Key-Move Realty Ltd.

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Winnipeg – After a solid first quarter of MLS® sales activity, April sales were more subdued. Unit sales of 1,300 were down 5% from a record April in 2016 but still up 2% over the 10-year average for this month.

MLS® dollar volume decreased 1% in April however for the first four months is up 2% to $1.08 billion. New MLS® listings in April fell 5% while the inventory or active listings at the end of April is down 7%.

The percentage of new listings being converted to sales is in line with April 2016 when the equivalent of over 53% of the 2,439 listings entered on the MLS® in April were sold.

The drop off in sales activity compared to April 2016 was most noticeable in the first-time buyer market segment. WinnipegREALTORS® has identified a concern regarding the new stress test on insured mortgages and its impact on buyer qualification

For residential-detached properties under $300,000 there was a 15% decrease in sales activity in comparison to last April. On the other hand upper price ranges in residential-detached outperformed April 2016.

There was also a decline in condominium sales in the price ranges from $150,000 to $249,999.

 “April is the kickoff to our spring market and first-time buyers are a driving force to generating sales activity,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®.  “We are now learning first-hand how tougher mortgage qualifications and higher insurance fees are making it more difficult for this buyer segment to purchase a home.”

Another new development this year which helped propel higher end sales was the City of Winnipeg’s impact fee which came into effect on May 1, 2017. There have already been 15 sales of homes valued over $1 million and six of those are new or to be built homes in the Waverley West MLS® area. It is clear buyers are advancing their plans to commit earlier this year to avoid paying the impact fee ($500 for every 100 square feet).

It is also apparent from examining April sales activity that vacant lots in rural municipalities benefited from the onset of higher fees in Winnipeg as there was a jump of 27% in vacant lot sales from April 2016. The vast majority of those are located outside Winnipeg.

 “Demand remains strong for MLS® listings,” said Sonnichsen. “The average days to sell for residential-detached and condominiums was better than last year’s record-setting April.”

In terms of residential-detached sales activity while the most active price range remained from $250,000 to $299,999 at 20% the next busiest from $300,000 to $349,999 was not far off at 16%.

The average days to sell a home in April was 25 days, one day quicker than the record-setting April 2016. The sales- to -list price ratio in April was 99.19%, an improvement from the 98.59% in April 2016.

Condominium sales continue to be most active in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range which represented 30% of total sales. Next busiest at 16% was the $200,000 to $249,999 price range. Average days to sell a condo in April was 40 days, one day quicker than April 2016.

“In an ever-changing real estate industry with new technology, regulations and market conditions, you need to be contacting a REALTOR® who can provide you with their professional advice and market expertise,” said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.

 

Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing just over 1,850 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®. WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession. 

The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by CREA and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

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WINNIPEG -  In March, 1,111 MLS® listed properties sold in the Greater Winnipeg market region, which is an increase of 5% over March 2016 and 8% over the 10-year average for this month. Dollar volume rose 10% to $326 million. This is the first time in March there has been over $300 million in MLS® sales transactions.

MLS® listings entered in March were right in line with last year at 2,200 though active listings or inventory of 3,903 listings going into April  is down  9% from 2016. This is largely due to a very active 2016 which left less listings carrying over into 2017.
 
Due to a good result in March where sales start to accelerate and are significantly higher than either of the first two months of the year, first quarter sales of 2,438 are in line with last year and 5% ahead of the 10-year average for the first three months. Dollar volume of close to $700 million is at its highest level ever for the first quarter and up over 4% from the same period in 2016.  
 
“Overall we are quite pleased with the MLS® first quarter sales results since they are only a few sales shy of last year’s same period total and we ended up recording our best year ever in 2016,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “The second quarter by far is our busiest and one we count on to put us in a good position to deliver solid year end numbers. The consistency and steadiness of our MLS® market over the past few years bodes well for strong sales numbers to continue.” 

“Helping give us more confidence going into the second quarter are Manitoba’s employment numbers,” said Peter Squire, MLS® market analyst.  “The recently released Statistics Canada labour force survey shows Manitoba’s March employment went up 2,800 jobs and the unemployment rate decreased 0.3 percentage points to 5.5 %. Only B.C. has a lower rate at 5.4%.”
 
Looking more closely at single family home sales in the first quarter in comparison to the same period in 2016 they are down less than 2% while condominiums are on a record setting pace with an increase of 18%. Condos may well be benefiting from their lower price point in comparison to single family homes as anyone requiring an insured mortgage with less than 20 per cent down must qualify for the higher Bank of Canada 4.64 % 5-year term rate.

“Condos are leading the way so far in marked sales increases compared to the first quarter in 2016,” said Sonnichsen.  “They have captured an additional 3 percentage points of total MLS® market share at the expense of single family or residential-detached sales”.

Another point worth noting with regard to March specifically is explaining why the average residential-detached selling price was just under $320,000, noticeably higher than the 2016 year- end average of $302,707. It was the result of what is called a compositional shift in sales activity where March had a real overweight in higher priced sales. For example, there was a 25% increase in sales over $350,000 and above compared to March 2016.

If you take the median price (mid-point of all sales) of residential-detached homes in March 2017 there is a far closer alignment to March 2016 - $285,500 versus $284,000. 

For the first three months this year the average residential-detached selling price is $307,977, a 2.4% increase over the same period in 2016. As for condominiums, the average selling price for the first quarter is $244,406, a 7.9% increase over first quarter 2016.

Residential-detached unit sales in March were more spread out amongst a number of price ranges with the highest at 18% of total sales from $250,000-$299,999 and the $200,000-$249,999 at 15%. A close third at 14% was from $350,000-$400,000. 

March condominium unit sales at nearly one in four sales were from $150,000-$199,999 however there were a number of price ranges with sales activity in the teens.  Amongst them, the $250,000-$299,999 was highest at 18%.
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Condominium Sales Continue Double-Digit Increase Over 2016

 

WINNIPEG - True to form February MLS® market activity marked another solid result in sales which were 4% above the 10-year average for this winter month. So being down 6% from February 2016 which is the only February to reach and eclipse 800 in sales is no reason to be disappointed.

 

One clear pattern emerging this year has been the fast start to condominium sales. Year-to-date sales are up 33% and dollar volume has jumped 37%. One thing is for sure. There is no lack of listings to enable this pattern to continue. With the exception of 2016 where the condominium inventory was nearly 12% higher than the current 665 condominium listings on the market now, they remain elevated over previous years.  Only 2015 is close since it was the first year when a real spike in condominium supply took off.

 

On the other hand residential-detached or single family properties are not keeping up with last year’s record-setting pace. Listings entered on MLS® for the first two months have decreased 6% while sales are down 8%. 

 

One price range which did unusually well in February was for home sales over $1 million. You often may not have one sale in this month as was the case in 2016 or just one in February 2015. This year there were 7 and this significant difference is the first clear indication of the City of Winnipeg’s new impact fee on new residential property. Buyers intending to build their luxury homes in Winnipeg are advancing their plans to avoid paying Winnipeg’s impact fee which comes into effect May 1, 2017.

 

February MLS® unit sales of 766 were down 6% in comparison to February 2016 while dollar volume of $217.4 million decreased 2% from the same month last year.  New listings coming on the market in February also fell 9% from February 2016.

 

“Not only are we coming off a record-setting year but are faced with new challenges in stricter mortgage qualifications and new City of Winnipeg impact fees on residential property,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “While too early to tell at this juncture in the year it is apparent already some substitution to more affordable property types is occurring and buyers are aware of Winnipeg’s new impact fees.”

