Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ottawa Househunters Reach For The Top

Ottawa house-hunters are definitely shopping in the higher reaches of the market.

75 houses in Ottawa priced over $750,000 sold in the first nine months of this year (2006), up 34 % from a year earlier (2005).

High-end houses are selling well in Rothwell Heights and Crystal Bay. Luxury buyers are looking for newer construction with great curb appeal as well as proximity to water.

Still, it takes a special itch to buy a house that costs triple the $255,000 average price for Ottawa resale housing.

While Ottawa has boasted one of the highest average household incomes among major Canadian cities for years, many people seem uncomfortable getting too far ahead of the average.

The market below the luxury range is very strong. Many people are looking to upgrade, but their ceiling is usually $500,000. One secret ingredient appears to be outsiders.

A significant number of Ottawa luxury home customers are international buyers or have come from outside Ontario.

High-end buyers are typically two-income professional families, owners of growing small technology firms and people who have recently inherited money.

Many people moving from Toronto to escape the traffic nightmare, bad ecology, high housing prices and hassles of big-city life. Also they love nature and they like being able to get to Gatineau Park quickly.

They are attracted by the lower prices, but like most people they want something more than they had before. They find that the modest house they sold for $600,000 in Toronto won't pay for the extras they want here without moving into a higher range.

Even with the surge this year, expensive houses represented less than 1 % of all the 11,145 residences sold in the first nine months of the year.

The top priority for luxury homebuyers is:
  • investment potential - 25 %,
  • proximity to excellent schools - 19 %;
  • prestige of the neighborhood - 17 %;
  • luxurious amenities and size of the house - 11 %;
  • prominent neighbors - 8%.
A luxury home is defined as one that is situated in a sought-after neighbourhood, features high-end amenities and has a minimum price ranging from $500,000 to $1 million in the nine cities surveyed.

The pronounced increase in the number of luxury homes sold across the country is a strong reflection of Canadians' confidence in the economy and the real-estate market.

If the aspirations of Canadians play a factor, sales of luxury homes will not diminish anytime soon.

More than one-third of adult Canadians currently live in a luxury home, plan to buy one soon, or aspire to do so one day.

A commercial-style kitchen was cited as an important feature by 26 % of women, but only 15 % of men. A den with a movie viewing theater was picked by 11 % of men and just 5 % of women.

Other important in-home features for would-be buyers were an indoor or outdoor pool, smart wiring, heated floors, a heated driveway and a fitness or relaxation studio.


Post a Comment

<< Home