MAY SALES DECREASE 11% FROM BEST MONTH EVER IN MAY 2017


WINNIPEG - May sales were down from the best May and month on record in 2017 when close to 1,700 transactions were processed on WinnipegREALTORS® MLS®. The 1,510 sales recorded in May 2018 decreased 11% from the same month last year and are down 4% from May’s 5-year average sales numbers and 1% from the 10-year average. Dollar volume of $458.4 million decreased 8% from May 2017.

New listings coming on the market in May decreased less than 2% while inventory at the end of the month increased 3% to 5,103 listings. When broken down into the two main property types of residential-detached and condominiums, inventory sits at 2,750 and 973 respectively. If no new listings were to come on the market this inventory would run out in roughly two and one-half months for residential-detached properties and five months for condominiums.

“While you cannot hit home runs every year, there are some headwinds facing the market this May that were not in play last year, “said Chris Dudeck, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “Higher lending rates in tandem with more stringent mortgage qualifying requirements are dampening demand even in our more affordable housing market. There was also a pull-forward in the spring of 2017 of new residential-detached, condominiums, single-attached and town house property type sales to avoid paying City of Winnipeg impact fees.”

Year-to-date sales of 5,021 are down less than 8% from the two busiest years on record in 2016 and 2017 but slightly ahead of the previous three years from 2013 to 2015. Dollar volume of $1.488 billion is 6% off last year’s $1.58 billion total.

Despite some slowdown in market activity in May and year-to-date, there are positive indicators to report on in May. 

Average days to sell in May for residential-detached and condominiums properties were less than four and five weeks respectively. Sales of homes in the $300,000 to $349,999 price range were particularly fast-paced with average days to sell of only 16 days. Condominiums, predominantly new units, sold on average in 17 days in the $350,000 to $399,999 price range.

The average sales price in May in comparison to May 2017 was up modestly too for both residential-detached and condominiums. 

An indicator of demand outstripping supply for residential-detached sales for certain MLS® areas was the number of homes selling for above list price reached 28%, a 2 percentage point increase from May 2017. 

This reality is borne out by a number of neighbourhoods dispersed throughout Winnipeg which had sales numbers exceeding the number of listings remaining for sale at the end of the month. The same situation does not exist for condominiums with just 9% of condominiums in May selling for above list price. There is a healthy supply of condominium listings available to choose from throughout the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.

The overall absorption rate for MLS® listings going into June is less than 3 and one-half months however one area to watch for is the build-up in condominium inventory. Condominium inventory is up 10% from last year at close to 1,000 listings.

“Given how there has been more time for both mortgage lenders and buyers to adjust to the new mortgage rule requirements including an modest increase in the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate, I am hopeful June may be a catch up month and will usher in improved performance in sales activity,” said Dudeck. “It would not surprise me to see June edge out May in sales this year.”

 “ A professional REALTOR® is who you should be calling to find out what is your best recourse in terms of what you need to do in navigating our current real estate market”, said Marina R. James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.

 
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Jim Born
APRIL REGAINS SOME LOST MOMENTUM IN 2018

WINNIPEG - April sales began to take off like our Winnipeg Jets. Sales of 1,283 were more spring-like in numbers as only down 1% from last April and up nearly 2% over the 10-year average for this month. New listings of 2,621 in April increased 7% from the same month last year while the existing inventory at month end of 4,550 was up nearly 4% over 2017.

MLS® dollar volume of nearly $390 million just edged out last year’s total. Year-to-date dollar volume climbed over $1 billion and is less than 5% off last year’s first four month total dollar volume. Year-to-date sales of 3,511 are down 6% from the same period in 2017.

April’s average residential-detached sales price was just under $330,000, a modest increase over April 2017. Helping elevate this average sales price was a home in East Fort Garry which sold above list price for $2.6 million and three other million dollar plus home sales in the Waverley West MLS® area.

The April condominium average sales price of $236,027 was down slightly from April 2017. Condo sales of 165 were ahead of last April’s total by 5%. The highest percentage increase of all MLS® property type sales in April was duplexes at 50%.

“Clearly market activity picked up in April to show once again how resilient the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region can be in the face of some adversity with new mortgage qualification rules in place as well as higher mortgage rates,” said Chris Dudeck, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “A real enduring strength of our local market in the last few years has been its affordable prices with different options to choose from given overall balanced market conditions.”

A true test of this year’s return to more seasonal sales activity will be this month as last May had the highest monthly sales ever at just under 1,700 sales. Can it be a jet-fuelled month? Only time will tell but there are positive signs as a result of solid market metrics in April.

While there are more listings on the market going into May than there were last year this does not mean they are all evenly distributed amongst varying property types and areas within the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. Residential-detached listings of nearly 2,400 lean towards tighter market conditions based on expected strong sales the next few months and condominium listings of almost 900 show a more elevated inventory and more opportunities for buyers to with longer days on market to sell and greater selection available.

One clear difference too between these main property types is the percentage of listings selling for above list price in April. 28% of residential-detached properties sold for above list price compared to 9% for condominiums.

As the market gets busy at this time of year you need to be contacting a REALTOR® to make sure you are well positioned if selling your property, and if buying, prequalified and ready to make an offer if the right property is listed in your preferred area,” said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.

 

 
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Jim Born
A SLOW START TO THE FIRST QUARTER

WINNIPEG - Sales in March resulted in a slower first quarter especially in comparison to the two best years on record in 2016 and 2017. Sales of 2,228 are down over 8% from the first 3 months in 2017, and 4% over the 10-year average. March sales of 974 decreased 12% from March 2017, and 5% over the 10-year average. March new listings at just under 2,100 were down to a lesser extent at 5%.

