Home prices way down from last year, up slightly from January
A pause in interest rates is changing the housing market — maybe. Plus OC Transpo’s plan to bring people back to transit.
Could it happen? Could the Sens really make the playoffs? The fans sure want them to. The team just had their first five-game winning streak in six years. And they were buyers at the trade deadline? Heck of a year. Hard to really get your head around, considering where the team has been for some time.
But they’re not there yet. There’s still plenty of distance yet to cover. But after all the summer hype, then the let down of the early season, hope is an odd — but welcome — feeling to have about this team.
Why don’t we get to the newsletter.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
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Monday: +4 🌡️ -9 | ☀️
Tuesday: -3 🌡️ -7 | ❄️ (chance of flurries)
Wednesday: -1 🌡️ -6 | ❄️ (chance of flurries)
Snowbank cleanup: They’re big as heck. But with a brief pause in the snowfall, the city is back to trying to deal with all the accumulated snowbanks across town, CTV reported.
Springing forward: Sunday the clocks roll forward an hour for daylight saving time. Prepare for the change, and another round of debate whether the time change is good or bad.
Home prices dip significantly year-over-year
What happened: The number of home sales dropped significantly compared to a year ago, down to 855 sales compared to 1,411 last February, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. That’s a 39 percent dip from last year, and well below the five-year average of February sales of 1,157.
Prices also dropped 15 percent year-over-year to $708,968. That’s a drop of about $130,000, CTV reported. However, the Ottawa Real Estate Board said prices had increased five percent from January this year.
“The average price increase for freeholds over January could be an indicator that buyers have normalized to the current interest rates. And perhaps, it’s a glimmer of more activity to come in the months ahead,” board president Ken Dekker said.
In flux: The market could be shifting away from a balanced one toward sellers, as the amount of supply in the market has begun to decrease. This month there was about 2.8 months of inventory on the market, dropping a month’s worth of homes from January’s 3.8, according to the board. However, Dekker warned it was too early to predict exactly where the market is going.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
☃️ 308.5 cm: The amount of snow that has fallen this year, 215 cm above average. More snow is possible this month since an average of 38 cm typically falls in March. [CTV]
🥌 98: The age of Isobel Munro, who just celebrated her birthday, and has been a member of the Arnprior Curling Club for 75 years. [CTV]
🏎️ 160 km/h: Police pulled over a driver going this fast — 70 km/h over the speed limit — near Renfrew during the snowstorm Friday night. The driver also had a blood alcohol reading of between 0.05 and 0.08. [CTV]
OC Transpo hopes PR push brings back riders
What happened: With a system plagued by LRT failures and frequently cancelled buses, OC Transpo is hoping a PR push and a few new features will bring back ridership. As part of the push, the transit agency has set up a portal for government workers returning to the office.
The perks(?): OC Transpo hopes free WiFi at more stations along the LRT line, the ability to tap and pay with a credit card, and the return of buskers will bring back workers to transit, the Ottawa Citizen reported. There will also be an ad campaign running through the spring OC Transpo hopes will woo former transit users back to the system after years away.
They’ve also started a blog, The Next Stop, with stories about staff, explainers, and little trips down memory lane with memorabilia and other info.
Ridership: Meanwhile ridership ticked up slightly in December and January, to 5.1 million and 5.5 million trips respectively. That’s at 62 percent of pre-pandemic levels, OC Transpo said in a press release, and in line with their forecasts to finish the year at about 70 percent of pre-pandemic ridership.
Review: At Friday’s Transit Commission meeting, OC Transpo representatives said they will now begin a review of the transit routes to see what changes need to be made based on new ridership patterns, CTV reported. The Lookout had previously reported on this review, which may mean the promises not to change the level of service won’t hold true.
Coming up: At an upcoming meeting, the transit commission will debate whether to study offering a new pass system for hybrid workers. Up until now, the best OC Transpo has been able to offer is the suggestion of sharing a physical pass between different people, a solution that only functions if the people don’t need the pass at the same time.
The current monthly pass is “no longer financially valuable to hybrid workers … and competing with the cost of parking has not proved a sufficient financial incentive to attract hybrid workers back to public transit.” OC Transpo has “no subscription that meets [hybrid workers’] needs,” the motion said.
When? If the motion is approved, it would require city staff to get back to council with a plan by the third quarter, and plan to put the new fare system in place by the end of the year — 12 months after the government announced workers would be back in the office two to three days a week.
NEW LOCAL JOBS
Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.
