Luxury home sales in Winnipeg have seen a significant upswing in recent years, according to a report by RE/MAX Canada.
The most expensive MLS® sale this year was a $1.7-million home in Lindenwoods which was originally listed at $1.9 million, the same listing price for a home that is now for sale on Wellington Crescent in Tuxedo.
There are actually four homes currently listed on MLS® in Winnipeg that are $1 million and over.
There have been 17 homes sold in Winnipeg worth over $500,000 so far this year through MLS®, a 70 per cent increase over the same period last year and the fifth highest percentage increase in Canada.
The RE/MAX Upper-End Report said that MLS® sales in Winnipeg are being driven by “historically low interest rates and solid consumer confidence.”
The most desirable areas for luxury homes are Lindenwoods, Tuxedo and the Wellington Crescent neighbourhoods.
“Many are taking advantage of current market conditions that allow purchasers to move to larger homes or better neighbourhoods, yet keep mortgage payments in check,” according to the report.
“Multiple offers continue to be a factor, and vendors continue to test the market, with some getting more than they thought possible.”
The report indicated that quality listings are often sold within two weeks.
The WREB has also reported strong sales in the $200,000 to $224,999 price range. As of the end of August, 307 homes have sold in this price range this year, compared to 218 in 2003.
There were another 174 homes sold in the $250,000 to $299,999 price range, which is up from the 97 sold last year.
A total of 8,193 homes have been sold through the WREB’s MLS® this year, which is up from the 7,604 sold in 2003 during the same period.
The increased sales in higher price ranges has contributed to record-setting dollar volume sales of $1 billion by September 14. This is the quickest this level has been reached in the 101-year history of the board.
“The high volume of MLS® sales has been driven by a number of people bidding against each other on listings,” said WREB president Cliff King. “This is the single most significant factor in pushing MLS® dollar volume sales upward.”
The Upper-End Report said the luxury home market across Canada has shown remarkable resilience in recent years.
Sales of upper-end homes have experienced percentage increases of at least 40 per cent in the vast majority of major centres surveyed year-to-date from January to August. Prices have also followed suit, with properties in many of the country´s most coveted neighbourhoods experiencing appreciation that is several times the area average.
“Substantial equity gains, combined with today’s historically low interest rates, have prompted many purchasers to trade up to more upscale homes or prestigious neighbourhoods,” says Elton Ash, vice-president and regional director, RE/MAX of Western Canada.
“Given slow stock market recovery and poor returns on Guaranteed Investment Certificates, Canadians are clearly turning to upper-end real estate as an investment in lifestyle and in the future.”
Baby boomers continue to drive the upper-end market, with the vast majority of purchasers comprised of established professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities and professional athletes.
Leading the country in terms of percentage appreciation is White Rock/South Surrey with a substantial 151 per cent increase in home sales over $800,000 from January to August, compared to the same period one year ago.
In second place is Victoria, with sales activity in the $700,000-plus price range doubling (108 per cent) from 2003 levels.
Ranking third is West Vancouver with a 96.5 per cent increase in sales from January to July over $1 million.
The most expensive homes listed and sold this year in Canada both belong to Vancouver, with the highest sale at $17.5 million and the highest listing now available for $16 million in Vancouver Westside. Vancouver Westside recorded a 60 per cent increase in sales over $1 million from January to July.
Regina reported that upper-end sales of $250,000-and-up have increased 72 per cent year-to-date.
Ottawa ranks sixth for home sales over $500,000, up 62.5 per cent year-to-date.
“It truly defies all logic,” said Michael Polzler, executive vice-president, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Housing markets across the country have faced numerous obstacles in recent years — ranging from economic uncertainty, terrorism, and war, to major health threats — yet they continue to exceed all our expectations.
“The exceptional demand for upper-end homes is an indication of the strength of the overall market. It is usually the first segment to soften in the event of a slowdown, and there is absolutely no evidence of that. In fact, we continue to see record demand in the upper end, and that’s expected to continue through year end.”