Current inventory of MLS® listings going into the second quarter is almost identical to last year. It sits around 3,900 listings with a modest percentage gain of residential-detached listings available while condominium listings slipped slightly.

It is fair to say while market fundamentals are firmly in place in the local market, new mortgage rules combined with higher mortgage rates in the last year have made it more difficult for some buyers to purchase their desired property. This not only applies to first-time buyers, but to existing home owners who instead of listing their property have decided to stay put as the tougher qualifying environment keeps them from moving ahead with a new purchase.

As in other real estate markets across the country, strong year-end sales within the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region in November and December in advance of the January 1, 2018 new stress test on uninsured mortgages would have had a pull-forward effect on sales happening this first quarter.

Of course you can never discount mother- nature either as March has been unseasonably cold and did nothing to motivate buyers to kick start the spring market.

“The second quarter is by far the busiest quarter of the year and it will truly tell the story if the slow first quarter start is just that,” said Chris Dudeck, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “We need to see if April regains some of the market momentum lost in the first quarter.”

Further analysis of both residential-detached and condominium properties provide a few observations.

While condominiums saw sales drop 14% in the first quarter, they are only 1% below the 10-year average. The average sales price of $240,740 was less than 2% below the more active first quarter of 2017.

Residential-detached, the most expensive property type class and one most vulnerable to recent policy-related moves to slow down the housing market, experienced an 11% decline over the 2017 first quarter, and a 7% drop off in same period sales over the 10-year average. The average sales price was higher however at $327,959 compared to $319,549, up nearly 3%, and the average days to sell was 29 versus 27 in 2017.

It is also worth noting the ratio of total sales price, to total list price, edged up to 99% in the month of March. This high percentage ratio can be attributed in part to a number of MLS® areas seeing whatever listings they had available sell quickly.

“ The majority of MLS® areas which experienced the biggest decrease in residential-detached sales compared to last year were in the more affordable price ranges and often had a corresponding drop off in available listings,” said Dudeck.

This same pattern was less apparent with condominiums which had more of an issue with less listings being sold compared to last year.

“As this first quarter demonstrates, changes occur within property types, price ranges and areas throughout the market region, “said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®. You need to be calling a REALTOR® to advise you on your best course of action.”

 

 
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Jim Born
FEBRUARY SALES DOWN 11%

WINNIPEG - It was an off month for WinnipegREALTORS® as February sales of 683 declined 11% from the same month last year and 10% over the 10-year average for February.  Year-to-date sales of 1,250 are 5% off the pace set in 2017 when there were 1,327 sales. Year-to-date dollar volume worth $352 million in real estate transactions is also down 5% from the same period last year.

When comparing MLS® listings to last year, overall supply is not the issue as the inventory at the end of February of just under 3,400 is equivalent to 2017. New listings coming on the market for residential-detached and condominium properties in February were not markedly different either from February 2017. 

Simply put, buyers were less active than last year.  Sales fell short in the two main property types – residential-detached and condominiums. While condominium sales decreased 16%, the 102 sales transacted are above the 10-year average by 8%. Residential-detached sales, on the other hand, were below the 10-year average by 10% and 11% in comparison to February 2017.

There is no one reason why residential-detached sales saw a drop off in activity.  One MLS® area in particular was down markedly from 2017 because of a lack of listings, where other MLS® areas experienced a noticeable drop off in sales compared to available listings.

As for the distribution of sales throughout the entire residential-detached price range spectrum, the tilt in percentage of sales activity favoured the higher price ranges above $300,000. This was even more accentuated for condominium sales activity in higher price ranges. The usually dominant $150,000 to $199,999 price range dropped in total sales percentage from 36% in 2017 to 19% this year.

“A disappointing sales result but still too early in year to draw any firm conclusions,” said WinnipegREALTORS® president Chris Dudeck. “Based on an increase in higher end price range sales activity in relation to lower price ranges compared to last February the new stress test on insured mortgages (came into effect on January 1, 2018)  does not appear to be a leading cause of slower sales activity.”

It is also worth noting, residential-detached properties which did sell in February, actually sold faster in 2018 than 2017. The average days to sell was 32 days, 2 days quicker than February 2017, while average days to sell a condo was the same as February 2017 at 45 days. 

One thing that is clear, with tougher qualifying requirements for both insured and uninsured mortgages this year, and higher mortgage rates, buyers should be proactive in getting pre-approvals so that when they are ready to purchase a home they are qualified to buy.

This week the Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate at 1.25 per cent, though one more hike is expected this year. Lingering trade issues including concerns over NAFTA may well push back another rate hike until later in 2018. The Bank of Canada is also assessing the housing market as part of their rate-tightening plan given softer sales activity this year. 

“All markets are local and activity within the various property types behaves differently depending on the price range and area,” said Marina R. James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®. “You are always best advised to contact a professional REALTOR® to determine a suitable course of action for your own needs.”

Jim Born
SOLID DECEMBER CLOSES OUT A SUCCESSFUL YEAR OF MLS® SALES ACTIVITY

WINNIPEG - A solid result in December of 635 MLS® unit sales and a dollar volume over $179 million capped off a successful year in 2017.

Actual percentage differences in comparison to December 2016 were relatively modest but positive with sales up 3%, dollar volume rising 7% and listings increasing 8%. All MLS® property types performed exceptionally well in December with only residential-detached experiencing a drop of 8% in sales. A total MLS® inventory of 2,851 listings is available for sale as 2018 begins.  

2017 finished up strong with a total of 13,525 sales, down less than 1% from the record year of 2016 where 13,632 sales were transacted. A new annual dollar volume record was set in 2017 with $3.92 billion worth of MLS® sales – an increase of close to 4% in comparison to 2016.

