Ottawa's housing market still red hot

Don’t expect house prices to dip anytime soon. One real estate advisor tells CTV that high prices in the city seem here to stay.

Robert Hiltz
11 Mar

Good morning!

The Ides of Smarch are upon us, as another storm looks to be rolling in.

Wow. We sent out a survey about a new food and events newsletter we want to launch — one we’re very excited about. And we were floored. More than 700 of you responded with your suggestions and ideas about restaurants, events and other things you want covered. 

If you missed it the first time, we’d love to get your feedback. You can find the survey here.

With that, how about we see what’s going on in this town.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Special Weather Statement: Winter weather returns Friday evening with 5 cm to 12 cm of  snow falling overnight and into Saturday.

Friday: -1 🌡️ -4 | ⛅️/❄️

Saturday: -5 🌡️ -15 | ❄️

Sunday: -4 🌡️ -6 | ⛅️

Monday: +6 🌡️ -6 | 🌧

Mask Mandate Drops Before The End Of The Month

Too soon? Several experts are warning that by lifting most mask mandates March 21, the province is moving too quickly. Dr. Peter Juni, the head of the Ontario COVID-19 Science table told CFRA it would be better if the province waited to see if the latest wave of the pandemic had actually receded before dropping the mandate.

  • "I’m not suggesting it couldn’t work. It could, because we also have accumulated a lot of immunity. … But it might have been a good idea just to first wait for the data to show: do we remain stable? Or do we start to see an increase resulting from the steps we did on March 1?” Juni said.

An individual burden: Now, the onus for getting through the pandemic is back on each of us as individuals, Ottawa’s chief medical officer Dr. Vera Etches said. “We are shifting to a space where individuals and their families must choose how to, rather than be mandated, to best protect themselves. This will include the decision to wear a mask in indoor or shared spaces,” she said, according to CTV.

  • Dig deeper: Exhaustion, Pride, Lingering Sadness: Two Years That Changed The Ottawa Hospital And Its Frontline Workers

OCDSB considers its own mandate: The Ottawa-Carleton District School board says it is looking into whether it can institute a mask mandate itself, CTV reports. The board, the city’s largest, is weighing its options, as it looks to protect students. Parents should expect to hear more over March Break. 

Not only will mask mandates be ending province-wide, the monitoring of infections will also end March 21, CTV’s Colin D’Mello tweeted.

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • $0.15: Amount the price of gas is expected to drop today, according to one analyst. [CityNews]
  • $52,000: Amount of money available from the city for small-scale community initiatives to support the environment. Consider applying today.

Housing Market Set To Stay Hot, Rentals Returning To Normal

Not a bubble: Don’t expect house prices to dip anytime soon. One real estate advisor tells CTV that high prices in the city seem here to stay. This is making it difficult for people looking to get into the housing market. One searcher tells the broadcaster that despite being approved for a $500,000 mortgage, she’s been unable to find a home for months. 

  • A townhouse bought in 2020 at $500,000 with a $50,000 down payment would cost about $2,008 in monthly payments. Now that house is worth about $650,000, and the monthly costs are about $2,950, CTV reported.

Rental market returning to normal: For large apartment owners, the worst of the pandemic seems to be over. Minto, who operate about 3,100 units in the city, told investors in a call they expect business to be back to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of the year, the Ottawa Citizen reported

About 95 percent of Minto’s units are occupied, up from 91 percent earlier in the pandemic. Before the pandemic, fully 98 percent were occupied.

  • Read more: Why Canada Is Losing Affordable Rental Housing Faster Than It's Being Built

From the Archive: Ukrainian Grocery Duke Fine Foods Brings Wonderful Tastes From Across Europe To The Capital

Chyzhevskyi Family of Duke Fine Foods, from left to right Oleg, Alyona, Vladyslav
Chyzhevskyi Family of Duke Fine Foods, from left to right Oleg, Alyona, Vladyslav. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

On Wednesday our food and wine editor Ralf shared a lovely review of Duke Fine Foods, a local grocery run by a Ukrainian family who moved here from Ukraine six years ago.

Ralf's review: "Duke may well be the largest European Deli in the National Capital Region. It's bright, supremely clean and the clear sightlines and wide aisles make for inviting shopping. The packaged products are largely from the east; from countries such as Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine, Hungary, and even Germany and Italy."

You can read Ralf's entire review on our website. 

