Home Hunting in Canada: Octagonal Views of the Riverside Outside of Ottawa
A modern four bedroom house by the river
$ 3.77M ($ 4,795 CANADIAN DOLLARS)
Located on the banks of the Rideau River, this custom built four bedroom home is in Manotick, a village about 15 miles south of Ottawa, Canada’s capital. The 3.4-acre property features 264 feet of waterfront, with two boat launching ramps. “It’s rare to acquire a property on the river with so much waterfront,” said Marilyn Wilson of Dream Properties, the listing broker. “And having two boat slips is unusual. You wouldn’t be able to get them now because of the retention rules.
Built in 1985 for the family of a local building executive, the 6,105-square-foot home is anchored in a large, slender octagonal hall with a 20-foot domed ceiling of honey-toned BC fir, narrows into a skylight. “The stacked and repeated design of the ceiling is reminiscent of Art Deco, but the materials make it very warm for a contemporary home,” Ms. Wilson said. A granite column in the center of the room incorporates two gas fireplaces, built at right angles to each other.
Walls of windows provide river views from three sides of the Great Room, which is large enough to encompass the living and dining areas. “The sight lines are spectacular,” Ms. Wilson said, including “incredible sunset views” from the west-facing windows.
The adjacent kitchen is centered around a V-shaped island topped with granite with a raised glass countertop. A matching granite covered gas fireplace faces the island. High-gloss planks of jatoba, or Brazilian cherry wood, cover the kitchen floor, and sliding glass doors open to a wraparound deck, which provides an unobstructed, curtain-like river landscape.
Down a short staircase, the opposite side of the house has three bedrooms. Double solid oak doors open onto the master suite, whose sloping ceiling reproduces the beamed design of the great room.
The master suite connects to the house terrace through its own patio door. Two other bedrooms share a bathroom, which has decorative stained glass that echoes a similar pane of glass in an adjacent hallway.
The lower level of the house is at ground level – “a glazed room with an exit and a panoramic view,” Ms. Wilson said. In addition to a media room, a bar with sink and a gym, this level has a glass-enclosed indoor hot tub. High glass doors open onto expansive green spaces and Rideau views.
A few architectural surprises punctuate this part of the house: an octagonal column in pink granite seems to support a staircase, and the lighting is integrated in cutouts around the perimeter of the ceiling. The only wood-burning fireplace in the house is on this level.
Set back from River Road by a long driveway, the house is landscaped the lot includes a gunite pool and two octagonal cabanas, one with a kitchen.
Manotick, with approximately 4,500 residents, “offers a rural touch with urban amenities,” Wilson said. “These rural properties are in high demand because they offer space and privacy, which is so sought after right now.”
The village “has the character and feel of a rural community and actually serves the surrounding farming community,” said Debra Wright, a broker with Details Realty Inc. in Ottawa. But development is progressing, including a new 1,400-unit subdivision at the southern tip of Manotick, she said. “Ottawa is small and the fact that you can get to downtown in a short time from Manotick makes it attractive.
After lagging behind the scorching markets of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver for years, Ottawa, Canada’s fourth largest city, has seen house prices soar in 2020, fueled in large part by increased demand and “Stocks at historic lows,” according to Richard Rutkowski, a broker at Engel & Völkers Ottawa. “Compared to other world capitals, we have always been undervalued. For decades, this was about steady growth rather than these big swings. “
After a brief slowdown at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, “the market went crazy,” said Ms. Wright of Details Realty Inc., who is also president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB). “Unit sales increased slightly from 2019, but property values have jumped. The average home price in Ottawa jumped 33.7% year-over-year in December 2020, to 582,267 Canadian dollars ($ 457,000), according to an OREB report released in January. For condominium units, the average selling price was $ 361,337 Canadian ($ 285,000).
For comparison, the average price of homes sold in Toronto in 2020 was 930,000 Canadian dollars ($ 730,000), the highest figure on record, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
“In previous years, most of the properties we sold were below 400,000 ($ 315,000), which would attract interest as entry-level and affordable,” Ms. Wright said. “During this summer, if you had something for 400,000 in good condition, it would be way more than asked for.” In 2019, 35% of homes sold for 400,000 Canadians or less in Ottawa; in 2020, only 16% were sold in this range, she said.
The dynamism of the market surprised even seasoned professionals in the industry. “I have been in business for 41 years and have never seen a market like this,” said James Wright, sales representative for The Wright Team at Royal LePage Team Realty in Ottawa. “We are seeing bidding wars and many bids rather than requests, which is very unusual for Ottawa. We have clients waiting for properties in certain neighborhoods.
As for demand, Ottawa enjoys stable government employment as the capital of Canada, Wright said. A booming tech sector, including a new Amazon fulfillment center and local success stories like e-commerce company Shopify, “also means businesses hire and people come here to work for them,” he said. declared.
On the luxury side, “$ 2 million used to be an exaggeration,” said Wilson, the listing broker. The number of Ottawa homes sold for more than 2 million Canadians ($ 1.57 million) more than doubled to 48 in 2020 from 20 in 2019, according to the Multiple Listing Service. “And these high-end homes are now selling in days or weeks, instead of years,” she said.
She added that increased activity in rural markets does not mean that interest in central Ottawa has waned. “It’s a sophisticated international city with lower density and fantastic green spaces,” she said. “There isn’t really a bad neighborhood. Ottawa is in a growth phase. Over the next three to five years you will be lucky to get in here.
Who buys in Ottawa
In addition to the Ottawans who “buy or redeem,” many of the region’s buyers this year have been transplanted to more expensive Canadian cities. “If a couple had planned to buy in Toronto or Montreal, their price is overpriced, so they’re now looking in Ottawa, where they can actually enter the market,” said Mr. Rutkowski of Engel & Völkers.
In fact, a Statistics Canada report released on January 14 found record population losses in Toronto and Montreal, with “more people moving to other areas of their province rather than moving there” from July 2019 to July 2020.
Before the pandemic, Chinese and Indian investors had discovered Ottawa as an alternative to Toronto and Vancouver, where foreign buyers face special taxes, Rutkowski said. Fewer buyers have come from overseas since the lockdown, he said, noting Americans make up a “negligible” portion of Ottawa’s foreign buyers.
But Ms Wilson said she served several US buyers who were repatriating to Canada last year. “Many buyers outside of Canada are buying properties blind,” she said.
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Ontario. Getting a mortgage, however, “won’t be easy,” said Gregory Sanders, partner at KPMG Canada in Ottawa. “Due to the bank’s due diligence requirements, there are more barriers for non-residents.” Many US buyers pay in cash or seek financing from a US institution, he said.
Mortgage limits also vary for non-residents, with most banks requiring a down payment of at least 50%.
The respective provincial laws govern transactions in Canada, according to Michelle LaPierre, founder of the law firm LaPierre in Ottawa. In Ontario, lawyers play an “essential” role, she said: “Lawyers prepare and register mortgage documents at the direction of the bank and act as counsel for both the buyer and the bank. . “
Languages and currency
English French; Canadian dollar (1 CDN = 0.79 $)
Taxes and fees
Commissions on property sales average 5 to 6 percent in Ontario, Wilson said, with sellers paying the commission. The annual taxes on this house are about $ 11,500 Canadian ($ 9,000), she said.
Buyers in Ontario pay land transfer tax based on 2.5% of the property’s value, Sanders said. (Ottawa is outside the region affected by Ontario’s 15% non-resident speculation tax on foreign buyers.)
Marilyn Wilson and Suzie Ng, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc./Christie’s International Real Estate, 613-978-8788, dreamproperties.com.
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