When asked for his insight on 2017, outgoing WinnipegREALTORS® president Blair Sonnichsen said, “Considering tougher mortgage qualification requirements were in effect for insured mortgages, two Bank of Canada interest rate increases were brought in, and impact fees were imposed by the City of Winnipeg on new residential development, we are particularly pleased with our MLS® market performance. This indicates to me our REALTORS® worked diligently with mortgage brokers and financial institutions to overcome any challenges clients may have encountered in this regard. REALTORS® as a result were able to conclude nearly as many sales as they did in our record year of 2016.”

A byproduct of 2017 which has been noted before, is the many affordable options available to buyers in the WinnipegREALTORS® market region. It became very apparent early on in 2017 that buyers were making adjustments within certain property type categories or between them to attain their dream of acquiring a place to call home.

“Within the many neighbourhoods of Winnipeg or the outlying rural municipalities in the capital region, buyers made informed choices and took advantage of one of the most affordable residential real estate markets in the country, “said Sonnichsen.

2017 was a year where stronger move up market activity helped offset some drop off in the first-time buyer price ranges for single family homes. One clear example of higher end sales gaining ground over 2016 was the fact there were 45 million dollar plus homes sold in comparison to 30 in 2016. Even condominiums saw a spike in million dollar plus sales with 6 compared to none in 2016.

More move up sales activity in 2017 was a contributing factor in lifting the annual average sale price upward for both residential-detached and condominium property types. The residential-detached average sale price went from $302,726 in 2016 to $315,720 in 2017. The condominium average sale price rose over $9,000 to $244,687 in 2017.

Residential-detached average sale prices for the MLS® zones of Winnipeg and rural municipalities outside the city show price gains over 2016 with only Winnipeg North decreasing slightly.

The southwest zone eclipsed an average sale price of $400,000 in 2017 for the first time. When you have over 300 sales in one MLS® area (Waverley West) in this zone having an average sale price of $546,664 you know it will skew the entire zone’s average sale price higher. This MLS® zone also includes Tuxedo which had an average sale price of $853,378.

Speaking of residential-detached sales in 2017, despite the sales gains noted in higher price ranges, over half of all sales still occur under $300,000 with the busiest price range from $250,000 to $299,999 commanding a total market share of 21%. It is worth noting the $300,000 to $349,999 price range for the first time in 2017 supplanted the $200,000 to $249,999 price range as the second most active price range. The average days on market to sell a home in 2017 was 29 days, 2 days quicker than 2016.

The highest sale price for homes was $2,460,000 with the lowest selling for only $10,000. The most active price range for condominium sales in 2017 was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 28% of total sales. Another 35% of condo sales occurred fairly evenly in the next two higher price ranges from $200,000 to $249,999 and $250,000 to $299,999. The average days on market to sell a condo in 2017 was 43 days, 4 days quicker than 2016.

The highest sale price for condominiums was $1,575,000 while the lowest was $42,000.

Some other property types did not take a backseat to residential-detached and condominiums in 2017. In fact they outperformed them in terms of sales increases over 2016.

Single-attached properties had a double-digit increase of 12% to finish at 537 sales and a 4% market share. Town houses showed the largest sales increase of them all at 19% while commercial jumped 8%. Residential-detached sales were actually down 2% from 2016 and condominiums which started off the year with high monthly percentage gains over 2016 finished up with an increase under 3%. Condominium sales were only 9 sales short of the annual record set in 2014 when 1,798 sales were transacted on WinnipegREALTORS®’ MLS®.

“What these different property type outcomes illustrate is how important it is to consult with a REALTOR® - your local market expert – on what is happening with respect to your specific property type and how you need to navigate the market to get the best results,” said Marina R. James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.

WinnipegREALTORS® will get into more detail with analysis and explanation of what happened in 2017 when it hosts its 12th Annual Forecast breakfast on February 7, 2018. It will also look ahead to what it expects to happen in 2018 with new federal mortgage lending guidelines, the potential of more Bank of Canada interest rate increases and municipal elections.

“One real strength of our local market is its stability,” said Sonnichsen. “As we embark on a new year I believe Manitoba’s resilient and diversified economy will once again help us meet the headwinds which may pose a challenge to us in 2018.”

 

 
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Jim Born
A REPEAT PERFORMANCE IN NOVEMBER MLS® SALES ACTIVITY

WINNIPEG - If you are going to duplicate a month’s sales activity, do it when it is a good one and that was the case in November. MLS®sales of 878 units in November were one sale higher than November 2016 and 4% above the 10-year average for this month. Only once in 2015 did November sales edge over 900, so not a big difference in sales.

A solid performance in November and year-to-date sales of 12,890 ensures 2017 will be no worse than second highest on record. 2016 was the best year ever with over 13,600 sales.

“A good rebound in November from a slower October sets up a terrific year end result,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “We are only down 1% in sales from our best year ever in 2016 and will establish a new dollar volume record of close to $4 billion.”

A highlight in November which has been observed throughout the year is the strength of the upper end market. There were 50 residential-detached sales of over $500,000 compared to 34 last November and 4 sold for over $1 million with one closing at $2 million. One condominium sold for $1,575,000.

As much as the two MLS® property types of residential-detached and condominium represent nearly 86% of total sales, the single-attached property type has emerged this year as a real solid performer with over 500 sales and 4% of total MLS® market share. In November unit sales were up 22% and year-to-date sales are ahead by 11%. 

Balanced market conditions still prevail overall with over 4 months of listings available if there were no new listings added on to the MLS® system.

Condominium supply remains elevated in comparison to residential-detached. Based on slower condo sales in the upcoming months over 700 active condo listings equates to at least 7 months of supply. This difference is really borne out when you see in November 32% or nearly one out of every three active residential-detached listings sold to just 15% of the entire condominium inventory turning over.

