Last year ended with a rise in sales for Ottawa’s housing market, likely to reflect buyers wanting to beat the tighter mortgage rules brought in this month.

The 8.4% year-over-year increase took the total number of residential properties sold by members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board to 771, up from 711 in December 2016 and well above the five-year average for the month (687).

“December saw an increase of 3.5% in the number of units sold in residential sales and 25% in condo sales. This could very well be attributed to the changes in the mortgage qualification rules implemented January 1, 2018,” speculates Ralph Shaw, 2018 President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

The market remained balanced during 2017 with listings remaining low but new supply offset that to some extent.

Sales prices were up 3.4% year-over-year for residential class homes to an average $434,098 but were down 3% for condo class homes to $255,335. For the year, the average residential sales price was up 6.8% to $425,063 with condos selling for an average $269,903, up 3.4%.

Overall sales for 2017 were up 10% to 17,083 with condos up 22% and residential class sales up 16%.

The mortgage stress test is expected to have less of an impact than in Toronto and Vancouver due to the average price point of Ottawa homes but Shaw says the board will continue to monitor its effects.

“It is unlikely that we will truly see the results of this poorly conceived piece of legislation until the end of the second quarter,” he concludes.

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