Photo: James Bombales

Canadian homebuyers are increasingly looking for cheap alternatives to the pricey Toronto housing market. One contender that has emerged in recent months? Ottawa, which has seen activity gain momentum throughout 2018.

Last month saw new listings fall 17.5 percent year-over-year, continuing a year-long trend of rising demand in the Ontario city. What’s more, condo listings fell a whopping 34.5 percent year-over-year.

As listings dip, demand remains strong — sales were up 5.7 percent year-over-year, according to data from the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB).

“October’s sales are truly indicative of the fast-paced market we have experienced for much of 2018,” writes Ralph Shaw, president of OREB, in a statement. “Year-to-date average Days on the Market are down 14 percent from 45 to 39 days for residential homes and down 24 percent from 68 to 51 days for condos.”

Shaw names the lack of listings as a “major driving factor” in home prices, as more and more buyers make their way into the market.

“If we look back to 2015 and 2016, our current active inventory is less than half of what we had then, and it’s not improving,” he writes.

Prices continued their upward trajectory in October, with condos in the downtown core selling for an average price of $405,190, up 13 percent year-over-year, while condos in the east end sold for an average price of $300,000, up 15 percent year-over-year.

Prices were up 7 percent across property types, reaching an average price of $431,300.

Shaw maintains that, despite the rise in prices, the market remains relatively affordable compared to its higher priced peers.

“Ottawa’s reputation as one of the most affordable cities in the country endures with residential average prices…continuing to come in under $450,000,” he writes.

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