MLS® area neighbourhoods such as Riverview, Crescentwood, River Heights, Wolseley, Southdale, Fort Garry, Linden Woods, Garden Grove and Harbourview South show depleted inventories in relation to residential-detached sales this year.

“Depending on the property type and area of the city or capital region you wish to live in, you need to be calling a REALTOR® to provide their knowledge and expertise on what your best course of action is based on current market conditions, especially due to financing,” said Marina R. James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®. “All real estate markets are local and vary within according to different market indicators.”

Commencing January 1, 2018, a new stress test comes into effect on Canadians making down payments of over 20 per cent and therefore not requiring mortgage insurance. It applies to all federally regulated financial institutions and requires the applicant to qualify for mortgage payments based on the greater of either the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or their contract mortgage rate plus two percentage points.

Backing up WinnipegREALTORS® claim that it has one of the most affordable major real estate markets in the country is the percentage of sales it has under $300,000. In November 59% of residential-detached sales and 77% of condo sales were under $300,000. The busiest condominium price range at 26% of total sales was from $150,000 to $199,999.

Helping WinnipegREALTORS® achieve another very successful year of MLS® sales is Manitoba’s well diversified and stable economy,” said Peter Squire, Vice President of External Relations and Market Intelligence.

He noted the unemployment rate is averaging 5.4%, second lowest among provinces and employment has increased by nearly 10,000 in the first 11 months of 2017. Average weekly earnings increases of 2.4% as of September 2017 are also second among provinces. 

Jim Born
OCTOBER SALES FALL BACK LIKE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

WINNIPEG - October sales decreased 10% from October 2016 and were off 4% from the 10-year October average. The drop in sales activity was largely predominant in the residential-detached and condominium property types selling for under $300,000.

The sales decrease in part, was the result of being up against increased sales activity in early October 2016 because home buyers then wanted to maximize their buying power before the October 17th stress test came into effect on insured mortgages. The new qualification requirement meant applicants had to qualify for the five- year fixed term Bank of Canada rate of 4.64 per cent.

October sales of 1,023 pushed year-to-date sales over 12,000 – only the second time this has happened and just 1% off last year’s record-setting pace of over 12,100 sales. Year-to-date dollar volume is the highest it has ever been at nearly $3.5 billion, up over 3% from 2016. Based on slower sales and dollar volume activity in the last two months of the year dollar volume, will not reach the $4 billion benchmark level but another annual dollar volume record will be set.

“October sales results clearly showed how government intervention in to the real estate market has affected it”, said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “The first-time buyer market for residential-detached properties has been softer this year and conversely more affordable property types such as single attached and townhouses have performed better.”

Both single-attached and townhouse sales this year are well ahead of 2016 with percentage increases of 10% and 23% respectively. Residential-detached sales are down 2% for the first 10 months.

One offsetting factor to mitigate a higher percentage decline in residential-detached sales in 2017 compared to last year, as a result of tougher mortgage qualification requirements, is a stronger move-up market.

Two examples back this point up. In October the southwest MLS® zone which had an average residential-detached sale price of over $400,000 saw sales increase this October while all the other more affordably priced MLS® zones ,including the rural MLS® areas outside Winnipeg, were either seeing fewer sales or flat in residential-detached sales activity.

Another example of stronger move- up activity this year is the significant difference in million dollar plus sales compared to the previous three years. For the first ten months there have been 45 sales in total, 40 residential-detached sales and 5 condominium sales. This compares to a total of 27 in 2016 and 20 in both 2015 and 2014.

“Our market may experience move-up sales activity than normal until the end of 2017 given that The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) just approved a new stress test on federally regulated mortgage lenders with respect to insured mortgages commencing January 1, 2018,” Sonnichsen said. “Similar to last year’s higher qualification requirement on insured mortgages which has heavily impacted first-time buyers, this new guideline will affect move-up buyers more and will limit their ability to qualify for higher- priced homes. They must meet the minimum qualifying rate for an uninsured mortgage which is the higher of either the five-year Bank of Canada rate or one that is 2 percentage points higher than their contractual mortgage rate.”

Helping some Manitobans feel confident about advancing their buying decision now before this new stress test kicks in is the recent good news of job gains for Manitoba. Statistics Canada reported the Manitoba economy added 4,000 new jobs in October and as a result had its unemployment rate drop to 5.2 per cent, second only to British Columbia at 4.9 per cent.

Further, October 2017 MLS® sales activity reported prevalent condominium sales in the under $200,000 price range. These sales represented 44% of total condo sales. In comparison sales under $200,000 for the residential-detached property type were 16%.

“Whatever price range you are looking to buy in, you need to be calling a REALTOR®- a market expert who will help you navigate the ever changing real estate environment and real estate financing” said Marina R. James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.

Jim Born
WinnipegREALTORS® HAS HIGHEST THIRD QUARTER SALES ON RECORD

WINNIPEG - September sales of close to 1,200 processed through WinnipegREALTORS® MLS® System closed off the third quarter with a record total of 3,916 sales, just ahead of the previous best third quarter in 2016.

September sales of 1,193 were down less than 2% from September 2016, the highest level of sales for the month of September in WinnipegREALTORS® 114-year history. The impressive third quarter sales activity moves total MLS® sales to just 11 sales shy of 11,000, the new benchmark sales level established in 2016 for the first three quarters.

“Our sales activity this year has kept pace with record-setting sales in 2016” said Blair Sonnichsen. “Our more affordably-priced housing options in our local real estate market have been instrumental in enabling buyers to successfully conclude a purchase this year.”

One of those options includes purchasing a property outside Winnipeg as the outlying rural municipalities have experienced growth in total market share over the past few years. In September alone rural residential-detached sales represented 28% of total sales.