 

Regardless of some of the new wrinkles in the 2017 real estate market one overriding housing demand driver well intact is immigration and the manifestation of it in population increases.   In February some of the Statistics Canada 2016 census data was released which showed Manitoba is growing at a faster rate than the national average. While Winnipeg’s growth rate from 2011 to 2016 was 6.6%, higher but less than a percentage point above Manitoba’s at 5.5%, what really stood out is to what extent some of the rural municipalities within the capital region are growing. Steinbach’s has increased 17%, Niverville (26.6%), Ste. Anne (30%), Blumenort (19.3%) and Ile des Chenes (25.1%).

 

“Winnipeg has always been in our name since WinnipegREALTORS® incorporation in 1903 however our MLS® market area encompasses the entire capital region,” said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.  “We therefore are well attuned to the growth taking place outside Winnipeg.”

 

The most active residential-detached price range was from $250,000-$299,999 at 21%. Another 30% of residential-detached sales came from the next higher and lower price ranges with both tallying 15% of total sales. The average days to sell a residential-detached property was 34 days, 3 days faster than February 2016.

 

The most active condo price range was the $150,000-$199,999 at 36% of total sales. The average days to sell a condominium was 45 days, 3 days quicker than February 2016.

 

All markets are not only local like WinnipegREALTORS®  market region but vary within as evident from differences in population growth rates.  Whether buying or selling you should be calling a REALTOR® because they know the variations within a local market and how the different property types behave throughout the capital region.

 

Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing just over 1,850 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®. WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession. 

 

The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by CREA and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

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ON THE CUSP OF A NEW MLS® ANNUAL SALES RECORD

PRESS RELEASE

December 6, 2016



WINNIPEG  - November MLS® sales activity was less than 3% off the best November ever in 2015 when it eclipsed 900 sales. This solid result ensures the addition of sales in December to the November year-to-date total will usher in a new all-time annual sales record for WinnipegREALTORS®. It will replace 2007 as the top sales year ever in the association’s 113 years of operation.

 

November sales of 877 were down less than 3% from November 2015 while dollar volume of $243 million was slightly below the $244 million transacted in November 2015.  New listings entered on the MLS® of 1,374 in November were down by 3% from last year but well above the long term average. 

 

The two main property types went in opposite directions in November. Residential-detached or single family home transactions were down 7% while condominiums increased 8%.

 

November is the first full month of sales activity since the federal government brought in tougher mortgage regulations. They require a lower debt-to-income ratio of 39 per cent and a higher stress test threshold to qualify for a home at the Bank of Canada rate of 4.64 per cent when putting down less than 20 per cent as your down payment.

 

“As we are at the tail end of the year we will have to look further ahead to 2017 before we can truly determine the impact of the new mortgage regulations on our market,” said Stewart Elston, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “Although the marked divergence in residential-detached and condo sales in November may certainly be an indication of some first-time buyers having to choose a more affordable condo.”

 

He added, “We are fortunate to have one of the most affordable-priced housing markets in the country.  However we still we cannot ignore the fact a number of potential buyers will be impacted and may decide to save more before they enter home ownership.”

 

Year-to-date MLS® sales of 13,015 are up 6% over the same period in 2015 while dollar volume of over $3.6 billion has increased 8% over 2015. The year-to-date dollar volume figure has already surpassed WinnipegREALTORS®’ highest annual dollar volume total of $3.5 billion.

 

 

MLS® inventory going into the final month of 2016 is sitting at just over 4,000 listings and is down 8% compared to the same period last year. The primary reason for the decrease is due to stronger demand for listings in 2016.

 

In looking back on what has now resulted in an impressive year of consistently good monthly MLS® sales activity, Elston made the following comment.

 

“The Winnipeg housing market tends to fly under the radar of higher profile markets such as Toronto and Vancouver and that suits me just fine,” said Elston.  “It behooves housing consumers in our local market to be asking questions of our REALTORS® and builders to understand what is happening here.  All markets are local and then some, with differences in how property types behave between themselves, and within specific areas of Winnipeg and the surrounding municipalities.”

 

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in November 2016 was from $250,000 to $299,999 at 20% of total sales. Next busiest is the $200,000 to $249,999 price range at 17%. There were still 22% of total sales taking place in the three price ranges under $200,000.  The average days on market to sell a home was 36 days, 5 days quicker than November 2015.

 

The most active price range for condominium sales in November 2016 was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 22% with the second busiest price ranges of $200,000 to $249,999 and $250,000 to $299,999 both representing 16% of total sales.  The average days on market to sell a condominium was 54 days, 5 days slower than the pace set in November 2015.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing just over 1,800 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®. WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession.  REALTOR®, MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned and controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association and are used under licence.

For further information, contact Peter Squire at (204) 786-8854.


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Sales On Pace to Set New Annual MLS® Sales Record

 

WINNIPEG - Above average sales in October set the stage for a new annual sales record in WinnipegREALTORS® 113th year of serving the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.

 

October sales of 1,138 were up 5% over October 2015 and likewise over the 10-year average for this month. October dollar volume of close to $310 million increased 9% over the same month last year.

 

Year-to-date sales of over 12,000 are 7% ahead of the same period last year and are well within reach of eclipsing the annual sales record set in 2007 of 13,079. Year-to-date dollar volume of $3.37 billion is up 9% over 2015 and will easily set a new annual dollar volume record in November. Manitoba MLS® dollar volume just edged over $4 billion in early November.

 

“It is a matter of when, not if,” said Stewart Elston, president of WinnipegREALTORS®, when queried on WinnipegREALTORS® setting a new all-time sales record this year. He added, “Our strong international immigration numbers are a real contributor to creating demand for MLS® listings.”

 

CMHC’s regional economist Lai Sing Louie pointed out earlier this month, at an MHBA housing conference, Manitoba’s elevated population growth has expanded the first-time homebuyer age group of 25 to 34 year olds.

 

First-time homebuyers not only make up a significant segment of any housing market but are instrumental in the ongoing home sales process. When they purchase their first home they provide current owners with the opportunity to upgrade or downsize leading to a cascade of more purchases all the way up the housing ladder continuum.

 

While first-time buyers are a key driver of single family home sales, their presence is being felt in how well the more affordable condominiums, single-attached and townhouse property types have performed in 2016. Condominium sales are up 10% over last year and less than 3% off their best year at this juncture in 2014. Single-attached and townhouse properties have risen 9 and 51% respectively over 2015.

 

If you are looking for where the predominant gains in sales activity occurred in the two main property types in 2016, simply put; higher price ranges in single family and the lower ones in condominiums.  Sales are higher in all price ranges $250,000 and above in single family homes while condominium price ranges under $250,000 are consistently better.

 

This helps explain why the average sale price for condominiums in 2016 of $234,623 is modestly lower than 2015 (1.5%) while the 2016 average single family or residential-detached sale price of $303,660 is up 3% this year. 

 

“Winnipeg’s balanced housing market has kept prices in check despite brisk sales activity,” said Elston.  “This is in sharp contrast to some high priced markets in Canada where listings can be in short supply.”

 

There is no one national housing market. All markets are local with their own factors shaping their outcome.  You need to talk to your REALTOR® to understand exactly what is happening in regard to your own local market situation. 

 

The most active price range for residential-detached homes in October 2016 was from $250,000 to $299,999 at 23% of total sales. The lower price range of $200,000 to $249,999 was second busiest at 16%. The highest- price home sale was $1,375,000 and the lowest sale price was $39,000. The average days on market to sell a home was 33 days, 2 days faster than October 2015.

 

30% of condominium sales in October occurred in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range with another 17% happening in the $200,000 to $249,999 range. The highest-price condo sale was $975,000 and the lowest sale price was $88,000. The average days on market for condos was 47 days, the same pace as October 2015.

