Whether it was some rather harsh winter weather conditions or just a softening in the local marketplace, there was a real parallel in the drop off of new listings and sales at 12 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, in February when compared to the same month last year. The conversion of new or current listings to sales remained the same this February as in the past two years.
So one way of interpreting what happened this year to precipitate less sales activity is that there were less property owners willing to put their property on the market. At the same time, buyers — at least for single-family homes — did not reach into the older existing inventory to any great extent to purchase what was on the market.
One area where home sales were down significantly were in the price ranges under $200,000. The inventory was well off what existed last year at the beginning of February. They also experienced a drop in the percentage of listings being converted to sales and, consequently, saw overall market share in February represent just two out of every three sales. It is usually closer to three out of four in a good month.
Condominium sales activity was much closer to last year, as inventory was actually higher than what existed in February 2012 and conversions were similar to last year.
A sign of less demand this February was the percentage of sales that went for over list price. For single-family homes or residential-detached properties, 35 per cent of total sales went for greater than list price. In February 2012, close to 44 per cent achieved higher than list price. The same occurred in condominium sales activity as there was a drop in sales above list price from 31 per cent to 24 per cent.
As a result of less MLS® sales activity in February, MLS® inventory for all property types loosened up to nearly 3 1/2 months compared to three months last year.
February MLS® unit sales were down 11 per cent (698/781), while dollar volume decreased six per cent ($178.7 million/$191 million) in comparison to the same month last year. Year-to-date MLS® unit sales are down two per cent (1,312/1,345), while dollar volume is up less than one per cent ($325.7 million/$$324.3 million) in comparison to the same period last year.
“We are still converting the same percentage of MLS® listings we did in our last two near record sales years, so there is no reason to get overly concerned with what happened this February,” said Richard Dettman, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “As we see in a number of Winnipeg MLS® areas, there is a real scarcity of active listings so, not surprisingly, you cannot convert what you do not have.
“Something we need to watch more closely is the underperformance of the residential-detached property type which remains the predominant type in our MLS® system.
“March MLS® market results will be more revealing, as it is a busier month for real estate activity and helps set the stage for the spring market,” added Dettman. “With spring around the corner and aggressive lending mortgage rates being offered up, it may indeed kickstart better performance in the residential-detached property type category, which is the most price sensitive due to its higher prices in comparison to other residential property types.”
The most active residential-detached price range in February was the $250,000 to $299,999 at 22 per cent of total sales activity. The second most active price range was from $200,000 to $249,999 at 17 per cent. The highest residential-detached sale price was $1.075 million and the lowest was only $20,000.
For condominiums, it was a tie with the $200,000 to $249,999 and $150,000 to $199,999 price ranges both having 24 sales and 25 each, respectively, of total market share.
The average days on market for residential-detached sales was 27, two weeks faster than last month and one day ahead of the pace set in February 2012. The average days on market for condominium sales was 46, five days slower than last month and 15 days off the turnover in February 2012.
Note: A change in how condominium units are being sold and accounted for in new projects is overstating how long they have actually been on the market.
Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing over 1,700 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®.