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Located in the province of Ontario, Ottawa is Canada’s capital city and home to the country’s key government buildings and Parliament Hill. Boasting a population of 943,000, Ottawa is the fourth-largest city, and is known to be the most educated in Canada. Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a ranking as one of the most liveable cities in the world, Ottawa is a very desirable city in terms of employment levels and real estate. Ottawa experiences a humid continental climate and four very distinctive seasons. Summer brings very hot, humid weather and temperatures in the mid-20s, while winter is dominated by snow, ice, and very cold temperatures which frequently hit around -10°C or below.
Ottawa is primarily English speaking, however 37% of the population note to have knowledge of both English and French. The city is very diverse and embraces different cultures, with non-white/ European people making up 23% of the population. Technology is a key driver of the economy, as well as government and federal departments which are located here. The city enjoys fairly low levels of unemployment, clean air and plenty of green spaces, and significant and constant GDP growth.
Ottawa is a tourist hub, with Parliament Hill and the many historic government buildings as key attractions. Peace Tower and Chateau Laurier are also popular places to visit. The Rideau Canal runs right through the city and freezes over in winter, providing a magical setting for ice skating. Winterlude, the largest festival in Canada, happens at Christmas time, and a number of other festivals and events such as Canada Day celebrations, the Fringe Festival, and BluesFesttake place yearly.
Popular areas in Ottawa include: Barrhaven, Britannia, Centretown, Old City/a>, Iris, West Carleton and Richmond.
Ottawa enjoys a fairly balanced and stable real estate market, with detached single-family houses priced between $300,000-$400,000 in highest demand. The city has a growing technology industry which is likely to help strengthen the economy further and bring more millennials to the city.
The housing market is strong, and growth is expected to follow within the next couple of years. Historically low mortgage rates are providing great conditions for first-time buyers, and detached resale homes are seeing more popularity, despite being roughly 16% more expensive than new-build properties. New-build properties are also due to increase, due to their affordability and desirability, however construction will slowly begin to scale back in the next few years due to high supply. Construction of condo units has been discouraged, due to slow sales which may be driven by the relative affordability of renting, weaker first-time homeownership, and the increasing popularity of row housing, which tend to be cheaper than condos.
The economy in Ottawa is expected to stay strong, with greater consumer confidence, especially in the services sector. However, there are slightly lower levels of employment among millennials aged 15-24, which has contributed to a lower demand for rental properties.
Ottawa now has a growing number of luxury properties, with houses between $750,000 and $1 million exiting the market fairly quickly after listing. Luxury sales are increasing year-on-year, and while five years ago high-end properties weren’t very popular among buyers, nowadays they’re much more common.
Wellington West is now one of Ottawa’s most sought-after affluent areas after a significant period of development, investment, and gentrification. It’s known to be a very desirable place to live and boasts a modern yet charming vibe, with a mix of luxury detached properties and new condos. Westboro, Hintonburg, Glebe and Rockcliffe Park are also very attractive areas with luxury real estate. Rockcliffe Park is home to properties priced at over $1 million, and is where many of Ottawa’s top entrepreneurs and officials reside.
Luxury sales have seen increased more than 20% year-on-year, and luxury condos are increasingly becoming more popular, especially among retirees and move-up buyers who are looking to downsize, or are simply on the hunt for something different. The increase is largely driven by Ottawa’s strong and stable economy, as well as general price appreciation in the market.