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A New August Benchmark of Over 1,300 Sales


Summer vacations, the Olympics, Folklorama, Blue Bomber winning streak and other August activities did not get in the way of buyers taking advantage of a healthy supply of some of the most affordable house prices in the country.

 

August was indeed splendid with a new benchmark in sales established.  For the first time in August, MLS sales went over 1,300 to finish at 1,350.  This represents an 11% increase over the 10 year average for this summer month and sets up a potential record breaking sales year with sales ahead by nearly 7% with four months to go.

 

Year to date dollar volume of over $2.7 billion is maintaining a record pace as well with a gain of over 8% in comparison to the first eight months in 2015.

 

"2016 is showing strong market activity with a number of new monthly sales highs already recorded," said Stewart Elston, president of Winnipeg Realtors.  "One way of looking at it is buyers are converting opportunities in greater numbers this year.  They are reaping the benefit of many listings to choose from at prices which are being held in check by a balanced market.  Helping keep prices more affordable are record low borrowing costs."

 

Both August MLS sales an dollar volume increased 7% in comparison to the same month last year.  New listings were up only 3% while the inventory at the end of August of 5,148 listings is down 8% from 2015.  Due in part to such solid sales activity this year, the two busiest MLS property types, residential-detached and condo - are down 11 and 9% respectively in available listings from last year.

 

Condo sales have made big strides over last year with a 14% increase in August over the same month in 2015 and 10% year to date.  2014 is the only year condo sales were better up until the end of August.

 

"This August's sales performance puts to rest any notion summer is not an important, if not an essential time, in our yearly market activity," said Elston.  "With the exception of May and June, July and August are very active as sellers want to take advantage of ideal curb appeal conditions to show off their properties while buyers too want to see them in the best possible light."

 

One home in particular which caught some buyer's eye was one in South Charleswood.  It is the highest residential-detached MLS sale this year at $2 million.  There was also a house sale for $21,000.

 

"When there is such a wide range of house prices within our market, a myriad of Winnipeg neighbourhoods and rural municipalities to choose from and varying degrees of listing supply availability, you need to be talking to a Realtor about your own specific situation in order to make an informed decision" said Elston.

 

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in August 2016 was from $250,000-$299,999 at 24% of total sales.  15% of the sales activity was from $200,000-$249,999 while another 13% was from $300,000 to $349,999.  The average number of days to sell a home was 35 days, 3 days quicker than August 2015.

 

The most active price range for condos in August 2016 was from $150,000-$199,999 at 29% of total sales.  Tied for second at 18% and well back in comparison were the $100,000 to $149,999 and $200,000 to $249,999 price ranges.  Similar to residential-detached, a condo sale price of $973,350 is the highest condo sale price this year.

 

The average days on market for a condo sale was 47 days, 8 days faster than August 2015.

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Back to back months of the second and third best months ever on record with 1,638 transactions in June and 1,629 in May makes 2016 the most active year for the first 6 months and second quarter.  Only May 2007 is higher than this June at 1,652 sales.  The next busiest second quarter on record was in 2008 when again there were back to back outstanding monthly results with May and June each recording 1,564 sales.

 

Sales were up 9% in June over the same month last year and the identical percentage increase for the first 6 months in comparison to the same period in 2015.  It is the first time Winnipeg Realtors has surpassed 7,000 MLs sales in 6 months.

 

"There is no question the perfect storm I spoke of earlier in the year is materializing," said Stewart Elston, president of Winnipeg Realtors.  "The Winnipeg real estate market is supported by strong underlying fundamentals.  Helping us reach new heights is the excellent supply of MLS listings with much to choose from throughout the market region.  The difference between this year and last year is stronger buyer sentiment and therefore higher conversions of listings to sales."

 

Single family homes led the way to this impressive June result with 1,252 sales or 76% of total MLS sales.  Condos did not perform as well in comparision to the previous 2 years but still very respectable at 187 sales or over 11% of total MLS sales.

 

Eager buyers vying for coveted single family home listings translated to more above list price offers this June in comparison to last month and June 2015.  It is the highest monthly dollar volume on record.  Year to date dollar volume of close to $2 billion has risen 11% over the first half of 2015.  

 

"2016 is exceeding our initial forecast and expectations for MLS sales this year," said Elston.  "Recent news of a record breaking 12 month increase of 19,453 people to our province and 63,119 individuals in the last four years is certainly a contributing factor.  Along with population growth and a younger demographic comes an increased number of births which often triggers demand for housing.  It is worth noting our own membership numbers have been increasing in the last few years and now sit at over 1,900 members."

 

Price growth this year is more in line with the forecast for single family homes.  A healthy supply of listings for the most part is keeping price increases in check.  The chart below illustrates subdued price appreciation for all quadrants of Winnipeg and a similar pattern in the outlying rural municipaslities when comparing the first half of 2016 to the same period in 2015. 

 

Condo prices were not expected to see any discernible difference in 2016 if not facing some downward pressure owing to the abundance of MLS listings and new condo supply on the market.  They have decreased very modestly at this stage.

 

The average year to date price for single family homes and condos is $306,311 and $232,507 respectively.

 

Of course depending on the property type you have, its location, the number of competing similar property types with their own strengths and weaknesses, you need to be talking to an expert -- a Realtor -- who can advise you on what you need.

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Highest Ever Monthly MLS Dollar Volume Total of $460 Million


May 2016 showed stellar results with MLS sales surpassing 1,600 for only the third time in Winnipeg Realtors 113 year history.  MLS dollar volume followed suit with a new all time monthly record of $460 million.

 

2016 is picking up where 2015 left off with a full recovery in condo sales from early last year and residential-detached sales continuing to shine and show gains over the previous year.  Beyond the two main property types, sales increases are also occurring in most others, such as duplexes, vacant land, commercial, mobile homes, single attached and town houses.

 

"Buyers are taking notice and advantage of one of the most affordable markets in the country," said Stewart Elston, president of Winnipeg Realtors.  "They also have the benefit of choosing from a wide array and abundance of good listings."

 

Only May 2007 has higher monthly sales than the 1,629 sales transacted in May 2016.  Both May 2016 sales and dollar volume were up 12% over May 2015.  New listings were robust too, just shy of 3,000 coming on to the market in May.  Despite all these new listings, the inventory of 5,291 listings at the end of May is down 8% from last year.

 

Year to date MLS sales of 5,446 are up 9% from the same period last year and ahead of previous years, albeit by a very small margin in comparison to 2012.  Year to date dollar volume of $1.5 billion is up 10% from the first 5 months in 2015.  Listings entered on the MLS in 2016 are virtually the same as last year's at just over 11,000.

 

"Given the second quarter, our busiest quarter of the year, is performing so well, it does set us up to usher in another steady and impressive year of MLS sales activity," said Elston.  "We may even look at adjusting our annual forecast projection at the end of June based on year to date numbers."

 

Sometimes it is interesting to note where your gains are in sales over the previous year when you look at the price range breakdown.  May 2016 saw quite a significant increase in residential-detached sales at the lower end of the spectrum from $125,000 to $149,999 but also experienced a sizable jump in sales activity from $475,000 to $599,999.  As for condos, an upward shift is occurring with the $200,000 to $249,999 price range showing a 33% increase in unit sales over May 2015.

 

You only have to go back to May 2013 when the $150,000 to $199,999 price range for condos was so much more dominant than other price ranges at 40% of all sales.  May 2016 shows the $200,000 to $249,999 price range coming to within a few sales of equaling this price range.

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April MLS Sales Up 8%


April MLS sales showed continued strength and momentum from an excellent first quarter of MLS sales and dollar volume activity.

 

April sales surpassed both last April's total and the April 10 year average by 8%.  The 1,373 sales transacted through Winnipeg Realtors MLS are the highest sales total on record for the month of April.