This year-to-date breakdown chart of all residential-detached sales in Winnipeg and the rural municipalities shows the latter represents 26% of total sales. Steinbach is the most active MLS® area of all MLS® areas WinnipegREALTORS® tracks every year with 365 sales in the first nine months. 

“Our capital region has been growing at a more rapid pace than the City of Winnipeg and that is being reflected in our residential-detached sales,” Sonnichsen said.

When it comes to condominium sales Winnipeg is far more dominant compared to outside the city and Osborne Village remains the premier MLS® area with 132 sales. Of note this year is the emergence of the downtown in second place with 92 sales -14 of them occurred in September.

Backing up WinnipegREALTORS® contention that real estate is more affordable than in most other major markets across the country was the recent release of RBC’s Housing Affordability Measures 2017 second quarter report. In stating housing markets such as ones in the Toronto area are eroding Canada’s affordability to its worst level since 1990, it shines a light on Winnipeg saying its “neutral affordability conditions continue to support brisk housing activity. Home resales in the area are on pace to equal, if not surpass, last year’s record high”. It goes on to say Winnipeg’s housing affordability is “very close to its long-run average”.

“REALTORS® are well informed market experts who can show you all the affordable housing options which exist in Winnipeg and the capital region,” said Marina R. James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.

Going into the fourth quarter listing supply remains balanced overall however there are differences within WinnipegREALTORS® market region and between the various property types.

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in September was from $250,000 to $299,999, 22% of total sales. 55% of all residential-detached sales in September were priced under $300,000. The highest priced residential-detached property sold was $1,451,000 while the lowest was $22,000.

Condominium sales activity was most active in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range at 27% of total sales. 77% of all condominiums in September sold for under $300,000. The highest condo sales price was $560,000. The lowest-priced one was $49,500.

Jim Born
UPPER END MARKET A HIGH POINT IN AUGUST

WINNIPEG - What stood out in August was the performance of the higher end of the market where residential-detached sales above $500,000 were up 32% over August 2016 and 7 sales eclipsed 1 million dollars in value. There were some other high end commercial sales with a motor inn and apartment complex each selling for over $1 million.

MLS® unit sales of 1,288 were down 5% from August 2016 - the best August on record. However sales in August were up nearly 6% over the 10-year average for the month of August. As a result of the upper end market performing so well and residential-detached sales under $300,000 down 35% from August 2016 MLS® dollar volume increased 4% to $378 million.

Year-to-date MLS® unit sales activity is marginally ahead of 2016 with a total of 9,796 sales. Dollar volume on the other hand has risen 5% over 2016 to $2.86 billion.

At the end of August inventory of 2,469 residential-detached properties is down 11% while condominium supply of 855 units is up 5% in comparison to the same time last year.

“August demonstrated demand and confidence in our local market remains strong by virtue of the strength of the upper end market,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “It also showed the higher stress test requirement on insured mortgages is preventing a number of buyers from achieving their dream of homeownership and in some instances keeping existing owners from making their next step to another home.”

He added,” With this week’s Bank of Canada interest rate increase to 1% and the federal government considering placing a new stress test on uninsured mortgages, it will make purchasing a home even more difficult for buyers.”

Simply put, the new stress test on uninsured mortgages will require low-risk borrowers to be approved at two percent above the rate offered to them by their lender.

WinnipegREALTORS® supports the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) position which is calling on the federal government to refrain from introducing any new additional measures to cool housing markets such as Winnipeg’s. When you include the most recent bank rate increase there have been nine changes to tighten mortgage finance in Canada since 2008.

As CREA states in its submission to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), “We do not believe it is prudent to extend the stress test to uninsured mortgages until the market has had time to absorb and analyze the impact of the compounding effect of interest rate increases and the previously announced tightening measures.”

While 2017 has been tougher on first-time buyers in particular purchasing a residential-detached property, other property types have experienced gains this year due in part to them making alternative choices. Sales of condominiums, duplexes, resort properties and single-attached have all had single-digit percentage increases over the same period in 2016. Town house sales have risen the highest percentage at 11%. It should also be noted commercial property sales are up 9%.

“You need to be talking to your REALTOR® about the options available to you in our local real estate market, “said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®. “REALTORS® know the market and what alternative property types may be possible if your first choice is not attainable.”

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in August was from $250,000 to $299,999, 20% of total sales. Another 30% of sales were evenly split percentage-wise between the $200,000 to $249,999 and $300,000 to $349,999 price ranges. The highest priced residential-detached property sold was $1,700,000.

Condominium sales showed very similar percentage market share in the three price ranges from $150,000 to $299,999 with the lowest price range of $150,000 to $199,999 slightly ahead with 24% of total sales. The highest condo sales price was $439,900.

 

 
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Jim Born
SPRY JULY KEEPS MARKET MOMENTUM INTACT

WINNIPEG - July sales results show a continuation of a second quarter of brisk market activity. Condominium sales really stood out in July with a 32% increase over July 2016.

Total July Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) unit sales of 1,438 went up 6% over July 2016 level and the 10-year July sales average. It is the second best July on record with only July 2014 eclipsing it by 3%.  This July’s dollar volume of $416 million is the first time the month of July reached and surpassed $400 million in sales transactions.

“Initial concern this year of tougher mortgage requirements affecting sales activity is being overcome by strong demand for all  property types,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®.  “I cannot emphasize enough that in our local market we have different affordable options to choose from. Buyers are taking advantage of them through our REALTORS® keeping them informed and current on all the properties available on our MLS®.” 

Year-to-date MLS®  sales of 8,508 is now slightly ahead of last year’s record-breaking pace while dollar volume at nearly $2.5 billion is up 5% over the same period in 2016.

