The Winnipeg housing market has shown consistent home sales over the last few months, according to statistics released by WinnipegREALTORS®.
The only troubling statistic is the apparent difficulty first-time buyers are having in finding affordable housing, added WinnipegREALTORS® president Claude Davis.
Davis said the average price of a residential-detached home has remained firm since April, hovering around the $250,000 mark.
Davis said activity within different price ranges was consistent in May and June, with each month having $1-million-plus home sales and more upper-end sales.
WinnipegREALTORS® reported 2010 marked the first time of three consecutive months — April to June — of over $300 million in MLS® sales activity.
The one troubling statistic, according to Davis, is the drop in sales to first-time home buyers.
“Most revealing, when examining the numbers in June, is how there are fewer first-time buyers entering the market in comparison to last year, as homes selling under $200,000 were down 32 per cent from June 2009.
“When we asked our REALTOR® members this spring about the affordability of the current market,” added Davis, “75 per cent of them said housing affordability is becoming more of an issue in finding homes that buyers want.
“Based on the significant drop off in sales in the lower prices, first-time buyers have to be one of the key segments our members are concerned about.”
Davis said the few first-time buyers making a purchase end up paying more than $200,000 for a house or condominium.
Typically, first-time buyers have entered the market by purchasing homes in the lower prices, but their choice of MLS® area with affordable housing is now severely limited. Only the heart of the North End and the downtown have homes for sale under $100,000, and only Fort Rouge and Old St. Vital have homes valued under $200,000.
Condominium sales were predominantly in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range in June with 44 per cent of total condo sales. The price range from $100,000 to $149,999 had 20 per cent of total sales.
The average price for condos in the majority of city and neighbouring MLS® areas was under $200,000.
On the higher end of the price spectrum, Tuxedo for the first time has a year-to-date average sales price of over $600,000, while South Headingley is not far behind at $560,000.
For the first six months of the year, homes selling for above list price and below list price were virtually at an even split of 45 per cent with the remaining percentage selling at list price. For condos, units selling under list price were closer to 50 per cent, while sales over list price were at 30 per cent.
Available MLS® listings steadily increased from January to June, and recently surpassed the 10,000 level, a four per cent increase over the same period last year.
Davis said the increase in MLS® listings will help create more balance in the housing market.