 

Year to date sales are also up 8% at over 3,800.  This current pace is only outflanked by 2012 while year to date dollar volume of over $1 billion has risen nearly 10% over the same period in 2015.

 

Active listing inventory has come off its peak level of over 5,000 in 2015.  It now sits at 4,708 in 2016.  New listings coming on the market in April were down 10% from the same month last year.  The absorption rate for all MLS listings going into May, if you assume there are no new listings entered on MLS is down to 3 1/2 months.

 

"While there were no major spring storms to deal with, I believe our MLS market had the perfect storm when it came to what transpired in April," said Winnipeg Realtors president Stewart Elston.  "We enjoyed a healthy influx of buyers taking advantage of a very competitive market with such favourable interest rates.  At the same time we witnessed a reduction in the number of listings coming on the market.  This resulted in more balanced market conditions in which sellers are feeling more hopeful with supply starting to level off."

 

Adding fuel to Elston's delight with an excellent start to the second quarter was Winnipeg receiving top billing in the Globe and Mail's Report on Business recently.  It talks about Winnipeg "powering the engine of one of Canada's most stable, resilient provincial economies."  The report also indicated Manitoba "is projected to have the third highest rate of economic growth this year - 2.2 per cent according to RBC Economics Research ... and to enjoy the lowest unemployment rate in the country, 5.4%, well below the Canadian norm of 7%."

 

Some MLS areas would have welcomed more listings, as sales were brisk, but from an overall market perspective supply needs to come back more in line with existing demand.  Of course, not all areas, nor property types, share the same outcomes month to month, so you need to be talking to a Realtor about how your particular needs and preferences fit within the existing market.

 

Speaking of property types, the stand out in April and one which has been noted this year already, is condominium. There has been a strong resurgence of condo sales in comparison to an underachieving performance in early 2015.  Condo sales increased 34% over April 2015 and are up 21% year to date in comparison to the same period last year.

 

"The comeback in condo sales activity this year is encouraging since there is a significant inventory of new and resale condos on the market presently," said Elston.  "Buyers are waking up to this fact and availing themselves to some attractive offerings."

 

While we will look more closely at the various quadrants of Winnipeg and rural municipalities of the Winnipeg Realtors market region after six months of residential-detached sales activity, it is worth noting for the first time the southwest quadrant had an average residential-detached sales price of over $400,000.  Two of their 194 sales were in excess of $1 million.  It is indicicative of good move up activity as the spring market starts to get in full gear.

 

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in April was from $250,000-$299,999 at 21% of total sales.  Closely matched in second place were the $300,000 to $349,999 and the $200,000 to $249,999 price ranges at 15% and 14% respectively.  The highest sales price was $1,250,000 with the lowest being only $9,500. The average number of days to sell a home in April was 26 days, two days quicker than April 2015.

 

The most active price range for condos in April was $150,000 to $199,999 at 34%.  The next busiest price range was from $200,000 to $249,999 at 20%.  The highest condo sales price was $770,000.  The lowest sales price was $56,000.  The average number of days to sell a condo was 41 days, eight days ahead of the pace set in April 2015.

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First Quarter MLS Sales Up 8%


Winnipeg Realtors MLS market got off to a good start in 2016 with the first three months showing an 8% increase in sales over the same period a year ago.  Helping make this result possible was a stellar March 2016 performance in which sales went up 5% over last March.  There were 1,058 sales in March and 2,445 in the first quarter.

 

Owing to a new listings drop of nearly 9% in combination with strong sales, the active inventory at the end of March experienced a slight decrease from 2015.  This is the exact opposite of what has been happening the last few years as the number of active listings has been spiking upward significantly.  The overall MLS market, as a result, is in balanced market conditions with four months of inventory.

 

When you breakdown the two main property types of residential-detached and condos, a clear difference emerges.  Based on March sales activity, the 2,259 residential-detached listings existing at the end of March would last three months if no other listings were to come onto the market while the 813 condo listings would be closer to five months.

 

"It is really important for buyers and sellers in any local market to understand one size does not fit all," said Stewart Elston, president of Winnipeg Realtors.

 

"You can have varying degrees of competitive market forces (eg. supply and demand) at play between and within the many MLS property types.  In evaluating your property's salability, some questions need to be asked.  What price range does the property fall in?  What city neighbourhood or rural municipality is it located?  What attributes does it have in comparison to similar sized properties?  Are they well maintained and upgraded if necessary?

 

"This is why we always strongly advise and even insist you consult with a Realtor -- a real estate expert -- to give you the proper advice and counsel on how the current market applies to your own particular situation."

 

Another good example of markets performing differently within the region it encompasses is with regard to residential-detached property inventory.   After three months of sales activity the results show neighbourhoods, such as St Boniface, Norwood, River Heights, East Fort Garry and Richmond West, have either sold out or nearly sold all of the listings which have come onto the market this year.  Close behind with some very high conversions of listings to sales are Crestview, Fort Rouge, Fort Richmond and Linden Woods.

 

With the entire market region averaging 51% of residential-detached listings being sold by the end of March the rest tend to be all over the map.  This means many neighbourhoods still have a higher percentage of conversions of listings to sales but lots of them, including rural municipalities, fall under the market region average.

 

"Just like Vanoucver is not the same as Calgary or Toronto, neither do our local neighbourhoods behave the same way," said Elston.

 

There are two market developments worth noting as we head into the busiest quarter of our real estate market.

 

Condo sales have rebounded from a poor first quarter last year.  The 328 sales recorded so far are up 15% over the same period in 2015 and 8% over the 10 year average.  March condo sales of 167 increased 25% over March 2015 and 20% over the 10 year monthly average.

 

The other one is the 19% increase in residential-detached sales over $300,000 this first quarter compared to the same period in 2015.  As a result, the year to date average residential-detached sales price is $300,844, a 6% increase in comparison to first quarter 2015.

 

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in March was from $250,000 to $299,999 with 22% of total sales.  Deadlocked in second place at 15% each were the $200,000 to $249,999 and the $300,000 to $349,999 price ranges.  The $400,000 to $449,999 price  range equalled the more active $200,000-$249,999 price range for having the lowest number of days to sell on the market at only 21 days.  the average number of days on market to sell a home in March was 31 days, 3 days slower than March 2015.

 

The most active price range for condos in March was from $150,000-$199,999 at 34%.  Second most active was from $200,000-$249,999 at 20%.  Another 14% sold from $100,000-$149,999.  The average days on market to sell a condo in March was 46 days, one day slower than March 2015. 

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February Leaps Ahead of the Rest


Whether an extra day in February paved the way for a record month is debatable as the best previous high for this month was 797 in 2007 and there were only 28 days to reach that level.  What it does show however, is more buyers came out of the woodwork to take advantage of some of the best supply of affordable house prices in the country.

 

Another February milestone was set this year too with dollar volume easily surpassing $200 million for the first time.  New listings coming on to the market were up in double digits as well, however, the stronger conversion of listings to sales kept the overall inventory close to where it was a year ago.  Based on the strong sales activity in February and a high influx of new listings, there is roughly 4 1/2 month's supply of MLS listings available going into March.  It was near six months at the end of January.

 

In percentage terms, February MLS sales of 816 increased 21% compared to February 2015.  February MLS dollar volume of $222 million was up 29% over the same month last year.  New listings coming onto the market in February vaulted ahead by 14% leaving an inventory of over 3,700 MLS listings at the end of February, only 2% more than last year at this time.

 

Given February's impressive result, year to date sales and dollar volume are up 10 and 14% respectively.  Listings entered on the MLS for the first two months have increased nearly 6%.