Stories You Might've Missed

Convoy-supporting cops under investigation: The Ottawa Police Service is investigating a “very small number” of its own officers for their support of the convoy. Interim Chief Steve Bell’s wording implies they may be looking at more than just donations, but he did not say exactly what the officers were under investigation for, or how many. At least six Ottawa officers were identified on the leaked list of donors. [CBC]

Gas prices will hit the vulnerable hard: As prices stay high, organizations like Meals On Wheels will  feel the squeeze from the higher gas prices. So too will the Good Companions Seniors Centre, who help seniors get to appointments. It’s making it difficult for them to budget for the next year, and may require fundraising drives down the road. [CTV]

Stabbed teen stable: A student at a Barrhaven high school is stable after they were stabbed at school. Police are still investigating, and no one has been charged in the assault. [CTV]

Ottawa woman released by Taliban: An NGO worker who decided to stay in Afghanistan after the Taliban retook the country has been released after 24 days in custody. The family of Nadima Noor credits media coverage for securing her release. Noor plans to continue her work in the country. [CTV]

Level zero: In December, the city was without ambulances 143 times, with one instance lasting for more than 15 hours on Dec. 31. The day before, there were no available ambulances for nearly 13 hours. And on the 28th, the city was without ambulances for 11 hours. Ambulances from nearby townships needed to be brought in to ease the load. [CBC]

Expect plenty of police on St. Paddy’s: There will be plenty of police in the Market and Sandy Hill next week for St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday falls on a Thursday this year, but they’ll be staying through the weekend, focusing on liquor license infractions and general bad behaviour. [CityNews]

City Hall Bulletin

Reporting on the latest news from City Hall

Running for council: Current director of the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation Laine Johnson announced on Twitter she is running for council. Johnson is looking to run in the west-end College Ward, for the seat currently held by Coun. Rick Chiarelli. “College Ward is a special part of Ottawa that deserves representation that will make sure it thrives. I am determined to do everything I can to develop a vision that creates safer, more inclusive, and joyful opportunities for everyone,” Johnson says. Her campaign will officially launch in May.

Meehan off library board: Coun. Carol Anne Meehan resigned as a trustee from the Ottawa Public Library Board after she revealed confidential information from a closed-door meeting, the Ottawa Citizen reports.

Short-term rental permit deadline approaches: Starting April 1, anyone looking to rent out either their principal residence or a secondary vacation property will have to have a permit, the City of Ottawa says. Permit criteria include capacity limits, displaying emergency contact information, information on local bylaws, a criminal check, and proof of insurance.

New misconduct Bill moves ahead: A new bill to make it possible for councillors to lose their seats after misconduct has moved ahead in the provincial legislature. The bill was put forward by former Ottawa city councillor and current provincial MPP Stephen Blais, who moved the legislation after Coun. Rick Chiarelli was found by the city’s integrity commissioner to have harassed staff, CBC reports.

What do you think about this new section covering City Hall?

Time is Running Out to Nominate an Ottawa Community Hero

In recognition of our those who stood up for our community during the convoy, the Ottawa Lookout is asking residents to nominate individuals and organizations who made a difference during these difficult times, who represented and lifted up our city.

Nominate an Ottawa Community Hero today and recognize the heroes in our community. But hurry — nominations close in less than 24 hours. 

Community Highlights

  • Registration is officially open for the “Cleaning up the Capital Campaign.” Call 311 or visit to participate in the local clean up projects. [CityNews]
  • The Great Glebe Garage Sale is back May 28. Find some local second-hand treasures while supporting the Ottawa Food Bank.
  • Adventure Report has a helpful list of fire pits you can use in Gatineau Park.
  • Ottawa Reddit users shared their top spots for affordable date night ideas. The list includes The ThirdHouse of TargSansoteiLumberjaxe and Costco’s $1 hotdog if you’re really trying to save money.
  • Narcity’s got a new list of hidden places around Ottawa that locals love to keep hidden away from those outside the city.
  • Congrats to the Ottawa Hospital which ranked 11th overall for best Canadian hospital. Queensway Carleton Hospital ranked 19th and Montfort Hospital ranked 55th. [CTV News]

Here’s your guide to the weekend:

  • What’s happening with beer? Bicycle Craft Brewery’s hoppy On The Lam IPA is back, along with a new beer celebrating International Women’s Day and Whiprsnapr’s got a new beer called Blueberry Pancakes. Do you work at a brewery? Send us your new beer releases and we’ll include them in our newsletter. 
  • "Hottest energy in the city” is how the Fire and Ice Winter Exhibit is described. Visit Bank Street this weekend to see the exhibit.
  • Movie lovers rejoice. The International Film Festival of Ottawa is happening now until March 20. Check out the full schedule here
  • Our food and wine editor Ralf has two outstanding red wines to try this weekend that won’t break your bank account.
  • The world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters are visiting Ottawa on Sunday. Tickets start at $54.
  • Catch the Ottawa Senators at the Blackhawks this Saturday at 7:00pm. Tickets will set you back $35.
  • We recommend Caribbean food this weekend and we have three spots you should check out, including Lil Negril at 261 Centrepointe Dr., Soleil Des Iles at 287 Queen Mary St. and Run2Patty at 1224 Shillington Ave.

Today's Top Photo

André Martin/Reader photo

Reader André Martin sends us this great shot of the city on a cold morning from his balcony in Westboro. Makes you want to pour a warm cup of coffee just looking at it.

Have a snow photo? Send it over and it could be featured in our newsletter and on social media.

Daily COVID Stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 832 (+134) 
  • Deaths: 752 (+1) 
  • Ottawans In Hospital: 8 
  • Ottawans In ICU: 2 
  • Acute Beds Occupied: 100%
  • ICU Beds Occupied: 74% 
  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 33%

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