Toronto or Ottawa – 5 Things to Consider before Deciding Where to Buy your First Home

If you are looking to buy your first home in Ontario but do not quite know what city to put your money towards, the two strongest centres in the province are Ottawa and Toronto. While an argument can be made for either city, first-time home buyers must consider a number of things prior to making any firm commitment.First time home buyers in ottawa

1. Toronto or Ottawa – The Current State of the Real Estate Market

The Ottawa real estate market is among the healthiest in the country, seeing properties move fast with an average eighty-two days on market prior to sale. As inventory levels continue to decrease as is the case in Toronto and other Canadian cities, this has increased the value of properties with an annual growth rate on residential properties of 5.3 percent. The average selling price for an Ottawa residential home in March, 2017 was $415,467 and the average selling price for an Ottawa condo that same month is $272,597.

The Toronto real estate market is in a state of uncertainty currently as recent government laws have threatened the growth rate currently being experienced. It is unclear what the long-term effect that new provincial guidelines will have on the city. Price growth in Toronto is among the highest in Canada, seeing an annual growth rate of approximately 29 percent. As an investment, it is unclear how long the city will be able to sustain its current growth and what an effective long-term real estate strategy might be.

2. Getting to Know the Neighborhoods

If you are buying your first home in Ottawa or Toronto, know that though growth is experienced city-wide, getting to know the different neighborhoods reveals a kind of unevenness across these regions. Some of the top Toronto neighborhoods to buy in include South Riverdale and Aurora Heights, among others. If you are looking for something deeply embedded into the city core, Toronto regions such as King West are ideal however come with a hefty price tag. More suburban regions of Toronto can range from healthy middle class neighborhoods to struggling low income developments.

As an alternative, Ottawa provides much of the same advantages as Toronto but with a little more stability. As a first-time buyer, it’s key to remember that it’s all in what the end goal is. If you are looking to buy to sell, an area like Kanata Lakes may prove to be ideal, one of the best regions in Ottawa to buy a family home. If you are seekingsomething where there is more commercial or residential development happening, anything in Alta Vista, Westboro, or Greely might do. Meanwhile, Rockcliffe Park and Old Ottawa South are both expensive and exclusive neighborhoods, providing luxuries that cannot necessarily be found in other parts of the city.

3. What is the City Known for

Consider the identity of the city. Toronto is Canada’s corporate headquarters, where the Maple Leafs and the Blue Jays are centred, and is the country’s most multi-cultural city. Ottawa is Canada’s government hub, embracing and protecting its heritage while promoting smart development, is the home of the Ottawa Senators of the NHL, and is becoming widely known as home for several Canadian-based industries including the country’s tech sector.

4. How Healthy is the City’s House Market

As evidenced, both Toronto and Ottawa demonstrate two healthy real estate markets. As it relates to housing specifically, it is unclear how new provincial standards are going to impact the Toronto housing market. The city’s housing market is experiencing more growth than its condos however the influx of population has meant a diminished rate of sale comparatively speaking. Market conditions continue to tighten in Toronto due to this and it is unclear if it can sustain its growth. For the time being however, its housing market is sizzling.

The City of Ottawa’s housing market continues to steadily gain momentum as average price and growth has seen increases on a monthly basis. Though in past years, the Ottawa housing market has lagged in growth, these past two years has seen sales continue to rise, leading to bidding wars and sellers seeing the benefits. The advantages of Ottawa over Toronto are that Ottawa’s growth has shown itself to be much more sustainable and in turn, more affordable than Toronto, which is particularly advantageous to first-time buyers searching for their first home.

5. How Healthy is the Condo Market

Toronto’s condo market continues to grow beyond even the wildest of expectations, making it difficult for buyers. If you are a first-time buyer looking at the condo market in Toronto, expect to pay significantly higher than asking price and potentially having to settle for less than what you wanted.

In contrast, Ottawa’s condo market is seeing lower inventory levels but can provide more luxuries and is overall more affordable than what is available in Toronto. More than half of Ottawa’s condo sales are coming from units priced between $150,000 and $249,999, which alone shows the difference between Ottawa and Toronto, where units regularly fetch $450,000 and above. The buy-in for Ottawa is far lower and yet the growth rate is safe, stable, and similar to what would be found in Toronto.

If you are a first-time buyer, buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that you can make. Buying in Ottawa allows Canadians to take advantages of a lower buy-in while still being in a city hub of development.

What to Look for in an Investment Property Condo

Buying investment property continues to be one of the most favourable (and profitable) ways to invest for many people. But in order for that property to benefit you, it must be a property that will help to secure your financial future. Selecting the right type of property is essential, because without all the proper ingredients, the investment may not help you reach your long-term financial goals, such as paying for retirement, education, or vacations. That’s why there are certain factors that you should always look for in order to feel confident about your real estate investment.

If you’re interested in an investment property condo, here are the important factors to ensure are present in order to provide more stability and security to your financial future.



A great location is so important that it outweighs just about anything else. If the walls are crumbling and some renovations may be required – so be it. That superficial stuff can be altered, fixed, and improved. But the location will always remain the same. So choosing a profitable condo is all about what surrounds it.

Areas that are (or will be) in high demand will encompass such elements as colleges, hospitals, thriving businesses, and of course, transportation that will help to attract a variety of potential buyers that require these facilities for their work and education, such as nurses and professors. Qualicum Woods Crossing is located close to many prime employment spots, such as Queensway Carleton Hospital, Algonquin College, and many federal government buildings. It is located close to both the 417 and 416 highways for easy access around the city, and close to multiple OC Transpo hubs as well.