 

"Our record setting February is an indication of the Winnipeg market's steadfast performance in contrast to some of the adversity we are seeing in other markets across the country," said Stewart Elston, Winnipeg Realtors President. "The Conference Board of Canada is predicting Winnipeg's economy will out perform most other major Canadian cities this year."

 

One noticeable trend which has emerged in the last few years is rural sales are gaining at the expense of the City of Winnipeg.  One out of every four MLS home sales in 2015 were in the outlying rural municipalities.  February 2016 was no exception as 28% of all home sales happened outside the city of Winnipeg.

 

"In light of the current City of Winnipeg budget deliberations where Winnipeggers are seeing not only property tax increases but a proposed 25% increase in their frontage levy, talk of well beyond inflation jumps in quarterly water and sewer rates and a significant increase in combined building permit fees, it should not be lost on our civic politicians that outlying rural municipalites are an option for buyers seeking lower operating costs of owning a home," said Elston.

 

As mentioned in the 2016 forecast for Winnipeg's MLS market, the very balanced market conditions will continue to keep a lid on pricing and this was borne out in February.  Both the residential-detached and condo average sale prices were very close to the 2015 year end numbers.  Residential-detached was almost identical at a little over $294,000 while February average condo sales price was just below the $235,000 recorded for 2015.

 

The most active price ranges in MLS residential-detached sales in February were between $250,000-$299,999  and $200,000 to $249,999 with 22 and 15% respectively of total sales.  The most active price range also had the lowest average days on market of 30 days.  The average number of days on market to sell a home in February was 37 compared to 34 in 2015.

 

The most active price range in condos was between $150,000 and $199,999 at 28% of total sales.  The second busiest price range with 20% of sales was between $200,000 to $249,999.  The average days on market was 48 days, the same time it took in February 2015.

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BUT JANUARY'S A GOOD START

 

It has often been said that one month does not a market make.  Yet here it is, January 2016, and we only have one month to look at, so January is the market!  And not to disappoint, the activity in the first 31 days does give us a lot to evaluate.

 

Winnipeg Realtors was founded as the Winnipeg Real Estate Exchange in 1903, and one of the founding Objects of the Corporation was to "...compile, record and publish statistics and  acquire and distribute information respecting the real estate ... business of its Members ...".  So we've been looking at and interpreting market activity and statistics for 113 years.

 

Here's how the New Year kicked off ...

In terms of inventory, we have more listings available this January for buyers than we've had for the past five January's.  More supply starts to change the sellers' markets we've experienced since 2003/4 and brings more balance to the marketplace.  Just recently we've seen a reduction in the number of multiple offers and sales over list price that became the norm in the sellers' markets.  Buyers can again exercise more due diligence by viewing more properties and making offers conditional on financing or home inspections than at the height of the market where demand was always exceeding supply.

 

At the end of January there were 3,406 listings available for viewing, up over 60% from the 2,125 listings available for sale in 2011.

 

There were 1,519 listings entered into the MLS system in January, just 36 fewer than last January.  But those 1,500 plus listings were 22% more than in January 2014 and 30% more than 2013!

 

And sales held their own at 571, 17 fewer than last January, but six more than 2014.  One month is just too small a sample to see trends or make conclusions ... but it appears that the market in Winnipeg remains healthy.

 

Dollar volume was $149 million this year, off 1.75% from last January's $152 million, but up over January's total for 2011 through 2014 inclusive.

 

"The numbers for January appear to reflect the Association's forecast breakfast projections presented on January 27.  Despite some of the negative headlines we see from national organizations trying to figure out trends and movements based on an overweight emphasis on the Vancouvers, Torontos and Calgarys, in Winnipeg we tend to be less exposed to speculative influences like foreign investors and an economy based on a single resource like oil.  So when you see headlines implying Winnipeg's market is high risk or shows strong indications of problematic conditions, we should remember that real estate is local.  The activity you see in our local MLS stats can be relied upon," said Stewart Elston, Winnipeg Realtors President.

 

The forecast breakfast referenced by Elston showed that last year's predictions were bang on and this year's forecast continues to see the glass as half full.

 

Referring the the forecast, Elston states that "with interest rates remaining at historical lows and very positive predictions from other analysts suggesting that everything from employment and confidence levels in Winnipeg and Manitoba are high, immigration is encouraging, and the province's GDP and overall economy are all favourable, we can't see any reason to predict that the local real estate market will be anything but stable."

 

The most active price ranges in the Winnipeg's single family residential market as recorded on the MLS for January were between $200,000 and $249,999 and between $250,000 and $299,999, which combined accounted for 39% of sales.  The average number of days on the market was 44 compared to 41 in 2015.

 

The most active price ranges in the condo market were between $150,000 and $199,999 at 26%, which was the same percentage as sales between $250,000 and $299,999.  But there were only 69 condo sales in January and this is such a small sample that no conclusions can yet be formulated.  Average days on the market for condos came in at 62 days, on average 16 days longer than last year.

 

 

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DECEMBER SALES UP 4%

 

2015 finished on a strong note.  Following on the heels of a record sales month for November, December sales of 642 were up 4% from last December.  They are the third highest for this month and are only behind the best sales years ever by a very modest amount.

 

"It is really quite remarkable how close our year end sales have been the last few years, including our highest sales year in 2007," said Winnipeg Realtors outgoing president David MacKenzie.  "They all tend to hover just above or close to the 13,000 level and in percentage terms we are only talking a little over 1% when we compare the 12,927 sales recorded this year to the 13,079 in 2007."

 

While sales and even prices have shown consistent and similar results, listings have not chartered the same path. The number of listings entered on the MLS were 24,603 in 2015, up 7% over 2014 and 41% over the 10 year average of 17,433.  With an increase in listings but sales remaining consistent, the market's inventory has also been rising month to month.  This is borne out in having over five months of inventory available going into 2016.

 

"Buyers are in a great position to take advantage of a current market which is providing a large number and array of properties for sale and ones which remain some of the most affordably priced in the country," said MacKenzie.  "Sellers need to take heart knowing Winnipeg Realtors is still enjoying one of the best sales years it has ever had. They need to be aware, however, that more competition for those sales creates more downward pressure on prices since supply is outstripping demand."

 

An indicator of stiffer competition for selling your home is evident when you see the number of single family home sales selling below list price.  Properties below list accounted for 65% in 2014 but now represent 75% of the market in 2015.  In December alone 87% of all single family home sales sold below list price.  Of the single family or residential detached listings which sold in 2015, on average they achieved 98% of the total list price.

 

When 2015 was all said and done, a new MLS dollar volume record was established at $3.5 billion.  This resulted in a 2% increase over 2014.  Despite sales being higher this December from December 2014, dollar volume actually fell 2.89% when compared to December 2014.

 

It was a tale of different stories when it came to the two primary MLS property types.  Residential detached performed exceedingly well with sales and dollar volume up 3 and 5% respectively, in comparison to 2014.  On the other hand, condos never recovered from an unexpectedly poor first quarter where sales were off by 20%.  By year end this deficit was cut in half but nonetheless represented a 10% decrease compared to 2014.

 

The average sales price for residential detached was $293,992, a 2% increase over 2014.  The average condo sales price showed a 1% decrease from $239,171 in 2014 to $236,204 this year.

 

Residential detached represented nearly 3 out of every 4 properties which sold on MLS in 2015.  Condo market share was 12.5%.  25% of residential detached sales in 2015 happened outside Winnipeg in the  capital region. The southwest quadrant of Winnipeg was second with 19% of total sales.

 

The most active price range for residential detached sales in 2015 was $250,000-$299,999, followed by the $200,000-$249,999 and the $300,000-$349,999.  Average days on the market for residential detached sales was 33 days, three days slower than 2014.  The highest priced residential detached sale was $2.7 million.  The least expensive sale was $8,000.

