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Are We Close To Popping The Canadian Real Estate Bubble?

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My parents live in a retirement home in a newer development in Ottawa.  During the 2 years they have lived there, I have witnessed an incredible number of homes being constructed in the area in this short period of time.  I’ve seen forests turn to fields, and those fields turn into subdivisions full of (mostly) executive town homes. Homes are constructed so quickly, it seems I see a new house in the neighbourhood every time I visit. To the average person like me, it appears that developers are swallowing up fields and forests in the area at an alarming rate.

I’ve been hearing rumours for awhile now that Canada’s housing market is a bubble on the verge of bursting.  I suppose that could be true in some of Canada’s largest cities like Toronto and Vancouver.  Apparently, Toronto is full of newly built condos that are sitting empty, and Vancouver, well they’ve got some of the costliest real estate in all of Canada (like the $38 million dollar West Vancouver mansion that has been featured in the news lately).  But here in Ottawa, it sure seems like our bubble isn’t anywhere close to being popped.

The other thing that amazes me as I drive around these neighbourhoods, is the size of all the new houses and town homes being built.  Every one of them dwarfs any house that was made in the 1950’s-1970’s.  Many houses in the older neighbourhoods could fit inside the main floor of some of these giant homes.

With huge homes, come huge costs – mortgages, property taxes, heating, electricity, home repairs and more.  My question is, where do all the people come from that can afford these types of homes, and all the expenses that come with them? Most of the homes I am referring to are in the $600,000 to $800,000 range. Gulp!

So when I read the other day that the Canadian housing market remains strong,  according to CMHC, this little housing boom I’m seeing in Ottawa seemed to make more sense.  CMHC takes a more modest approach than I do, saying that housing starts will soften and buyer demand will decline, however, they feel housing sales will continue to grow.

The real estate market also appears healthy in my area of Ottawa.  With spring just around the corner, I’m already seeing many houses popping up for sale, including one that went up for sale just over a week ago, and sold quickly within days.

So it seems that those that can afford to purchase a house here in Ottawa will continue to enjoy a solid selection of homes available for sale, both old and new, while those that will be putting their houses up for sale this spring shouldn’t have to worry too much about being able to sell. Combine this with the current low interest rates available to those seeking a new mortgage, it appears that Ottawa’s real estate market is set for another healthy spring/summer season.

What about where you live? Does the housing market seem strong there?


  1. March 6, 2014

    Jenna Em

    Sandi, I enjoyed reading your article. I’m in Toronto of course, and the market is OUTRAGEOUS! We bought our resale home 6 months ago and prices were through the roof. But in a similar vein, we also sold our house during the same timeframe and it sold in one day–with 7 offers to purchase!

    • March 6, 2014


      Hi Jenna! I cannot even imagine the housing prices in Toronto – it’s bad enough here in Ottawa! You sold yours in one day – with 7 offers? Now that’s unbelievable! So was there a bidding war? Thanks so much for stopping by, Jenna!

  2. March 10, 2014


    My house was built in the early 50’s and a few years ago we did add a second floor, but the house certainly does not come close to the monster homes they build today. Just the thought of cleaning one of those houses drives me crazy. I honestly have no idea how people afford them or why they want such a large house? Maybe so everyone can be in their own little spot and never have to mingle? I will pass thank you.

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