Modern Design

Sharp, clean, modern interiors, décor and designs are a must for creating value from a property. No new homeowner wants to walk into a condo and feel the need to conduct a huge overall just to get it up-to-date with designer trends now. Energy efficient appliances, modern fixtures – these are the simple features that can add up to a lot when the time comes for you to cash in.


Great Amenities

Locations that are in high demand, of course must include some great amenities as well. More than ever, society and modern homebuyers are seeking a life of convenience and ease. That means being able to walk or take a quick drive to the grocery store, restaurants, pubs and cafés. A condo property that’s located in close proximity to some of these types of great amenities will be a major factor that will be worth your investment. Qualicum Woods Crossing is at the heart of West Ottawa, close to Bayshore, Pinecrest, and College Square for all your shopping and entertainment needs.


Welcoming Community

Meeting new people and feeling welcomed into a community is something that isn’t too common nowadays with the booming urban lifestyle. So when there is a community that is welcoming, inviting and social, it can speaks volumes for creating a truly profitable investment. Social gatherings, BBQs, and getting to actually know your neighbours – it’s a rare feature that would make any property stand out amongst the crowd.


Great Price

Of course, the price has to be right. Affordability is always an important factor to consider and one that can simply make or break a potential investment, no matter how great it may be.

At Qualicum Woods, you can bet that our condos entail all these great features and more. So if you’re serious about finding the perfect investment condo property, come speak with a representative today.

A Fall to Remember in Your Ottawa Condo

If you’re lucky enough to move into your new Ottawa condo during the fall, there’s no better time to host a housewarming party than now. With those warm colours, that fresh cool breeze, and pumpkins galore, this season, you have the perfect ingredients to get creative. So rally up your family and friends, and use these entertaining ideas to make this a fall to remember.


Get Festive

The fall time is all about being festive and embracing everything that’s colourful, warm, and fresh. So focus on key areas, such as your entranceway, to place creative fun, yet tasteful potted arrangements that bring out the true beauty of the fall harvest season.

Start thinking of potted mums, purple decorative cabbage and kale, and of course – pumpkins. If you want to take your arrangements to the next level, think about adding in a few bundles of hay to really create that fresh, autumn harvest décor.


Tasty Fall Apps

Of course, when family and friends do arrive, it’s always good to have a few great fall appetizers on hand. So start thinking about those fresh harvest root vegetables. Some of our favourites include: Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade, Eggplant Ratatouille, Fully-Loaded Sweet Potatoes, and of course, Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. We love browsing Pinterest to find new recipe inventions that tickle the taste buds and the creative spirit.


Baked Harvest Goods

Apple pie, pumpkin pie, strawberry rhubarb pie – all the goodness of fall wrapped up into the most delicious aromas and tasty goods. Nothing embodies the sweetness of fall more than warm, freshly baked pies. If you’re looking to take that autumn flavour to whole new level (while making your new condo smell like bakers’ heaven), add some baked harvest goods to the menu.


Fun and Games

Of course, where would any party be without some fun and games? No matter if it’s an adults-only get-together or if there will be children present, we all love to get a little silly now and then. You can set up a simple makeshift game of Bobbing for Apples, throw down a few games of Apple-to-Apples, or even a rowdy game of Headbands. These are great, inclusive games that will get everyone joining in.

Moving into your new Ottawa condo in the fall is the best time of year for hosting the family and friends for some celebratory fun. So get festive this season by embracing what fall has to offer.

A Quick Guide to Settling Into Your New Condo

Settling into a new condo in Ottawa can be exciting. You are starting a new chapter in your life, and with your new property purchase and investment, things can be really looking up. Nevertheless, purchasing real estate and moving can be stressful life events, even though they are also positive and exciting. Stress can make it easier to overlook or forget about key details that are important, so here is a quick guide to settling into your new Qualicum Woods condo!


Make necessary transfers

Are you going to be living in the condo exclusively, or dividing your time between the condo and another residence? Get your mail forwarded, or contact the post office to find out what you need to do to divide your mail between the two locations. Contact local utilities to get your electricity, water, and other amenities turned on. Nothing is worse than trying to settle into a home with no utilities.


Prepare for a chaotic move

You’ve closed on your Ottawa condo, and now you’re moving. Gather up receipts, and other important documents, including paperwork from realtors, utilities, the post office, and tax records. Place all of these in a centralized location, such as a labeled envelope or file folder, so that you do not misplace or accidentally discard anything that you will need later. Bonus tip: take photos of important documents and use cloud storage for easy access no matter where you are.


Plan your move

Do you need a mover, or will you just rent a truck? It’s up to you, but you’ll want to plan ahead and make arrangements for your things getting to the condo. If you’re keeping two residences, you may want to consider buying new furniture for the condo, but if you’re moving your things, it’s important to plan ahead.


Do a final walkthrough

Check everything in your new condo before you start moving things in. Check light fixtures, outlets, appliances, locks, and keys, to make sure that everything is in good working order. If you find that things are out of order or missing, check with the management of the condo or the realtor you have been working with in closing the deal.


Get to Know the Community

When you purchase a new Qualicum Woods condo, you are getting more than a home – you are becoming part of a community. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the amenities like the fitness centre and gym. Tour around the beautiful walking paths and natural space with the Dharma Pond and Zen Falls. Meet and greet with neighbours!


Decorate your space

Now that you’ve taken care of the business end of documentation, transfers, and inspections, you’ve reached the fun part – personalizing your condo! You can research websites, magazines, and even visit neighbors for ideas, but settling into your new condo by decorating and personalizing your home is one of the fastest, most fun ways to feel at home and settled in your new home. Once you decorate, the reality of your new condo will really begin to settle in.

For more advice about settling into your Ottawa condo at Qualicum Woods Crossing, we’re happy to help! Get in touch at 613.693.0808.