Home sales drop 35 percent in July

Interest rate hikes are putting a damper on sales, but that’s good news as the Ottawa housing market looks to be finding some stability at last.

Good morning!

Today, we’re happy to announce the name of our standalone food newsletter that will be launching later this month. Capital Eats will be your weekly guide to restaurants and chefs in and around Ottawa. Stay tuned, we’re you’re going to be able to sign up to get all the best food insights for the city very soon!

Also one new fun thing — we’ve launched a $100 ice cream giveaway with La Cigale. Entering is free. Plus there’s a special bonus prize you could win (but you’ll have to sign-up for the gift card to find out what it is).

With that, let’s get to your newsletter.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

If you find this newsletter valuable, please consider forwarding it to your friends. New to the Lookout? Sign-up for free.

Friday: 28 🌡️ 18 | ⛅

Saturday: 31 🌡️ 20 | ☀

Sunday: 33 🌡️ 18 | 🌦

Monday: 23 🌡️ 14 | 🌧

Number of home sales drops more than one-third

What happened: There were only 1,110 home sales in Ottawa in July, down 35 percent from the 1,718 that were sold in July 2021, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Sales dropped for residential properties and condos, 36 percent and 34 percent respectively.

Key numbers:

  • Average condo prices rose one percent to $425,694 from July 2021

  • Average home prices rose five percent to $716,354

  • July’s sales were also well below the five-year average for sales of 1,691.

Hitting the brakes: According to Board president Penny Torontow, big jumps in interest rates are reducing sales. “We are witnessing a profound slowdown in Ottawa’s resale market. July’s numbers reveal that buyers are indeed putting on the brakes more heavily than what is typically expected during the mid-summer sales dip,” Torontow said in a statement.

  • “While sales are down compared to last year, it's important to put the last year into context — 2021 was the best year for real estate, setting both sales and price records. … But when you pull back and take a broader look, we are currently on the same pace as we were in 2019 — the third-best year on record,” realtor Taylor Bennett told CTV.

Bennett went on to tell the broadcaster that sales were well ahead of the normally steady growth in prices in the city, which has been constant since the 1950s. After the last four years, he said sellers are still looking at prices $200,000 above where they would have otherwise expected to be.

  • Dig deeper: Is now the time to rent or buy a home? Experts weigh in [CTV]

Ottawa by the numbers

  • $0.12: The amount gas prices are expected to drop this morning from the weekly high, to an average of 167.9 cents per litre. [CTV]

  • 31: The number of confirmed monkeypox cases in the city. [Ottawa Citizen]

Crisis in hospitals reaching a critical point

Ottawa nurse gives grave warning: Civic Hospital nurse Rachel Muir told CTV the situation in hospitals is critical. “We are beyond crisis now and we need some serious short-term measures to prevent our health-care system from collapsing completely,” Muir told the broadcaster.

Bill 124: One major issue facing nurses is the provincial Bill 124, which caps salary increases for nurses and other healthcare workers at one percent annually. Muir told CTV the situation is untenable, because senior nurses are leaving the industry and those that stay are forced to do overtime just to keep the doors open.

Ontario’s plan: The province has directed the bodies that certify doctors and nurses to come up with a plan in the next two weeks. 

The government wants to speed up the system to register healthcare workers from outside Canada. The backlog of internationally trained nurses looking to be registered is about 26,000 people.

  • “Make no mistake about it, there’s a logjam but 90 percent of the patients are getting taken care of when they're going into the hospital. Surgeries are at 90 percent. Can we do better? 100 percent,” Premier Doug Ford said according to CTV. (Which would mean 10 percent of people are not getting the appropriate care.)

Our analysis: After months of tracking Ottawa Public Health figures, we’ve seen the percentage of acute beds occupied by all patients in area hospitals is rarely below 90 percent, no matter the state of COVID infections. This is a number that tracks all patients, not just people with COVID. It’s a worrying signal that the problems in hospitals go well beyond the pandemic.

  • Dig deeper: Doug Ford needs to start telling the truth about Ontario’s healthcare crisis [TVO]

City hall update

Community wants to stop St. Brigid’s sale: The Lowertown Community Association wants the city to step in and stop the sale of St. Brigid’s church to group with possible ties to the convoy movement. The association wants the city to buy the building itself, or force it to be sold to someone local. The board members of The United People of Canada are from London, Ont. Community advocacy group Horizon Ottawa has started a petition asking the city to step in. [CBC]

Supreme Court says no to Kanata lawsuit: The city’s appeal to the Supreme Court to hear a case to prevent the Kanata Golf and Country Club from being developed for homes has been rejected. A lower court’s decision to allow it to go ahead,, will stand.. [CBC]

Stories you might have missed

Local man saves family: Ottawa Fire Services is commending a local 18-year-old for keeping a family, whose jet ski capsized, above water while they waited for rescue. Jayden Lamarche went over to help the father and two children, called 911 then brought the youngest onto his jet ski, had the one child hold onto his boat, and grabbed hold of the father whose life jacket was slipping off. [CTV]

Merry Dairy wants milk rule changes: Forced to end their wholesale operation, the Merry Dairy wants changes to the supply management system in the dairy sector. Because they don’t have a designation as a milk plant, the shop was forced to pull tubs of ice cream from local stores or face fines of $1,000 per day from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. Ice cream makers can only sell directly to customers, but not wholesale to others without a licence. [CBC]

Pollution closes Lac Leamy beach: The NCC has closed Parc du Lac-Leamy due to water pollution. It’s currently the only outdoor public swimming area currently closed because of bad water quality. [CTV]

Man charged for ramming Parliament gates: A 29-year-old has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and mischief, after he allegedly rammed his car into the front gates of Parliament. The security gates held, with limited damage. [CBC]

$100 of ice cream? Yes please

It’s summer and that means ice cream. The only thing better than ice cream is free ice cream.

