14 Jun

2016

Cassidy's Moving and Storage

A Guide to Ottawa’s Best Neighbourhoods

If you’re thinking of moving to Ottawa or within Ottawa, some neighbourhoods are definitely better than others. But the trick is “better” will have different meanings depending on your life situation: not all neighbourhoods work for the same types of people.

People have different tolerances and needs. In this post we’ll be considering these important factoring:

  1. How long a commute can you handle?
  2. Do you want to use transit or would you rather drive?
  3. Are good schools for your kids something you need?
  4. Do you love to go out in the evening or are you a homebody?

We’re not going to just describe a bunch of neighbourhoods for you. Instead, we’re going to start with who you are, then we’ll point you to some of the neighbourhoods you may like.

Hipsters of All Ages

If you’re looking for:

  • Culture, nightlife, boutique shopping, restaurants, walkability and transit access.
  • You don’t mind buying a small condo or renting.

Neighbourhoods you’ll love (click to view on Google maps): Hintonburg, Centretown, Westboro, the Glebe, Chinatown/Little Italy, the Market, and New Edinburgh.

Cons of these neighbourhoods include:

  1. Parking will be a challenge if you own a car, and you may find it impossible to buy a parking space in the Market.
  2. Homes are expensive to buy, except sometimes in Hintonburg. If you’re a committed minimalist or empty nester you can probably find a condo in your price range, as they’re springing up in all these neighbourhoods. You can sometimes find great deals on rentals in the Glebe and Hintonburg. Renting in the Market can be really expensive.
  3. The Market is loud at night even on weeknights. On weekends you won’t be able to escape the party atmosphere.

Most of these neighbourhoods are either downtown or right outside downtown. Either way, with any of these locations you’ll never be out of walking range of a chic boutique, a bakery, an art gallery or a yoga studio.

For Young Families and Singles

If you’re looking for:

  • An affordable townhouse not too far away from Ottawa.
  • Great schools.
  • A reasonably short commute.

Neighbourhoods you’ll love (click to view on Google maps): Hunt Club, Carlingwood, Overbrook.

Cons of these neighbourhoods include:

  1. The homes and yards tend to be smaller.
  2. The homes don’t tend to have the kinds of premium finishings people love, like granite countertops. But there are exceptions.

If you need 3-4 bedrooms for your family and don’t want to spend your entire life in your car, you can look at some of these neighbourhoods. House prices tend to be very accessible (starting at around $180,000 – $300,000), but if you want the best of finishings prepare to do some of the renovations yourself. Hunt Club is a newer neighbourhood and has mostly townhouses, so if you have your heart set on a single family home start with Carlingwood in the west of Overbrook in the East. Carlingwood tends to be more expensive, with homes starting around $300,000.

These neighbourhoods have great transit if you’re headed downtown, but not so great if you’re headed south of the main transit corridor (which basically follows the 417).

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Middle Income Families

If you’re looking for:

  • Lots of choice in housing.
  • Lots of schools.

You’ll love (click to view on Google maps): Kanata, Orleans, Barrhaven, and Riverside South.

Cons of these neighbourhoods include:

  1. Longer commutes, lots of traffic.

These are Ottawa’s classic bedroom communities. There’s a great range of home sizes, styles, and price ranges so if you work nearby or are prepared to put in the commuting time you’ll probably find what you want here. Transit is great for Kanata and Orleans, but not as good for Barrhaven and Riverside South.

Riverside South is a newer development, and it has some of the best values in homes if you’re looking for something you won’t have to renovate for a long time.

A special note about Barrhaven: as it’s not near the Queensway, it’s got arguably the most annoying commute in the city, especially if you’re trying to get downtown.

Urban Refugees

If you’re looking for:

  • A taste of country life not too far the city.
  • Larger, more beautiful homes that cost less than in the city.

You’ll love (click to view on Google maps): Stittsville, Dunrobin, Navan, Greely, Metcalfe, and further out Kemptville and Manotick.

Cons of these neighbourhoods:

  1. Not much to do in terms of cultural events, but usually these neighbourhoods offer great outdoor recreation in terms of walking, bicycling and more.
  2. If you work in the city you’ve got a longer drive to contend with.
  3. Teens will hate it.

There are lots of beautiful homes available all around Ottawa if you want to escape the city. There are lots of outdoor recreation activities for adults and kids, but teens and young adults will find it boring, unless they’re active in sports.

Frugalistas and Serious Renovators

If you’re looking for:

  • A cheap home close to downtown, and don’t mind a little sketchiness.

You’ll love (click to view on Google maps): Vanier, South Keys/Greenboro, Hintonburg, Lowertown, Bayshore and New Edinburgh.

Cons of these neighbourhoods:

  1. The aforementioned sketchiness in some places.
  2. Some homes are in tear-down condition.

Hintonburg, Lowertown and New Edinburgh are partway through gentrification, but there are still great opportunities to be found if you’re willing to invest time and money in the property. If your goal is to own a rental property, these neighbourhoods are great bets.

Vanier and South Keys represent some of the last remaining areas where you can buy a bargain home and do some serious fixing up. Don’t get stars in your eyes about flipping your home, however, as the Ottawa market isn’t hot enough to support that, unlike Toronto and Vancouver.

If you want to live in Vanier and South Keys, you may need to deal with some of the higher crime rate areas in the city, in spite of the thousands of honest people around you. In all honesty, however, you may want to look elsewhere if you have kids. If you’re looking for a detached home Vanier is a better bet, as South Keys has a lot of row housing.

Ottawa Has Lots to Offer

The average Canadian owns 4.5 – 5 homes over the course of their lifetime. It makes sense to make every purchase count. This is a very high-level overview, so if you’re looking for more detailed information you may need to consult a realtor.

In the meantime, if you’re not sure you even want to move to Ottawa, check out our guide to the Pros and Cons of Moving to Ottawa.

Once you’ve settled on where to move, the next step is to choose a mover.

Learn about our Residential Moving Services

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