Ottawa’s housing market is driven by first-time homebuyers, unlike the rest of the province, which is driven by people who have owned before, said a housing expert yesterday.

“It’s people 25 to 34,” said Sandra Perez-Torres, a senior market analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which held its housing outlook conference here.

This is just one of the ways that Ottawa differs from the rest of Ontario, said Perez-Torres.

“Ottawa is a more stable city, and the stability is driven by its economic stability, its diverse housing and diverse economic sector,” she said.

Many first-time homebuyers are looking for condos, with the top places for new condos being downtown, west Ottawa and Nepean, said CMHC analyst Abdul Kargbo.

“People driving the activity in the downtown areas are first-time buyers,” he said. “The condo market is the entry point for them. These are the people who are influencing the housing market in the next few years.”

“Across the country, it’s a positive outlook for housing,” said CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan. “Both existing home sales and new home starts, we expect them to improve gradually throughout the course of next year.”

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