With a new release of 2016 Statistics Canada Census data this month which provides more breakdowns on families and household make-up, the city of Winnipeg and its entire CMA (includes surrounding municipalities) have grown faster in population over the past 5 years than the national average. Moreover, the number of private dwellings occupied in the city of Winnipeg and surrounding rural municipalities has ratcheted up to accommodate increased population demand for housing.

“These increases in combination with low unemployment numbers and low mortgage rates are creating favourable conditions for sustained housing market activity,” said Sonnichsen. “Proof of how well we are performing this year is our higher conversion of sales to listings in comparison to 2016 when there were 420 more MLS® listings entered by the end of July.”

The drop in listings this year is almost entirely attributed to residential-detached listings whereas other property types such as condominiums have seen their listings in line or greater than 2016.

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in July was from $250,000 to $299,999, 23% of total sales. Broken down further, both the $250,000 to $274,999 and the $275,000 to $299,999 price ranges represented 10.95% and 12.20% of market activity. The closest to these ranges in representing higher sales volume were the $225,000 to $249,999 and $300,000 to $324,999 at 8.55% and 8.26% respectively.

In what is one of the best month performances ever for condominiums at 207 sales, the most active price range was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 27% of total sales. The next busiest price range was from $250,000 to $299,999 at 18% of total sales.

“Our REALTOR®  and mortgage professional members are succeeding in helping buyers navigate through a more difficult mortgage qualification environment in 2017, “ said Marina R. James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®. “You should be working with them to understand and determine what your best course of action is with respect to purchasing a home in our local market.”

 
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Jim Born
JUNE USHERS IN ANOTHER STAND OUT MONTH OF SALES ACTIVITY


WINNIPEG - An exceptional month of June sales activity puts WinnipegREALTORS® commensurate to last year’s record-setting pace for the first half of the year. 2017 marks only the second time that sales have surpassed 7,000 by the end of June; 2016 being the first instance. For the first time, dollar volume has gone over $2 billion at the half-way mark of the year.

June sales of 1,636 were two sales behind last year’s highest activity on record for the month, while dollar volume of $488 million increased 3% over the same month last year. Year-to-date sales of 7,070 were 14 sales off from last year. Second quarter sales activity was 7 sales down from 2016, the busiest second quarter in WinnipegREALTORS® history. 

The number of listings entered on MLS® for the first six months is 13,100, 4% off 2016. Active listings or the current inventory going into July is sitting at just over 4,900, 9% down from the same period in 2016.

Despite June sales being strong, the two leading property types of residential-detached and condominiums experienced decreases in comparison to June 2016. Residential-detached sales declined by 1%, while condos fell 7%. Compensating for these reductions were single-attached and townhouse property types as both experienced double-digit sales increases, with townhouses rising 57%.

“June is a good reminder of Winnipeg’s affordable housing in comparison to many other more expensive housing markets across the country,” said Blair Sonnichsen, President of WinnipegREALTORS®.  “In our local market which has tightened up more due to brisk sales over the past two months, buyers are finding alternative property types or less expensive neighbourhoods in or outside the city.”

While the overall WinnipegREALTORS® MLS® market can be characterized as balanced with active listings well above the 10-year average, there are still neighbourhoods which would benefit from an influx of new residential-detached listings including Fort Garry, Linden Woods, Riverview, Fort Rouge, Fort Richmond, Waverley Heights, Richmond West, Whyte Ridge, St. Vital, Windsor Park, East Kildonan, North Kildonan, Transcona, Garden City, Wolseley, Sargent Park, Woodhaven, and Crestview.

Supply of residential-detached listings is stronger in rural municipalities outside the city. Condominiums throughout the Greater Winnipeg market area are not seeing demand outstrip supply. Other property types such as vacant land and resort properties are also well stocked in relation to those selling every month.

“Not all local markets are the same applies within a local market too,” said Sonnichsen. “There can be considerable differences within a local market depending on the property type, location and availability of listings to buy. REALTORS® really show their expertise and knowledge when they point out to a buyer what options they have. Broadening their search can be a real eye opener.”

This year, nearly one out of four residential-detached listings sold for above list price while 13% of condominium listings went for above list price.

Looking at average residential-detached prices for the first six months, in comparison to the same period last year, for the six MLS® area zones, shows some overall price appreciation with the southwest eclipsing $400,000 this year. There have been notable increases in a few southwest neighbourhoods, with Tuxedo going from $711,000 in 2016 to $855,000 this year and Westdale reaching $400,000, a $69,000 increase from 2016.

The north zone was the only area to see a modest decline in average sales price compared to last year.

The rural MLS® zone had identical sales to last year at 1,330 and represents the largest share of residential–detached sales at nearly 26%. Southwest is second highest with 970 sales, which equates to 19%.

The percentage of total sales price to dollar value achieved for all listings sold in the first half of 2017 is under 99%, which is up half a percentage point from last year. This metric indicates on average homes are selling for 99% of their list price, marking it close to equilibrium.

While total residential-detached sales for the first six months are down modestly from last year, the main distinguishing difference from 2016 is the increase in sales over $300,000. These have increased 7% and average days to sell a home improved from 30 days to 26 days. Increased sales in the upper price ranges translate directly to a higher average residential-detached selling price of $321,421. This compares to an average selling price of $306,311 in 2016.

With respect to condominiums, both sales and average selling price are up over 2016. Sales have increased 5% while the average selling price has risen from $232,507 to $243,184. Not all condos for sale have experienced price increases as it can vary depending on the specific project, location and other factors inherent in assessing the value of a condominium.

“You really need to be talking to REALTORS® who are professional and informed,” said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®. “They make it their business to know the market and stay current on the changes such as new regulations and technology.”

