by Neil Sharma 25 May 2018 MBN

Ottawa’s housing market has caught fire, and the reason: An influx of buyers from outside of the region.

“Some of it is the ripple effect of higher priced markets like Toronto or B.C.,” said Dorothy Smith, a broker with Mortgage Brokers Ottawa. “We’re finding more people who can work remotely are purchasing here. They can work in Ottawa and still maintain a job in Toronto or other centres. Some of our buyers are migrating from those higher-priced areas to Ottawa to capitalize on the lower prices we have had, which are now increasing a little bit.”

To say that prices are increasing a little bit might be an understatement. The Canadian capital is replete with multiple offer situations, which Smith says have become inescapable in the last two to three months.

“Last year, we had a few situations where specific areas had higher selling prices, but now there are more and more multiple offer situations all over the immediate Ottawa area where prices are going up quite quickly,” said Smith. “For the most part, it’s people who have been used to the Toronto pricing or the B.C. pricing and are willing to buy at a higher price than what the lists are.”

The bidding wars are manifesting in the same way they did in Toronto’s single-family detached market before the Fair Housing Plan put a stop to them virtually overnight.  Sandra Tisiot, a mortgage agent with DLC Smart Debt, has a slew of preapproved clients who are unable to find homes.

“A lot of bidding wars are happening,” she said. “I’m sitting on a pile of preapprovals but they’re losing out on the homes every time they go and put an offer in.”

While both Smith and Tisiot say there’s an influx of buyers from outside the Ottawa region, the latter says they’re even coming from abroad.

“We do have foreign buyers—anyone outside of the Ottawa footprint, whether that’s coming from Toronto or overseas. We have an influx of buyers from overseas coming in with cash offers,” Tisiot said before adding that financing conditions have gone the way of the dodo.

“They may have the inspection clause in there, but at this point buyers are just going in with no clauses at all, especially the foreign ones because they have cash. It doesn’t matter if it appraises or not, they’re going to pay it.”
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