What IS this market? Is it a Buyer’s? A Seller’s? Balanced? Or just plain illogical?

Let’s face it, 2022 has been nothing but rate increases and media panic about the housing market. Between the banks, the real estate industry, the government and the media it is hard to know where the truth lies.

2019 saw real estate markets take on double digit gains over the previous year. 2020 was no different in Ottawa with all the experts calling for a 9-12% gain over 2019. Then the pandemic hit and everything went haywire. Oddly, it didn’t all happen in a vacuum over the one thing. The lack of inventory that sparked the market rise was in process from 2018 forward. It was a perfect storm.

Builders stopped building “spec” homes and would only built as homes were bought. This habit began after 2008, so buying a new home began to take longer between signing papers and getting keys. Canada’s biggest population group since the baby boomers was also coming of age in terms of buying property. Immigration was at an all time high. The stressors on the market were already in place….the pandemic only served to speed up the process. For Ottawa in particular, here is what we witnessed.

  1. The normal cycle of Sellers coming to market took a nosedive in 2020 – a deathly virus = “we aren’t moving”
  2. Our military relocations also stalled, removing a significant secondary chunk of inventory.
  3. As the pandemic forced people to work from home, companies decided their employees could work remotely creating mass exoduses from high priced markets like Toronto and Vancouver. It spread down the 401 and then up to Ottawa. Employees decided to move closer to family, or to affordable cities with good transit and schools. Lifestyle choices became paramount and goodness knows, a million dollars in Toronto’s market goes A LOT farther in Ottawa.

For a good 2 years Seller’s couldn’t believe what people were willing to pay for homes, banks were rocked on their heels by the new prices and had to review everything to make sure appraised values would meet market expectations and Buyers….the poor Buyers….were being hit with 5,10,20 competing offers and very little chance to do the due diligence that real estate requires.

For 730 days everyone we met would ask us about the market and our reply was – “do you have a crystal ball? Because mine is broken!”

There was no logic to anything, no consistency, nothing to rely on. Sales comparables were almost useless week to week, month to month….and then, just when we thought we had a bit of a handle on the style and stresses of that market, the interest rate hikes began.

Buyer’s threw their hands up and said “we need to wait” as their purchasing power changed with each announcement. Sellers that were banking on multiple offers were suddenly wondering where everyone went. It was a complete standoff…..

Everything about the housing market was in the news, from falling prices to general affordability to the horrifying tactics of the “bad apples” in real estate. There seems to be no positive or common sense information anywhere….so allow us our two cents worth;


The market is balancing. Yes, there is inventory, but still not enough. We still see multiple bids for homes of the highest caliber (location, condition, well priced) but that has almost always been so. Prices are falling, but they aren’t diving off a cliff. Buyer’s are waiting until they are SURE of what they can afford. Rest assured, they are still there (so says our list of 15-20 that are in the wings) and getting ready to enter then market again. And it’s HIGH TIME the Buyer’s could perform their due diligence with conditions for financing and inspection….bring on the scales and let’s get this market flowing nice and steady….





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Ottawa, Ontario
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