Jim Born
MAY DELIVERS BEST MONTH EVER

WINNIPEG - While May is not a make or break month for the year, it has proven to be the busiest month of real estate activity for WinnipegREALTORS® and one the 114 year-old association counts on to contribute measurablyto the year–end total. 2017 did not disappoint.

May 2017 ushered in an all-time record sales and dollar volume month with MLS® sales just shy of 1,700 and dollar volume flirting with the one-half billion or $500 million mark. May sales of 1,696 were up 4% while dollar volume of $499.4 million increased 8% in comparison to the same month last year. 

As a result, year-to-date sales in comparison to the same period last year, made up lost ground in April to total 5,434 sales, only 12 sales off last year’s brisk pace, while dollar volume of $1.58 billion gained a few percentage points to end up 4% ahead of 2016 at this time. 

“A stellar month for WinnipegREALTORS® which we know is attainable based on strong market fundamentals and a healthy choice of listings to choose from, “ said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®.  “The difference this year, as a result of tougher qualifying criteria for insured mortgages, is fewer residential-detached sales under $300,000. Offsetting them to some extent are gains in lower priced condominium sales."

Sonnichsen added, “Another factor this year, which cannot be ignored, is City of Winnipeg impact fees on residential development in new emerging areas.”  “There are more existing residential-detached home sales happening in price ranges above $300,000. May recorded an upsurge in sales from $300,000 to $499,999 of 21%.” 

After 5 months, condominium sales are leading the way for all property types with an increase of nearly 9% over the same period in 2016. May’s condo transactions of 214 helped make this possible with a 13% jump in activity over May 2016. Year-to-date residential-detached sales on the other hand are down 1%.

Besides condos, May was an excellent month for single-attached and town house sales with increases of 25% and 18% respectively.

“Not only does Winnipeg have one of the most affordable housing markets in the country but it also offers many alternatives to more expensive single family homes,” said Sonnichsen.   

Current inventory going into June shows 2,406 residential-detached or single family home listings and 883 condominium listings. This translates to less than 2 months of residential-detached listing supply and 4 months for condos if no new listings were to come on the market. 

Notable MLS® areas with scarce to limited residential-detached listings include Riverview, Fort Rouge, Crescentwood, River Heights, Linden Woods, Charleswood, Whyte Ridge and Richmond West – all neighbourhoods in the southwest quadrant of Winnipeg.  In the southeast quadrant, St. Boniface, St. Vital, River Park South and Windsor Park in particular would welcome a new influx of listings to meet spring market demand.  

Based on high turnover of inventory in May, other neighbourhoods in short supply include North and East Kildonan, Transcona, Mandalay West, the West End, Wolseley, St. James, Westwood and Crestview. 

I cannot stress enough the importance of working with your local REALTOR® - a market expert – to understand what exactly is happening within the local market you are interested in,” said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.

Beyond the success of over 1,750 REALTORS® working together to help buyers and sellers achieve more sales than ever before in one month, it is important to understand the economic impact of all these completed transactions.

In 2017, the Canadian Real Estate Association estimates each home sale will generate an estimated $53,300 in spin-off spending and create one job for every three transactions. MLS® home sales and purchases in 2017 will add an estimated $27.6 billion in spin-off consumer spending to the economy and create almost 192,000 jobs.

“May was without doubt a win for buyers, sellers and the local economy,” said Sonnichsen

Jim Born
APRIL MLS® SALES FALL OFF FIRST QUARTER PACE

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®.

 
 
Jim Born
MARCH MLS® SALES UP 5%

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 Aprilis down9% 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%.

All markets are local and vary within a specific market region. To understand what is happening with your property type, price range and area of city or outside Winnipeg, call a REALTOR® to provide you with their expert advice and knowledge.

Jim Born
FEBRUARY MLS® SALES DOWN 6%

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.

Jim Born
OFF TO A HEAD START FOR CONDO SALES IN 2017

January MLS® Sales Drop 2%

WINNIPEG- Condominium sales showed a marked jump in activity compared to January 2016 with a 36% increase. They are also up 17% over the 10-year average for January condominium sales. Overall, MLS® sales were slightly off last January’s total – ten sales to be exact. And similarly since residential-detached on WinnipegREALTORS®’ MLS® is by far the most dominant property type, there were sales of 400 compared to 409 in January 2016.

New MLS® listings coming on the market in January were down slightly too with residential-detached much the same and condominiums seeing a 5% increase over January 2016. It can be said a pattern is emerging where new condominium listings have steadily increased in January since 2012 and part of the explanation for this development is having more new condominium projects available on MLS®.

As a result these newly built condos are increasing their market share in terms of monthly sales. This January 29% of condos sold were new units where in January 2016 their percentage market share was 17%. Even with stronger condo sales in January the over 600 listings going into February are still elevated when you compare them to previous years. The only exception is last year where January condo listings were up 4% over this January.

It should also be noted the impressive showing of condo sales in January was borne out in the fact close to 20% sold for above list price in comparison to only 4% in January 2016.

“While one month does not make a year, it can give you pause to reflect on what may be around the corner,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. 

He added, “One thing to monitor will be whether the more stringent qualifying mortgage rules and even the City of Winnipeg impact fees coming in to effect on May 1, 2017, will affect the condominium sales activity.”

In summary, January MLS® unit sales of 561 were down less than 2% from the same month last year while dollar volume of $153 million was up nearly 3% compared to January 2016. The 1,502 new listings entered on the MLS® market in January decreased 1% and it left a little over 3,000 listings available for sale going into February. This active listing inventory is down 9% from 2015 and 2016 levels of just over 3,400.

Based on fewer MLS® sales in the first quarter of the year, the projected time of absorbing all of the existing inventory if there were no new listings coming on the market is five and one-half months.  This compares favourably to last year at this time as it would have taken six months.

