact there are only a couple buildings in Ottawa that have a true concierge. Those buildings that have someone in the lobby, typically employ security guards who also handle resident requests (move-in's, packages, etc.).

Up until recently, having someone at the front lobby was a big bonus for a number of reasons: 
- Ensure security, and are able to see who is coming and going, plus keep an eye on the common area's.
- Handle move-ins and elevator/loading areas.
- Pass keys or assist with entry for cleaners or repair persons. 
- Booking or reserving common area's.
- Receive packages and oversized mail/deliveries. 

The biggest one for me aside from providing the extra bit of security, was helping receive packages and deliveries. Online shopping is on the rise and having to track down a parcel after it has been "attempted" to be delivered is a huge pain. 

Ottawa Condo Canada Post Parcel Box

Enter Canada Post!

The photo on the right is in the lobby for 205 Bolton (Sussex Square) which is one of the downtown buildings that you will find the Canada Post Parcel Box. This now allows them to securely leave oversized boxes and packages, without making you head to the nearest pickup location! 

The mail person leaves a notice in your mailbox along with the key for the specific box that contains your package. Then once retrieved just drop the key back in the slot, and voila!

Obviously, the parcel box does not say Hi, or it wont hold the door when you have your hands full, but it's a start! You can find the boxes in a number of buildings across Ottawa, typically next to the mail room.

As a buyer, do you feel that you need a concierge? 

Fortress Real Developments - Market Manuscript Spring 2015

Fortress Real Estate Manuscript Spring 2015

Fortress Real Developments, has now released the third edition of their semi-annual Market Manuscript. This is the third edition which is an in-depth analysis of available real estate data and projections, delineated by market, and grounded in solid research. It profiles the Canadian Market as a whole along with individual markets such as Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, along with local and national trends.

The 50 page report is written by analyst Ben Myers, a 15 year veteran of researching real estate markets across North America. "There are a lot of conflicting reports on the real estate market. These studies rely on oversimplified calculations, which lead to misleading results. It is important for both buyers and sellers to know who to trust," says Myers. "That's why we put this Manuscript together: to promote the best analysts, and dispel common misconceptions."

Highlights include:

  • No one thinks there will be a national crash: Despite the predictions of doomsayers, nearly two-thirds of analysts now believe that there is less than a five per cent chance of a housing correction over the next five years. Indeed, RBC Global Asset Management even believes that Canadian house prices are undervalued by four per cent.
  • Analysts disagree on the definition of a housing bubble: Survey results indicate no consensus on the level of price growth that suggests a bubble, with a need for speculative buyers to be included in that definition. Foreign condominium buyers are not bad for Canada, and analysts concur that they will not immediately flee the market should house prices decline drastically.
  • Ottawa is expected to rebalance in 2015:  Although data providers have reported divergent results of year-over-year price growth, the fundamentals – employment growth – are still positive. Condominium apartment prices and absorption should improve, following a rare period of overbuilding and over exuberance in the typically staid market in the nation's capital.

Download the full report HERE.

Note* Fortress Real Developments is involved with Gotham Ottawa, SoBa Condos, the upcoming Bronson, among others outside of Ottawa.

*taken from the Market Manuscript Spring 2015

*taken from the Market Manuscript Spring 2015

Dear Matt: Looking at buying my first place.... Lawsuits?!

Have a question about real estate that you would like answered? Email Matt directly

Dear Matt,

I'm looking at buying my first condo in Ottawa and my search keeps bringing me to a particular building. I love the central location and the prices aren't as high as the new builds I've seen. I have been told that it has a lawsuit against the builder, any idea on that?

I'm wondering if you have any more information about situations like this and weather it is a bad idea to bad in a building that has a lawsuit or other issues.




Hi Taylor:

Right off the bat, talk to your lawyer. If/when you decide to move forward, you will include a condition in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) that allows your lawyer time to review the status certificate and documents. During this period, you will be able to find out much more detailed information about the condo corporation, building by-laws, financial history, and any projected increases in fees, among other things. 

HOWEVER. Lawyers are hired by you, to save you from any trouble. Think guardian angel sorta domain. So when it comes time to choose your lawyer, be very picky on who you have standing in your corner. Ideally you want someone who is local, who is not afraid to tell you the issues, but is able to remove judgement from the issues and not scare you. Great example is also the building inspector, who is also working for you to find issues and give you information. A good building inspector can tell you all the issues without saying personal judgement - "Don't buy this", "I love this builder", These renovations look horrible",  "I would live here" etc. You want facts. Not emotion. A good lawyer will tell you the facts without trying to scare you. 

That being said, purchasing a unit while knowing that there are issues in the building is a risk. Lawsuits are not "cut and dry" and it can go either way. It can be resolved and the building/condo corporation gets what it wants, or the builder can win and certain costs could be picked up by the owners in a special assessment or increase in condo fees.

You need to fully understand the issues, get the facts, listen to the professionals who you hire to look out for you, and know if you are comfortable taking a risk like this or not.