Why Does the Ottawa Market Continue to Rise?

This is a question I’m often asked.

My response is this: For the past 10 years, many people have been moving here, and this trend shows no signs of abating. There’s been a large influx from Canada’s east coast because of a lack of jobs there. There’s been an equally large influx from the west coast and from larger urban centres in Alberta and the interior of British Columbia and other areas where the cost of living has risen sharply.

Ottawa—with its beautiful setting along the Ottawa and Rideau rivers and Rideau Canal—is a very desirable place in which to live and raise a family. Residents have easy access to Gatineau Park and the many natural wonders there. There are plenty of great summer activities, such as bicycling along scenic bike paths, camping and canoeing. There’s plenty to do in winter, as well, with alpine ski resorts, excellent cross-country skiing—not to mention the world’s longest outdoor skating rink—all close by. Plus, we have two excellent universities that attract many students both from Canada and abroad.

In terms of job opportunities, Ottawa is home to the federal government and to a thriving technology industry. The private sector also boasts many service-related jobs, in large part because of the explosion in the number of restaurants and stores that have sprung up to serve Ottawa’s growing population.

Residential development has been happening in every neighborhood—from Orleans in the east to Kanata in the west, and south to Kemptville. Then, as families move here and buy homes and condos, their children become students and help fuel the rental market. It’s no surprise that our vacancy rate is very low and that rents have risen sharply in recent years.

The increased demand for housing in the downtown core has put pressure on some previously disadvantaged neighborhoods to “catch up.” Old neighborhoods begin to turn over and revitalize, becoming more desirable and sought-after. This, in turn, puts upward pressure on prices.

Due to the poor performance of the stock market in the recent past, there is a much higher demand for safer investments such as real estate—historically the safest hedge against inflation.

As supply struggles to keep pace with demand, simple economic principles forecast increased prices.

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