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Two cities with similar real estate stats
Jul 28, 2006

Like Winnipeg, Montreal had back-to-back record months in May and June. There were over 4,000 transactions recorded on the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board MLS® system in June with a total sales dollar volume of over $900 million. 

And like our city, there was a double-digit dollar volume increase, while sales were up more modestly. Active listings in both cities indicate a balanced market — good news for sellers and buyers. For the first half of 2006, MLS® sales increases were very similar for both MLS® markets at around three per cent. One obvious difference is the average price of a home in Montreal: at $330,000, it is over twice the average price of a home in Winnipeg. 

What is instructive are the reasons the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board cite for the success they are enjoying, which could be almost substituted word for word to substantiate Winnipeg’s unparalleled MLS® market strength. The following is what they have to say about their housing market.

Significant economic 

and demographic factors

A house represents an important investment for a family; not only as a place to live but also because it reflects one’s needs and aspirations. You buy a house initially to improve your quality of life and, in due course, to build a positive financial asset.

Interest rates: They are currently very low, which means easier access to a property. The good news for borrowers is that there are no indications of a major interest rate increase in the short or intermediate term. 

Consumer confidence: The economy has grown by 18 per cent since 1998. The higher the level of confidence is the more consumers invest and buy properties. This has a positive influence on the real estate market. 

Job creation: Since the end of the 1990s, 436,000 jobs have been created, which means that Quebec has known a period of prosperity for six years. When you are employed, you have the means of buying a house. 

Rental unit vacancy rate: It is very low (was only one per cent in the Greater Montreal area in 2004), which means that few families who would like to move can find a vacant apartment that meets their needs. The option left to consider is to buy a house, a plex or a condominium. It is definitely advantageous to trade up from being a renter to a homeowner thanks to low interest rates and incentive programs such as the Home Buyers’ Plan. 

The “generation shuffle:” Baby boomers are reaching retirement age and are at a stage when they sell the family residence in order to buy a property that better meets their needs. They either buy a condominium or a cottage or both! At the same time, the 25- to 35-year-old generation is entering the real estate market and is actively looking for a property in order to settle down. The effect is an increasing number of transactions and a growing number of families interrested in the real estate market. 

The only thing not apparent in the reasons cited above that may not be similar to Montreal is Winnipeg’s acute new lot shortage; especially in southwest Winnipeg.  For the sake of a more affordable and healthy local housing market, hopefully Waverley West’s Area Structure Plan will be approved this week at a city council meeting. Should approval be given, much needed new lots can come on stream by the last quarter of 2007. 

Going beyond market conditions, another prime factor exists in both cities. 

The REALTOR®: 

a partner of choice

Selling or buying a house is a very complex process. Besides considering commercial, financial and legal aspects, you must also put your skills in negotiation and sales to work.

Why not make your life easier by handing this task over to an expert? A REALTOR®, who is a member of the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board or the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, will help you throughout the process.

A skilled negotiator, a REALTOR® has at their disposal several tools and solid references: from building inspectors and lawyers to financial institutions or mortgage brokers, they serve as a single access point. 

In both provinces, REALTORS® are regulated by a real estate brokers or brokerage act.

To sell: The REALTOR® performs a complete analysis of the housing market in your neighbourhood and determines the true price. Using the Multiple Listing Service®/MLS® (in Quebec, S.I.A.®), he or she provides to your property was an exceptional visibility to 1,200 REALTORS® in Winnipeg and 7,500 REALTORS® in Montreal. They are both part of an 83,000 REALTOR® network that spans the entire country. 

Acting as a guide and consultant, the REALTOR® manages the visits by clients and any necessary follow-ups. They also analyze the offers (offers to purchase), prepare the counter-offers and compile all the legal paperwork.

To buy: Your REALTOR® informs you about properties that meet your needs and budget thanks to their privileged and exclusive access to the Multiple Listing Service®/MLS®. He or she accompanies you during visits to objectively analyze the different characteristics of the property. 

Your REALTOR® is there to represent you when it comes time to negotiate — a time when the help of an accomplished professional is very much appreciated.

Whether in Montreal or Winnipeg, using a REALTOR® is the only way for you to maximize your results when buying or selling real estate. REALTORS® offer great value through MLS®.