December 2023 Market Summary
Though we saw the usual dip in traffic through the holiday season, average sale prices and sales volume remained steadier through December than usual
Despite sticky prices in 2023, this year was the first year in 27 years that we saw a year-over-year decrease in the annual average price of a home in Ottawa
Total active listings fell sharply, though more homes remained for sale than at this time last year
The significant drop in supply pushed the supply and demand equation in favour of sellers, though we expect this will be short-lived
Industry analysts are projecting sales growth of around 10% in 2024, while prices should remain relatively flat through this year. Check out our 2024 market forecast blog for more on this.
Read on to explore the most recent numbers for December.
Number of Home Sales
Total last month
vs Previous Month
vs Same Month Last Year
vs 5-Year Average*
* Residential sales include all residential properties; freehold includes detached singles, townhouses, and semi-detached homes; and condos include apartments, row units, and stacked-style dwellings.
** Based on the 5-year average for the month covered in this report.
Members of the Ottawa board sold a total of 634 properties last month, which is 7% above this time last year. Condo sales volume was particularly high, coming in nearly 12% above December 2022, though this can be taken with a grain of salt given a small sample of only 151 units. While many economists expect the market to be generally stronger in 2024, time will tell if this is an early indicator of things to come.
The graph below shows monthly sales volume data grouped by month since 2018.
Average Sale Prices (year-over-year)
Average Last Month
vs Previous Month
vs Same Month Last Year
vs 5-Year Average
Average prices remained flat month-over-month in December, while condo prices increased slightly. Freehold prices rose by nearly 4% as compared to last year, which was a surprise given the slow pace of sales we have seen through the fall and into the winter.
The following graph shows monthly average sale price data since 2018.
Active Listings by Month
At the end of December, 2,538 homes were available for sale in Ottawa, representing a 1074-unit decrease from the previous month. Falling inventory is normal for this time of year (see graph below) because many sellers suspend or cancel their listings and fewer new properties are listed for sale leading up to the holidays. While this is a significant decrease in supply, 11% more homes remained available compared to this time last year. For this reason, buyers would do well to keep an eye on the market while fewer buyers are active and while many sellers are motivated to sell.
The chart below shows the active listing data for the last 5 years.
Cumulative Days on Market
Cumulative days on market ("CDOM") refers to the total number of days a home is available for sale before it is sold firm. CDOM includes the time that a property is conditionally sold or the time that the property is available before being canceled and re-listed.
Last month, a home took 66 days to sell, on average. This number is up from November when homes sold in 56 days. At this pace, homes are selling 12% slower than this time last year and 29% slower than the 5-year average for the month of December.
CDOM data since 2018 can be found in the table below.
Months of Inventory
The months of inventory measure ("MOI") is calculated by taking the number of homes available for sale and assessing how long it would take for those to sell if demand remained constant and no new inventory was added to the market. This measure is a core indicator that helps assess whether we are in a buyer's, seller's, or balanced market.
A balanced market has 4 to 6 months of inventory.
A seller’s market has less than 4 months of inventory.
A buyer's market has more than 6 months of inventory.
In December 2023, there were 4 months of inventory available in our marketplace. This is down from last month when we had roughly 4.4 months of inventory available. The drop in MOI has more to do with the significant drop in available listings from November to December than increased sales activity.
MOI data since 2014 can be found in the chart below.
Last year in context
As expected, 2023 marked the first drop in annualized average prices since 1996. 2023 was also the largest single year-over-year drop in prices since we started keeping records for individual cities in 1956. Interestingly, the second-highest drop was in 1961, when average prices fell by 4.29%.
The historical average price of a home in Ottawa since 1956 can be found in the chart below.
What This Means for You
It is critical to note that broad aggregate data is useful to establish trends, but significant variability exists at a community and housing-type level. If you are interested in getting a more refined estimate of the value of your home, or if you are interested in beginning your house hunt, we would love to help!
Give us a call at 613-614-2999 for your no-obligation consultation.
* Real estate market data is taken from the Ottawa Real Estate Board's Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and is believed to be accurate but is not warranted.