“One of the positive take-aways from January is the pick-up in condominium sales since the inventory remains elevated compared to its long term average.” said Peter Squire, market analyst of WinnipegREALTORS®. “It has also come to our attention that new condominium construction supply is coming down so builders are making adjustments to account for overbuilding in the condo market.”

The most active price range in MLS® residential-detached sales in January was the $250,000 to $299,999 price range at 21% of total sales. Tied for second busiest at 15% were the two lower price ranges of $200,000 to $249,999 and $150,000 to $199,999. The average days on market to sell a residential-detached home was 45 days, one day slower than January 2016.

The most active price range in MLS® condominium sales was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 29%. The next most active price range was from $100,000 to $149,999 at 15%. The average days on market to sell a condo was 48 days, 14 days or 2 weeks quicker than January, 2016.

Jim Born
A NEW ANNUAL MLS® SALES RECORD SET IN 2016

Over 13,600 MLS® Sales Worth $3.78 Billion in Dollar Value

WINNIPEG -   2016 was a banner year for WinnipegREALTORS®. Both MLS® sales and MLS® dollar volume established new all-time highs in the Association’s 113-year history.

In the case of sales, the 13,632 sales transacted in 2016 rose 5% over 2015 and 4% over the previous record of 13,079 sales in 2007. Dollar volume of $3.78 billion exceeded last year’s record high of $3.50 billion by nearly 8%.

Annual records for dollar volume have been achieved for 16 consecutive years. This shows the average MLS® selling price has always managed to climb high enough each year to offset any years where sales were unable to match or eclipse the previous year’s total.

Speaking of average selling prices, the 2016 residential-detached average selling price finished up 3% in comparison to 2015. The $302,727 recorded in 2016 is the first time the residential –detached or single family home average selling price has reached and edged over the $300,000 benchmark level. It should also be noted 2016 was also the first time residential-detached properties represent $3 billion in real estate transactions. 

In respect to residential-detached sales activity throughout the various MLS® zones of Winnipeg and the outlying rural area, the rural zone gained nearly a percentage point of market share over 2015 to represent nearly 26% of total sales. Second most active was the southwest area of Winnipeg at 19%.  

As for condominiums, the average selling price of $235,508 is down ever so slightly from the 2015 average selling price of $236,204. Without a doubt, the abundance of choice in condominiums- resale and new – has kept condominium prices in check. The average selling price has remained within the $230,000 to $240,000 price range since 2013.

Not surprisingly, to set a new annual MLS® sales record 2016 residential-detached and condominium sales were impressive with the former reaching a new high of 9,947 and condos ending up at 1,745, second only to 2014’s 1,798 record total. Percentage increases over 2015 were 4 and 8% respectively.

“Strong fundamentals such as low unemployment and better than expected population growth in our market region manifested itself in brisk MLS® sales activity throughout the year,” said outgoing president Stewart Elston. “Helping us along to a record year was the more than adequate supply of affordable MLS® property type listings to choose from. Our biggest property type percentage increases in 2016 actually occurred in ones other than residential-detached and condominiums.”

Townhouse sales catapulted 34%, resort properties jumped 24%, vacant land 17% and mobile homes resulted in another double-digit increase of 12%.

Going into 2017, one important development is the new federal government-imposed changes to mortgage qualifying rules. These rules came into effect in the fourth quarter of 2016 so it is too early to tell how impactful they may be. Suffice to say, they are a real legitimate concern, and this is especially the case with first-time buyers. First-time buyers make up a key segment of the real estate market and their effect on the market and economy go well beyond their own.

Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist says, “First-time buyers support a cascade of other homes changing hands, making them the linchpin of the housing market.”

Another one to watch out for is the City of Winnipeg’s impact fee on new homes built in select suburban areas of the city. These new fees come in to effect on May 1st, 2017 and are roughly $5,100 per 1,000 square feet.  If building permit applications are submitted prior to May 1st, applicants will not have to pay the impact fee as long as the permit is issued within six months and construction begins prior to November 1st, 2017.

 More detail on what to expect in 2017 and analysis of the record-breaking MLS® year of 2016, will be presented at WinnipegREALTORS® annual breakfast forecast on January 18th, 2016.

 December MLS® Highlights

December MLS® unit sales totaled 617, a decrease of 4% compared to December 2015 and an 11% increase over the 10-year sales average for the month. Despite sales being down compared to last year, dollar volume in December totaling $167.9 million was up 5% over December 2015.

New MLS® listings coming on the market were down 8% in December, while the active inventory at the end of the year fell under 3,000 listings, an 11% decrease in comparison to 2015.

While December was anticlimactic given that a new all-time annual MLS® sales record was set early in the month, it was disappointing how poorly, in general, some property types performed when compared to December 2015. It was not symptomatic of what was happening consistently throughout 2016. Residential-detached was an exception as it eked out a small gain over last year.

“As I indicated at the end of November after our first month of MLS® market activity under the new mortgage rules, the tougher finance qualifications may be more of a game-changer than we initially expected, ” said Elston. “It is clearly on our radar and I know we will be monitoring it closely in 2017.”

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in December was the $250,000-$299,999 price range at 20% of total sales. 60% of total sales fell under $300,000.

The average days on market for residential-detached sales was 42 days, the same time on market as December 2015.

The most active price range for condominium sales in December was the $150,000-$199,999 at 33% of total sales. The second most active was the next higher price range of $200,000- $249,999 at 18% and not far behind was the $250,000-$299,999 range at 15%.

The average days on market for condo sales was 52 days, 19 days faster than December 2015.

Jim Born
ON THE CUSP OF A NEW MLS® ANNUAL SALES RECORD

November Delivers Solid Results with 877 Sales

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.

Jim Born