The Ottawa Citizen published a headline this past weekend that said "The Comeback Kids" in reference to the fact that first time home buyers are starting to return to new home builders.
While resale homes have remained strong and are in fact higher than they were this time a year ago, new home sales plunged by almost 55% during the last quarter of 2008 as compared to 2007. Slowly but surely, that figure is improving.
Drawn by low interest rates, builder and government incentives, new home buyers are flocking back to the model homes. Typically, 35% to 40% of the market for new homes comes from the first-timers and for some builders, the number may be as high as 50%, depending upon the "extras" added which may include very attractive interest rates if the builder has partnered with a lender.
Where are these new home buyers going? Most of the first-timers are going to the suburbs, where homes can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 lower than within the city. Orleans, Kanata and Barrhaven continue to lure young couples hoping to start families or who already have started. According to the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association, the average price of townhomes and semi-detached properties was $258,700 in west Ottawa (including Kanata), $255,400 in the south area (such as Barrhaven) and $285,300 in the east (as in Orleans).
Of course, you can generally do better buying a re-sale home. New homes can be a bit like buying a new car, if you're competing with newer models, you don't always get the same price the builder does if you're in the same neighbourhood where building is on-going. It's best to make sure you want to stay in your new construction home at least five years or more to realize the gain from paying down the mortgage and increased costs of new construction.
The economic chain reaction of a home buyer is measurable; from plumbers, electricians, furniture salespeople, decorators, home improvement stores to just about anything else you can think of that happens when a home is bought and one is sold! Real Estate is one large cog in the engine of our local economy and the continued confidence ensures Ottawa is going to be the first out of the downturn to the economy.