Ottawa Housing market

Ottawa Citizen
March 24, 2014

Fears of housing market crash in Ottawa are overblown, report says


Fears that a housing bubble is in danger of bursting in Ottawa
are exaggerated, the Conference Board of Canada said in a report published

The report by the Ottawa based think-tank said the city’s resale market is
sluggish and the amount of new home construction remains soft by historical

But the housing market in Ottawa remains balanced between sellers and buyers,
the report said.

“The housing market may be undergoing a correction in some regions and market
segments, but it is more likely to be a soft landing than a bubble bursting,”
Robin Wiebe, a senior economist, said in a statement.

The report said the ratio between houses sold and the number that are put on
the market has been in a downward trend since 2009 and 2010, which is largely
due to falling employment in Ottawa.

The number of new homes built compared to the population growth is in line
with historical averages, the report said. It stated that in some Canadian
markets, housing prices may be headed for a modest decline. “Mortgage costs, not
just house prices, are the principal deciding factor for potential homebuyers,”
Wiebe said.

“Mortgage rates are expected to rise this year, but not dramatically, because
the Canadian economy remains in a slow-growth mode.”

The report said that housing-bubble fears hinge on the ratio of house prices
to apartment rent and house prices to income. While the ratios are high, the
Conference Board of Canada says they are misleading.

“Better indicators of affordability are the ratio of mortgage payments to
rents and mortgage payments to incomes, and neither presents much cause for
alarm about a housing bubble,” the report said.

The Conference Board of Canada’s report, called Housing
Briefing: Bubble Fears Overblown, looked primarily at the housing markets in
Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

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