 

The most active price range for condos in 2015 was $150,000-$199,999, followed by the $200,000-$249,999 and the $250,000-$299,999.  Average days on market for condo sales was 49 days, nine days off the pace set in 2014. The highest priced condo sale was $950,000.  The least expensive sale was $57,000.

 

Looking ahead to 2016, Manitoba's GDP is expected to increase to 2.3%, which is an improvement over the expected increase of 2.0% in 2015.  In keeping with one of the country's best GDP's, Manitoba's employment is forecast to grow by 1.6% in 2015 and 1% in 2016.  This will keep its unemployment rate below 6%.  Manitoba had Canada's second highest population increase of 1% in 2015.

 

"While we do have an abundance of listings to work our way through at the beginning of the year, the good news is Winnipeg's and Manitoba's economy is performing relatively well," said MacKenzie.  "A most recent survey by CIBC shows Manitobans are most confident about their state of finances so this is another positive indicator that they will continue to take advantage of an excellent selection of properties for sale at some of the most affordable prices in the country."

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NOVEMBER MLS SALES UP 9%

 

Mild weather, hosting the Grey Cup, being singled out as one of the best destinations in the world to visit by National Geographic Traveler magazine or just having an excellent supply of terrific listings to choose from with such favourable mortgage rates, it was the first time November nudged over 900 sales in Winnipeg Realtors 112 year history.

 

Not surprisingly, dollar volume was at its highest level too for this month at nearly $245 million and with a month to go, it is virtually assured a new annual dollar volume record will be set around the $3.5 billion mark.  November also set a record for the highest priced  residential-detached or single family property sold ever at $2.7 million.  It is a spectacular home and acreage nestled along the Assiniboine River in St Francois Xavier.

 

"We have said all along this year Winnipeg is a very stable real estate market with good fundamentals supporting it," said Winnipeg Realtors president David MacKenzie.  "November's strong result puts us in an advantageous position to beat out last year's solid sales performance and usher in a new annual dollar record."

 

November MLS unit sales of 903 represent an increase of nearly 9% over November 2014 and are the highest on record for this month.  Similarly, dollar volume of close to $245 million set a new November dollar volume record and was up 12% over November 2014.  Year to date MLS unit sales of 12,285 are up less than 1% while dollar volume of $3.3 billion has increased almost 3% over the same period in 2014.

 

Listing supply continues to be elevated with 4,377 available for sale at the end of November.  This total is only a 5% increase over last year but is significantly more in percentage terms over some previous years when there were well under 3,000 properties for sale.

 

"Higher levels of listings, particularly in a property type where there are not as many sales each month, can put downward pressure on pricing given the heightened competition for buyers," said MacKenzie.  "This is why it is so important to talk to your Realtor about your property type in the context of the current market.  Where do you price your property best based on supply, location and competition within your price range segment?"

 

The five months of MLS listings supply available at this time tilts more towards a buyers' market.  As a result it puts more of a premium on vendors to do everything possible to place their property in its most positive light to sell given the stiff competition which exists.

 

As for the status of different MLS property types heading into the final month of the year, residential-detached or single family homes, which represent 3 out of every 4 homes sold so far in 2015, are ahead 3% in sales activity and 2% in average sales price in comparison to the same period in 2014.  The average sale price is $294,973.

 

Condos, which got off to a real slow start at the beginning of the year, have recovered to some extent but are still off 11% from 2014.  Their average sales price of $236,947 is down less than 1% from last year.  Condos are the second most active MLS property type with 12% of total market share.

 

An affordable alternative to single family and condo properties is single-attached.  They have increased nearly 8% in sales this year and experienced an average sale price rise of over 3%.  Their average sales price is $226,860.  This third most active MLS property type only captures 3% of the total MLS market.  Vacant  land sales are slightly lower in activity but similar in percentage terms.

 

The most active price range in November for residential-detached sales was $250,000-$299,999, followed by the $200,000-$249,999 and $150,000-$199,999 and $300,000-$349,999.  Average days on market for residential-detached sales was 41 days, a week slower than November 2014.  The highest priced residential-detached sale was $2.7 million.  The least expensive sale was $49,000.

 

The most active price range in November for condos was the $150,000-$199,999 range followed by the $100,000-$149,999 and the $250,000-$299,999.  Average days on market for condos was 49 days, three days off the pace set in November 2014.  The highest priced condo sale was $587,932 and the lowest sale price was $101,000.

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October MLS Sales Down Less Than 3%

 

With two months to go, it is too close to call whether this year's sales activity can eke out a victory over 2015.  The lead has changed a few times when comparing sales activity between 2015 and 2014.  At present, 2014 regains the lead with a total of 11,391 versus 11,382 sales this year.  Last year was Winnipeg Realtors fifth highest sales year recorded at over 12,800 sales.  It was a good year and only less than 2% off the best year in 2007.

 

On the other hand, MLS dollar volume continues to set new records every year even if sales fall short of previous years.  2015 is no different.  Its $3.1 billion in MLS sales transactions activity is up 2% over 2014.  Listings entered on the MLS for the first ten months are 22,400, an 8% increase over 2014.

 

October MLS sales of 1,084 represent a decrease of less than 3% from October 2014 while dollar volume of $283 million dropped a similar percentage to last October.  New listings of over 1,800 in October were slightly more than what came on the market in October 2014.

 

"When you see some of the mixed sales results across the country, such as Calgary's sales being well off last year's activity, I am pleased to say Winnipeg is holding its own," said David MacKenzie, president of Winnipeg Realtors.  "We should appreciate our economic fundamentals remain solid and this should give us reason to see us finish off well this year and feel confident going into 2016.  Both Manitoba's employment and population have increased in the first nine months."

 

In CMHC's most recent Fall 2015 Housing Outlook for Winnipeg and its surrounding rural municipalities, it indicated:

 

"Elevated levels of net migration will continue to have a positive impact on housing demand as new immigrants make their way into homeownership.  Adding to demand is a turnaround in employment in 2015 after the losses experienced in 2014.  Gains in full time jobs, particularly among workers aged 25 to 44 who tend to be first time buyers and favour housing at the lower price points, will support resale growth."

 

One area Winnipeg Realtors will need to keep monitoring is the higher than usual supply of listings as it moves into slower months of sales activity.  Heading into November there are over 2,700 residential-detached properties and around 800 condos available for sale.  In the second quarter where more brisk sales activity occurs, residential-detached active listings were as high as 3,301 while condos peaked at 983.

 

"Buyers are in an enviable position to take advantage of plentiful choice of listings in all of our MLS property types," said MacKenzie.  "You need to be talking to a Realtor, the MLS market expert, on what will best fit your needs according to your particular preferences and qualifications to meet financial obligations for the property you desire."

 

A sign of a far more balanced market with healthy competition for buyers is only 6% of all residential-detached or single family homes sold at list price in October while 82% went for below and 12% went for above list price.  Nevertheless, the total residential-detached sales dollar volume in October represented 97% of the total dollar volume worth of listings sold.

 

The most active priced range in October for residential-detached sales was $250,000-$299,999 followed by the $200,000-$249,999 and $150,000-$199,999.  Average days on market for residential-detached sales was 35 days, one day faster than October 2014.  The highest priced residential-detached sale was $1,125,000.  The least expensive sale was $18,000.

 

The busiest condo price ranges were the $250,000-$299,999 and the $150,000-$199,999 followed by the $200,000-$249,999.  Average days on market for condo sales was 47 days, a week off pace set in October 2014.  The highest priced condo sale was $599,900 and the lowest priced sale was $88,000. 

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September Sales Better than Average at 1,144


September MLS sales activity and the year to date pace is indicative of a steady market.  It is tracking very closely to 2014 as was forecast.  2014 saw Winnipeg Realtors 5th highest MLS sales result in its 112 year history.

