Rédacteur / Managing Editor
Rédacteur / Managing Editor
Almost all of Québec and Ontario’s business sectors have been affected by the COVID pandemic, and residential real estate is no exception. But, it’s slightly different than you’d expect. With unemployment high, many citizens have less money to spend. However, that doesn’t seem to be affecting the real estate market in the National Capital area where houses are selling for tens of thousands of dollars over their asking prices because of bidding wars – some up to $100,000 more!
According to the Ottawa Real Estate Board, about 56 % of properties sold over their asking price in June. With year-to-date average sale prices at $554K for residential properties and $351K for condominiums, it represents a 14% and 18% increase over 2019 respectively. Popular communities like Manotick and Kanata have seen increases of around 40% over the last five years: new constructions can’t keep up with demand.
Part of the reason is a shortage of houses – in June, residential inventory in Ottawa was down 52% from last year and condos 42%. There’s also lower interest rates due to the pandemic.
The wave is spreading beyond city limits to areas like Gatineau, Masson-Angers, Val-des-Monts, etc. Could the Pontiac be next?
COVID has created a new reality where working from home is likely to be the way of the future and many colleges and universities are exploring increased online learning. This means one of the major drawbacks of rural life – the long commute to the city for work or school on a daily basis – is becoming less of a problem.
The city’s housing boom could shift to the country as urban dwellers attempt
to trade in their asphalt-ridden, don’t-know-your-neighbour lifestyles for the tightly-knit communities, fresh air, low housing prices, and rich natural environment and resources our rural area has to offer. Especially when the availability and affordability of homes in the city are so reduced. We have the hook and line, all that’s missing is the sinker.
In August 2018, with the anticipated opening of the LiveWell marijuana growing facility in Litchfield, the MRC Pontiac’s Council of Mayors resolved to look into
developing a regional housing strategy to broaden housing options for any new
residents. While the MRC hasn’t been working on a housing plan specifically, there are a few projects underway that have housing as a component: a revised land management plan, Vision2030, and a territorial marketing project.
These are great initiatives, but what we need right now is a focused, all-hands-on deck plan to start riding the housing-boom wave. It requires concerted action to market the Pontiac as THE place to live through various platforms and avenues (online, magazines, newspapers, radio, bus banners, meeting with real estate agents, etc.); more than just including housing as a subsection somewhere in another plan or strategy that is months or years away from completion. Improved internet and cell phone service wouldn’t hurt either!
We can’t afford to miss the boat on this one!