We’ve teamed up with La Cigale to giveaway a $100 gift card for their delicious ice cream. That’s enough to fill you up for the summer!

How to enter: Input your email. That’s it. Simple right? You can also increase your chances by referring others.

But hurry, the contest ends Aug. 20.

Ottawa’s best parks: Major’s Hill

Lookout readers picked their favourite parks in the city. Here’s one you chose as worth a visit.

What to do: Probably the best views in the city. To the north, you’ve got the National Gallery the Alexandra Bridge and the Ottawa River; to the south, there is the Chateau Laurier; and to the west, the best view of all, Parliament and its Library. Lovely gardens and quiet paths make this downtown park the perfect spot for a picnic.

What people are saying: “The park is very peaceful and quiet. It is beautiful and has many different flowers. … It's nice to go for a walk/run along the river or go for a picnic and enjoy a laid back and relaxing time.” — Alaleh

See the rest of our parks guide and find more great green spaces around the city here.

Community highlights

  • Meet the Canadian star of Athletico Ottawa, Ballou Tabla. [CTV]

  • Puppets Up! is your ticket to a fun-filled weekend. Puppet shows, kids crafts and food and vendor markets - there’s something for kids and parents. Purchase tickets today.*

  • Our food editor may have found the city’s best burger.

  • Don’t forget to plan your trips as the full closure of the 417, and nightly closures of the LRT, start next week. [CBC]

  • Check out our review of an excellent sushi restaurant with “quality you won't expect for the price … Sushi Ro is simply very good and a new go-to favourite.”

  • Looking for a pet that loves affection? Look no further than Daphne, an eight-month-old rabbit available for adoption. [CityNews]

*Sponsored advertisement

Your weekend guide

Ottawa Greek Fest | Friday to Sunday this weekend and next | 4:30 pm to 10 pm | 1315 Prince of Wales Dr. | Free | A festival of food, family fun, sounds, and so much more, head on out to Ottawa Greek festival.

Vegans Who Snack Food Festival | Friday 4 pm to 9 pm | 366 Parkdale Ave. | Free | Tonight at the Parkdale Market is the city’s vegan food festival. They’ve expanded their hours and the number of vendors!

75th Annual Navan Fair | Friday and Saturday 8 am to 12 am, Sunday 8 am to 5 pm | Navan | $3 for kids, $10 for seniors, $12 for adults | Alpaca shows, demolition derbies, antique farm equipment, horse shows, cattle shows, an education barn and a midway. Plus free parking and an OC Transpo shuttle.

Les Grands Feux Casino Lac-Leamy, Team France | Saturday | 6 pm | Canadian Museum of History | $30 for a single show, $120 for the whole festival | Head on over to the Gatineau side of the river to watch the second of six fireworks displays on the Ottawa River. 

Dino Stroll | Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm | EY Centre | $45.14 | Take the kids on a stroll through life-size dinosaurs and dragons. There’s story time, crafts, and even bouncy castles (bring socks!). The first Saturday session at 8:30 am is sensory-friendly with sound and light adjustments for those whore have sensory sensitivities.

Auto Show Gatineau | Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm | Parc Des Cèdres, Gatineau | Free to visit, $20 to exhibit a car | An exhibition of vintage and modern cars in the park, open for the whole family, rain or shine.

Today's top photo

A photo of the Bank Street Bridge at night

André Martin/Ottawa Lookout Reader

Today’s photo comes to us via André Martin, who sends this great shot of the Bank Street Bridge over the Canal. Maybe one of your newsletter writer’s favourites in the city. (Well, from below anyway.)

Have some nice photos from around the city? Send them in! We’re always looking to run reader photos.

Weekend Ottawa Wordle

There was no GeoGuesser this week, so there were no winners. But come back Monday for a new edition.

Apologies for the typo in last week’s Wordle, we promise this week’s is typo-free. Play now.

Latest COVID stats

Note: Ottawa Public Health is now only updating COVID stats twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. Because of the Lookout’s publishing schedule, this means the numbers here may be out of date. For the most recent stats, see the OPH COVID Dashboard.

  • Active Cases: 1,174

  • Total deaths: 844

  • Ottawans In Hospital: 27

  • Ottawans In ICU: 3

  • Acute Beds Occupied: 96% 

  • ICU Beds Occupied: 70% 

  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 29% 

Previous Lookout editions

  • Major closures to the 417 and LRT this month - read more 

  • Paramedic service under heavy strain - read more 

  • LRT expected to return Friday - read more 

  • Wheel hub problems take LRT out of service - read more 

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