 

If we even use the third quarter or the past three months as an example and look back over three years, including 2015, it is quite remarkable how similar they are.  Some may say nearly identical as there is a difference of only seven sales between the highest and lowest sales results.  In order of highest third quarter MLS sales to lowest they are as follows:  2013 - 3,803; 2014 - 3,802; 2015 - 3,796.  You would be hard pressed to find such a minimal sales difference in any other major Canadian real estate market.

 

"They are not headline grabbing numbers," said Winnipeg Realtors president David MacKenzie.  "What they tell us is we are very much in a narrow range of monthly MLS sales results when up against the same month in 2014.  Stability lives here and that is an attribute we can feel positive about in a world full of uncertainty."

 

September MLS sales of 1,144 were off 3% from September 2014.  However, they are over 2% higher from the 10 year September average.  There has only been one September when sales climbed over 1,200.  Despite sales being down 3% from 2014, dollar volume of $307 million eclipsed last year's level of $305 million and is the highest MLS dollar volume on record for September.

 

Year to date dollar volume is now over $2.8 billion, up 2% from 2014.  At 10,298 sales, year to date sales are in a virtual deadlock with 2014 as a mere 20 more sales have been processed through Winnipeg Realtors MLS in 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014.

 

More activity has emerged in the last few years with listings.  Winnipeg is in a far more balanced market with 5,538 MLS listings available at the end of September.  This equates to roughly five months of supply if no new listings were to come onto the market.

 

Single family homes represent the most at 3,110 while condos are well back at 860.  There are another 708 vacant land listings.

 

"People in the market who are looking to buy property are well placed at this time to take advantage of a healthy supply of all MLS property types within our market region," said David MacKenzie.  "They should be calling their Realtor as they will advise them on what specific choices they have within the property type and location they are interested in living."

 

The most active price range in September for residential-detached sales was $250,000-$299,999, followed by the $200,000-$249,999 and $300,000-$349,999.  Average days on market for residential-detached sales was 35 days, two days slower than September 2014.  The highest priced residential-detached sale was $1,150,000.  The least expensive sale was $39,500.

 

The busiest condo price range was $150,000-$199,999, followed by the $200,000 to $249,999 and $250,000-$299,999.  Average days on market for condo sales was 56 days, 16 days slower than September 2014.  The highest priced condo sale was $482,500 and the lowest priced sale was $72,500.

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NEW AUGUST DOLLAR VOLUME RECORD SET AT CLOSE TO $341 MILLION

 

The strong sales performance in August resulted in bringing year to date sales ahead of last year for the first eight months of 2015.  Last month 2014 was ahead slightly but the lead slipped away by the end of August owing to the 11% increase in sales over August 2014.

 

Dollar volume on the other hand has remained ahead of 2014 throughout the year.  In fact, August reinforced this consistent edge by setting a new dollar volume record for this month.  Over $340 million was transacted through the MLS in August with one single family home sale fetching $2.1 million.  Year to date dollar volume is now over $2.5 billion.  It is up nearly 3% over last year and is the highest level it has ever been for the first eight months.

 

At 1,258 sales, August 2015 is right up there with the best.  The three higher August month sales on record are modestly better with none reaching the 1,300 level.  As for listings, compared to the last few years, where there was a 25% and 19% increase in MLS inventory by month end over the previous year, this year's 5,600 listings is more restrained.  It is up less than 10% from August 2014 and down nearly 400 listings from last month.

 

Nevertheless, the healthy supply of listings which roughly equates to 4 1/2 months on hand if no new listings were to come on the market, has not gone unnoticed by buyers wishing to take advantage of historically favourable mortgage rates and some of the more affordable house prices in the country.

 

"At this point in the year, we are experiencing our fifth best sales year and dollar volume is ranked first and poised to set a new record by year end," said Winnipeg Realtors president Dave Mackenzie.  "We are confident in the stability and consistency of Winnipeg's real estate market.  It really is symptomatic and reflective of a Manitoba economy which is diverse, resilient and performing well."

 

Manitoba boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and has shown positive gains in job creation.  Its unemployment rate has averaged 2.1% below Canada's rate over the past 15 years.  Manitoba's GDP is expected to be the third best in the country at 2.2% in 2015.

 

While condo sales have been the subject of some concern this year, some perspective is in order.  Based on a five year average of sales, up until the end of August 2015 sales of 1,118 are only down 3%.  The 160 condo sales or 26% increase in August over the same month last year has narrowed the year to date deficit from 19% at the end of July to 13% at August month end.

 

"Two things need to be kept in mind for condos in the context of our local market," said Mackenzie.  "Despite their gains in overall MLS market share over the last few years at the expense of single family homes, the latter still represents the lion's share of our MLS market activity.  This year three out of every four sales is a single family home where condos have been closer to one in ten at 12% of total MLS market share.  The second point is we still have four months to go and a month like we had in August shows the gap may be narrowed further before year end."

 

Speaking more to the affordability of Winnipeg's housing market where prices have been held in check due to a very balanced housing supply, the recent release of RBC's housing affordability index for the 2015 second quarter is helpful in understanding where we fit in a national context.  It shows when it comes to buying a detached bungalow based on the pre-tax income needed to service the costs of owning a home at current market values, Winnipeg is right in line with Montreal and Ottawa, not far off Calgary and Edmonton and well below Toronto and Vancouver.

 

The most active price range in August for residential-detached sales was $250,000-$299,999, followed by the $200,000-$249,999 and $300,000-$349,999.  Average days on market for residential-detached sales was 38 days, a week slower than August 2014.  The highest priced residential-detached sale was a home in Headingley which sold for $2.1 million.  The lease expensive sale was $35,000.

 

The busiest condo price range in August was $150,000-$199,999, followed by $200,000-$249,999 and $250,000-$299,999.  Average days on the market for condo sales was 55 days, two weeks slower than August 2014.  The highest priced condo sold for $501,000 and the lowest priced sale was $60,000.

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MLS Sales Down 6%


It is no easy feat to overtake a record July set in 2014.  Nonetheless, July 2015 sales were still brisk.  At nearly 1,400 sales, they are 6% higher than the 10 year sales average and third highest for this month ever.  If not for condo sales lagging behind in July as well as this year to date, July 2015 would have narrowed the gap in MLS sales from last July and been even more impressive.

 

Residential-detached sales continue to perform well in comparison to 2014.  They are only down 2% from last July and are up 3% year to date.  On the other hand, condo sales are off 22% in July and 17% for the year.

 

¨We are a little bit surprised by how condo sales are not rebounding from a slow start this year,¨ said Winnipeg Realtors president Dave MacKenzie.  ¨One thing I know for sure is it has nothing to do with lack of supply.  With 939 condo listings available at the end of July, it is over double what was available at the end of July 2013 and up 35% from last July.¨

 

July`s MLS dollar volume at $384 million is just 1% down from July 2014 despite sales being 6% higher that year.  Year to date dollar volume is 1% ahead of 2014 at $2.17 billion.  Year to date MLS sales of 7,896 are down less than 1% from 2014.

 

¨Overall our sales are very consistent with last year,¨ said MacKenzie.  ¨Although you always need to appreciate and understand not all MLS areas and property types or sales and listings within our different price ranges behave the same way.  This is why you need to be talking to a Realtor about your specific market needs and how the current market is affecting you.¨

 

While affordability remains a hallmark of Winnipeg`s real estate market, July results show first-time buyers were not as active compared to last year.  In examining the three key affordable house price ranges from $150,000 to $299,999, there were 80 fewer residential-detached sales.  This number represents a 13% decrease from July 2014.

