Increased demand has caused home prices in Vanier, considered one of Ottawa’s most marginalized neighbourhoods, to soar over the last 12 months.

The average selling price of a home in Vanier currently sits at around $467,000, an 11.4% increase over the same period in 2018, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. However, it’s still about $20,000 less than the citywide average.

John Gomes, a real estate agent who lives in the community, said that prices grow higher the closer one gets to Beechwood Avenue, with its flourishing restaurants and locally run shops. However, the demand extends to other pockets of the neighbourhood. A 900 square-foot bungalow that Gomes sold on Shakespeare Street, for instance, was bought for north of $500,000, about $66,000 above its listing price.

"Every good house that comes up that's appropriately priced ... there's pretty much multiple offers and bidding wars on most of them," Gomes said. "There's a big demand for good housing in the neighbourhood. There's not a lot of it."

Both Gomes and Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury say that many new homeowners are young professionals looking for an affordable home where they can start families. While that demographic is great for the neighbourhood’s stability, Fleury said that the core issue remains ensuring Vanier stays affordable for long-time residents, too – including those who can’t afford to own a property.

"The challenge is affordability overall, and that's a citywide issue," Fleury said.

Meanwhile, Nathalie Carrier, Vanier Business Improvement Area’s executive director, said that the rising home prices are being met with both an air of excitement and caution.

"We are excited that after many, many years of Vanier falling behind as a community, it is growing — and the people that have invested in the community are finally seeing returns on their investments," Carrier said. "What we don't want to see is gentrification. We don't want to see this pushing out of the people that have lived here their whole lives."

That’s a legitimate concern, given that Montreal Road – the community’s busy commercial thoroughfare – will be thoroughly overhauled in the coming years with new bike lanes, sidewalks, trees and other streetscape features, according to a CBC report.

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