Courtesy of a large public sector that is mostly unaffected by the ebb and flow of economic fortunes, Ottawa’s housing market is expected to remain strong in 2010.

Speaking at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Ottawa Housing Outlook Conference Thursday, market analyst Sandra Perez Torres said Ottawa will be leading most metropolitan areas in Canada in housing recovery next year.

With 20 per cent of the workforce employed by a public sector that typically grows during recessions and remains constant during prosperity, Perez Torres said Ottawa’s housing is less susceptible to dramatic changes in housing demand and cost.

Perez Torres said condo sales — spurred by empty nest baby boomers downsizing their residences and young professionals looking for affordable housing in the city’s downtown core — will be leading the growth in Ottawa.

“Condos are the housing type that is the most volatile,” she said.

The housing market in Ottawa took a nosedive in September 2008 and struggled until the end of that year, said John Herbert, executive director of the Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Association. Things slowly started to pick up in January, but it wasn’t until June that sales dramatically turned around, he said.

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