Communications manager at the EnviroCentre*
Program advisor at the House of Commons
Program coordinator at IPSS
Housing policy analyst at CMHC
Biological scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
🚨 A man was shot by Ottawa police during a shootout near Meadowlands. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The province’s police watchdog is investigating. [CTV]
💥 One of the houses near the Orléans explosion passed a structural inspection, but the family doesn’t feel fully safe. Aside from a blown out window, mostly cosmetic cracks were found throughout the building… [CBC]
🚓 …The man facing a dozen charges for the blast was well known to police. He pleaded guilty to a string of break-ins in 2016, and has previously had charged for breaking into another construction site. [CBC]
🍁 Despite damage from last spring’s derecho, sugar bushes are gearing up for the syrup season. [Ottawa Citizen]
🚌 Asylum seekers who are bused from Quebec to Cornwall and other Ontario cities by the federal government face an uncertain future. This is especially true for francophones who do not speak English, and hoped to stay in Quebec. [CBC]
🔌 A Hydro One expansion will take place this year at the Merivale Transmission Station to increase its capacity, and make it more resilient in the face of climate change. [Ottawa Citizen]
⛸️ For volunteers across the city, this has been one of the hardest winters in living memory for taking care of outdoor skating rinks. [CBC]
⚖️ Ottawa police Const. Paul Heffler was demoted for nine months for concluding two separate investigations in an inappropriate and unprofessional manner and disreputable conduct. Heffler was cleared of discreditable conduct for saying the “white man’s day is done” heard in a 2019 video. [Ottawa Citizen]
Tonight the Sens play in Chicago at the start of a pivotal road trip that could decide their playoff hopes. [Ottawa Sun]
Local environmental non-profit EnviroCentre has an immediate opening for a Communications Manager. Ideal for a skilled professional who enjoys a fast-paced, dynamic work environment. Deadline to apply March 16.*
Time is running out to head out on local skating trails, as the weather warms up. [CBC]
What could replace Nordstrom at Rideau Centre. It wouldn’t be a Dymon storage…would it? (No, of course not[?].) [Reddit]
Three new venues have been brought to the former site of the Mercury Lounge. [Ottawa Citizen]
Who needs real mountains, when we’ve got the Chapman Mills Alps. [Reddit]
Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.
Your guide to the week
🚣♂️ Carleton vs uOttawa, the Rowdown Showdown, Tuesday 6 pm: The two rowing teams from the city’s major universities will face off at Ollie’s Pub and Patio, 1125 Colonel By Dr. They’re raising money for their upcoming seasons. Prizes, music, drinks and food are all on offer. Tickets $8.
💧 Community Vigil for the Rideau Canal Skateway, Tuesday 5 pm: For the first time in its history as a rink, the Canal won't open for skating. Ecology Ottawa is hosting a vigil at Patterson Creek Park to acknowledge climate change and honour what the city is losing. Free.
🐕🦺 Ottawa Therapy Dogs Information Session, Tuesday 7 pm: Ever wondered what it takes to work with a therapy dog? Find out if your dog is right to work with people at this info session at the Richcraft Recreation Complex, 4101 Innovation Dr. Free info session.
🪧 International Women's Day, Wednesday 8:30 am: Elevate International is hosting a free-full day event packed with dozens of great speakers looking to advance the leadership and economic empowerment of women, at the Sr Jon A. Macdonald Buliding, 144 Wellington St. Free reservations.
Jenny Papadopoulos/Ottawa Lookout Reader
Today’s photo comes courtesy of Jenny Papadopoulos. “Our nine-year-old yellow lab Baxter making a snow angel for the Snowsuit Fund’s 2023 Snow Angel Challenge.” He’s doing a very good job!
Do you have a photo you’d like to share with the Lookout community? Send it in!
A foodie’s dream, and it’s free to enter
Our food editor has compiled a fantastic food giveaway of delicious items and local gift cards to some of Ottawa’s best restaurants.
Best of all? You have two chances to win.
Entering is easy. All you have to do is refer a friend (or even better, friends!) to Ottawa Lookout or Capital Eats. Every person you refer increases your odds of winning.
The contest closes on March 8. You must live in Ottawa to enter.
We’ve even made it easy to share! Just click these links to automatically share with your contacts.
Share to enter
Congrats to everyone who got last week’s Ottawa Wordle. The answer was TEXAS, as in the Texas low pressure system that brought the most recent storm.
For today’s Ottawa Quiz, we want to know in what years (it’s the winter, so it spans two years) did the city record its all-time snow record? The first five people to write in with the correct answer will get their names mentioned in the next issue.
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