LIKE HOLLYWOOD STARLETS, neighbourhoods become hot for a variety of reasons. In Ottawa, the answer often involves transportation: a new bridge, better transit links, or expanded roads. Recreational facilities also draw buyers’ interest; few things get your kids behind a move better than a nearby rink or pool. Speaking of kids, good schools are always a draw. And a wide range of inventory at a popular price never hurts. (In 2014, almost one in three resale houses sold in the city went for between $300,000 and $399,000.)
On top of all that, a neighbourhood needs that indefinable thing called soul — a sense of community that helps people connect, whether it’s over cabernet at a downtown wine bar or giggling toddlers at a community centre playgroup. “Ottawa is a series of villages, and people want that village mentality,” says Rob Marland of Royal LePage Performance Realty.
Finally, there’s that age-old Ottawa question: what’s hotter, the centre or the suburbs? It all depends on what you’re looking for, but several local realtors give the edge to downtown.
“The core of Ottawa is still undervalued, as it is in any major city,” says Marland. Buyers’ growing comfort with buying an older house may also be fuelling an interest in traditional neighbourhoods. “I think people are coming full circle. I see people wanting the more established homes,” says Jeff Miller of the BGM Real Estate Team, Re/Max Metro-City Brokerage Ltd.
No matter which area appeals to you, 2015 appears poised to be a good year to sign those mortgage papers. Not only are interest rates low but, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board, 2014 also saw increases in inventory that created a buyers’ market.
Ready to shop? Here are 10 neighbourhoods that are ready for their close-up.