Ottawa consistently ranks among the world’s most desirable cities to call home. The city offers a strong employment market and affordable housing. It is culturally diverse and has something for everyone. From green-space to the foodie scene, to festivals and sporting events, the love for Ottawa is on the rise.
Before we get to gushing about how great the quality of life is here in Ottawa, let’s talk about why now is a good time to buy a house in Ottawa based on the real estate market.
1. Interest rates are still low
Economists are predicting interest rates will remain steady for the rest of 2019 as the mortgage stress test is having a greater than predicted effect on home buyers. With 5-year fixed rate mortgages staying under 4%, it is worth looking into what you can be pre-approved for.
2. Still affordable compared to other Canadian cities.
Take one look at listings in Vancouver and Toronto and you can see just how affordable Ottawa is in comparison. The Globe and Mail reported that the average price for all home types in Toronto was $780,104 last November, while Ottawa’s average price was just $418,354. This disparity is compounded further by the fact that Ottawans have a higher median household income than Torontoians (see #6 below).
3. The city is growing.
After officially hitting a one million population earlier this month, Ottawa is officially on the map. People are flocking to the city with the “small-town feel” because of its affordability, good-paying jobs and quality of life. As we continue to grow, we will see improved infrastructure and start to catch the eye of even more musicians, artists and major sporting events.
4. Housing market is steady and positive.
Ottawa hasn’t seen a negative growth year in over 20 years, and with the reasons outlined above, it’s not likely to see one any time soon.
5. Time of Year
This time of year in particular is great for two reasons: less competition and changing of a season. As it is the last week of school for most families, this next month is filled with activities, summer vacation, and parents juggling kids at home and work. In addition to fewer people having time to look at homes, with the change of the season you may be able to find a great deal. Whether a home has been listed since spring and hasn’t sold, or someone is looking to sell quickly and get into their new home before school starts again, sellers at this time of year can be more motivated to sell. That means they are more likely to be flexible on price, conditions and closing date.
Now that we’ve showed you why now is a good time to buy, let’s talk about why Ottawa is the right place for you!
Quality of Life
6. Employment/Good paying jobs
With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country (5.1%), Ottawa is a great place to find a good-paying job. The median household income here is $102,020 (which is above both Toronto and Vancouver who are $75,270 and $76,040 respectively). This is largely due to Ottawa’s two major employment sectors: federal government and technology.
While most people know Ottawa as a “government-town”, tech is having a major boom. This growth has been focused mainly in Kanata North (Canada’s largest Research and Technology Park) with over 23,000 employees spread across over 500 companies. Households in Kanata North have a combined average of $117,000.(Check out Kanata North Business Association for more information).
Ottawa’s commitment to greenspace, parks and recreational trails is one of the very best reasons to live here. With over 850 parks, 430 kilometres of cross country ski trails and 800 kilometres of bike trails, you’re never far from an outdoor recreational opportunity. Don’t forget about skating the canal in the winter and kayaking/canoeing/paddling boarding it in the summer!
And with just a short drive, you can be hiking in Gatineau Park, camping, boating, or fishing on the surrounding lakes in every direction, skiing/snowboarding at one of the great nearby hills (try Calabogie, Camp Fortune, Mont Ste Marie or Mont Tremblant) or golfing at one of the city’s 30+ courses.
Ottawa has a variety of transportation options available both within the city and to travel to/from it.
Leaving/Visiting the City
- Ottawa boasts an international airport, two train stations and a major bus terminal.
Within the City
- Despite commuters frustration with it, the Queensway can get you from one side of the city to the other in under half an hour outside of rush hours (plan for an extra half hour during rush hours).
- The infamous LRT – while it has been delayed more than once, when the LRT opens, it will provide an additional affordable option for commuters or just getting around this great city.
- With car-sharing services like vrtucar, and both uber and lyft available in the city, an affordable ride is just the click of an app away.
- Bike trails throughout the city offer easy access to downtown from all directions
9. Lifestyle, community, cultural events.
Despite our old appearance of a “sleepy government city”, locals know that times are changing.
- We now have 3 national sport teams that call Ottawa home; catch the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre or the Ottawa Redblacks and the Ottawa Fury at TD Place.
- We have a vibrant foodie scene with new restaurants and breweries popping up all over the city (some of my favourite breweries include Big Rig, Tooth and Nail, Beyond the Pale and Kichesippi).
- We have a ton of great Farmer’s Markets hosted around the city (check out Carp, Lansdowne, Westboro, etc).
- Every year we are hosting more and more festivals and concerts (Bluesfest, Jazzfest, Fringe Festival, CityFolk, among countless others).
- We host a wide variety of cultural festivals and events (Ottawa Asian Fest Night Market, Carivibe, Greekfest, Lebanese, India, and Ukrainian Festivals – to name just a few). Our Canada Day celebrations, Winterlude, Tulip Festival and Pride events are well-known around the world.
- We have numerous museums (Museum of Nature, Canadian Science and Technology Museum, Canadian Museum of War, Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Diefenbunker, and the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau) and galleries/arts centres (National Gallery of Canada and National Arts Centre).
Ottawa has been recognized as one of the top cities to raise a family in Canada due to affordability, quality of life, public transportation, accessibility of parks and libraries and low crime rates. As the nation’s capital, it is also one of the cleanest cities. While every City has some crime, Ottawa has one of the lowest crime rates of any large city in Canada with only 799 violent crime incidents per 100,000 people. It is a place many people visit or come to for school or work and realize they don’t want to leave. With 23% of the population under 19, many people are choosing Ottawa as a place to start and raise their families.
If you or someone you know is thinking about moving to Ottawa, contact me so I can show you why you’ll love Ottawa as much as I do!