 

Condo sales showed a similar downward result for the two price ranges from $150,000 to $249,999 with 23 fewer sales from 2014.  However, the next higher price range from $250,000 to $299,999 showed an increase of six sales over last year.

 

But we must remember that MLS sales in 2014 set records, so this year`s numbers are still healthy.

 

¨We should never be complacent about our market being more affordable than other major markets in the country,¨ said MacKenzie.  ¨Issues we have identified such as land transfer taxes, property taxes and other costs of home ownership affect Manitobans` ability to purchase a property.¨

 

The most active price range in July for residential-detached was $250,000-$299,999, followed by the $300,000-$349,999 and $200,000-$249,999.  Another 22% of sales were split evenly in the $150,000-$199,999 and the $350,000-$399,999.

 

Average days on market for residential-detached sales was 33 days, 5 days slower than July 2014.  The highest priced residential-detached sale was $1,431,000 and the least expensive sale was $30,000.

 

The busiest condo price range in July was $150,000-$199,999, followed by $200,000-$249,999 and the $250,000-$299,999.  Days on market for condo sales was 41 days compared to 34 days last year with the highest priced condo selling for $880,000 and the lowest priced sale at $87,500.

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June MLS Sales Eclipse 1,500


Since 2007 when for the first time June sales surpassed 1,500, this level has become the new benchmark upon which June is judged.  At 1,509 MLS unit sales in June, over 1,500 sales have occurred three times after 2007 including last year when there were 1,515 sales.  There is only a 55 unit sales difference or over 3% higher sales activity in the record-setting June 2008. 

 

Not much difference on a year to date basis either.  Year to date sales are running less than 1% ahead of last year with 6,502 sales.  This total is only off 7% from 2007, which at the halfway mark and year end holds the highest unit sales level in Winnipeg Realtors 112 year history.

 

This reinforces why Winnipeg's real estate market may lack the excitement of other housing markets because it's so steady and stable in generating similar results every year.

 

"In all honesty, our Winnipeg market can be quite boring due to how remarkably close the month end numbers are in comparison to the same month the year before," said Winnipeg Realtors president David MacKenzie.  "I will take that result any day over the uneven swings which occur in some other major Canadian markets."

 

A byproduct of this stability is more affordable house prices.  In RBC's most recent housing affordability report, which has been compiled since 1985 and captures Manitoba's proportion of pre-tax household income needed to service the costs of owning a home at market values, condos fared better with bungalows and two storey homes going up marginally.  In conclusion, RBC says "affordability measures remain remarkably close to long term averages."  Sound familiar?

 

Speaking of average house prices, they are very much in line with last year at the halfway mark of 2015.  There is no breakout like this for condo sales; however, the year to date average sale price of $241,029 is up over 1% from the same period in 2014.

 

As indicated in the 2015 annual MLS forecast, a plentiful listing supply will ensure well balanced market conditions prevail and therefore keep a lid on increasing house and condo prices.  13,728 listings have been entered on the MLS this year, an increase of 14% over 2014. Based on brisk sales activity in June, there is an inventory of approximately four months going into July.

 

Reflecting how prices are being kept in check is the similar dollar volume this June compared to last June.  Dollar volume eked out an ever so slight edge over 2014 (less than 1%) with a record-setting $416 million for this month and one of the highest monthly totals on record.  Year to date dollar volume of nearly $1.8 billion is up less than 2%over the same period in 2014. It is the highest level on record for the first six months.

 

Owing to a healthy supply of MLS listings and historicallty low mortgage rates, buyers are continuing to capitalize on choice and rates or choice rates if the property they have long sought after is available for sale.  Demand is holding up well too with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 5.6% and continued population growth fuelled by strong immigration.  Manitoba's real GDP is expected to grow 2.3% in 2015, making it the third best among provinces and above the national average of 1.8%.

 

"Given the outstanding selection of listings available throughout the city and entire capital region, it behooves buyers to see for themselves and call their Realtor for their expert advice," said MacKenzie. "Realtors know the market and can give you quick access to new MLS listings.  Your chances of finding what you want have never been better -- resale or new prooperties."

 

MLS property-type breakdown shows condo sales in June were only down 6% in comparison to last June.  This is a vast improvement over some earlier months, such as February and April when they were well off last year's sales activity.

 

"We surveyed our real estate brokers recently and the majority of them felt the introduction of the new Condo Act on February 1st had some impact on sales," said MacKenzie.  "Everyone involved in the condo sales process is adjusting to the new requirements of the Act so our expectations are to see sales numbers perform better in the second half of 2015.  Let's not forget either an increased supply of affordable residential-detached homes competes directly with condos."

 

Year to date sales show residential-detached units up 5% while condos have decreased 15%.

 

The most active price range in June for residential-detached sales was $250,000-$299,999, followed by the $200,000-$249,999 range and the $300,000-$349,999 range.  Another 22% of sales were split evenly in the $150,000-$199,999 and the $350,000-$399,999 ranges.

 

Average days on market was 29 days, 4 days slower than June 2014.  The highest priced residential-detached sale was $1,165,000 and the least expensive sale was $32,000.

 

The most active price range for condos was $150,000-$199,999 followed by the $200,000 to $249,999 range and the $250,000-$299,999 range.  Days on market for condos was 49 days, compared to 41 days last year with the highest priced condo selling for $655,000 and the lowest priced sale at $57,000.

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Year-to-Date Sales Match 2014


While still a large influx of new listings came onto the market in May, it was the first decrease over the same month the previous year in over two years. Just this year alone monthly increases have been significant (eg. 33% spike in March over March 2014).

 

One month does not make a trend.  However, due to less inventory going into June and higher sales activity occurring in the spring market, the MLS inventory has a supply of four months. Altus Group, a leading national housing consulting firm which tracks local markets every month, states five months inventory of resale product is considered to be a normal market.

 

"Overall our local market is balanced and offers plenty of choice for discerning buyers to find their preferred property," said Winnipeg Realtors president David MacKenzie.  "Sellers on the other hand need to be realistic in their pricing as there is lots of competition from other similar properties."

 

After five months of MLS activity, one in five single family home sales are achieving above list price results.  Condos are more like one in ten with another 15% selling at list price.

 

Year-to-date MLS sales of 4,993 are slightly ahead of last year, while 1,455 sales recorded in May were 7% off the pace set in May 2014.  MLS inventory remains healthy at 5,751 listings, while new listings coming on the market of 2,726 were down 1% over last May.

 

Residential-detached property sales this year are up 7% despite suffering a 5% setback in May.  Condo sales are off 20% from 2014 but experienced 10% or half the annual percentage decrease in May.  In terms of total MLS market share, residential-detached sales represent 76% while condos are 12%.

 

May dollar volume of $410 million is one of only five months in Winnipeg Realtors 112 year history to eclipse $400 million.  It decreased 6.5% from May 2014. Year-to-date dollar volume of $1.37 billion is up 2% over last year and is the highest on record for the first five months.

 

President David MacKenzie said we should be pleased with another solid year so far.  "The numbers speak for themselves and it is not trite to say ideal conditions exist within our local market to take advantage of such favourable low mortgage rates.  Your Realtor can help you find what property best suits your needs."

 

The most active price range in May for residential-detached sales was $250,000 to $299,999 (23% of sales), followed by the $200,000 to $249,999 (16%) and the $300,000 to $350,000 (15%).

 

Average days on market was 25, the same as May 2014.  The highest priced residential-detached sale was $1,405,000 and the least expensive sale was $35,000.

 

The most active price range for condos was $150,000 to $199,999 (31% of sales) followed by the $200,000 to $249,999 and the $250,000 to $299,999 price ranges (both at 18%).  Days on market for condos was 41, compared to 30 last year.  The highest priced condo went for $950,000 and the lowest priced sale was $60,000.

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