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Trends and opportunities emerging for downtown housing
Oct 27, 2006

by Stefano Grande

Winnipeg is at the beginning of a housing boom, following downtown housing revival trends seen across North America. 

The message  communicated to REALTORS® during the Winnipeg Real Estate Board’s recent technology conference and trade show was that our downtown is the pulse of our city; it is in the best interest of everyone to be aware of the trends and opportunities shaping our city centre pertaining to housing.  

The REALTORS® were told that working together and promoting our city and its downtown is critical to sustaining and expanding the emerging inner-city housing market.

With the major condo developments along Waterfront Drive — where at least one building is completely sold out — as well as several other condo conversions and new housing in the Exchange District and other areas of the city centre, downtown living is a hot trend. More and more baby boomers and young professionals are being turned on to downtown because of all it has to offer.  

From the performing arts, history and cultural scene to the nightlife and restaurants, people are looking towards downtown as a unique urban experience.

There is no doubt that by working together, the MLS® 9A market can reach levels never seen before.

It’s up to REALTORS® and organizations like the Downtown BIZ to help potential condo-buyers see downtown as an option. It doesn’t mean they will necessarily buy downtown, but the area should be on their must-see list. 

This summer, the Downtown BIZ partnered with the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, with support from CentreVenture and many of our BIZ members, to host three Downtown Living Tours. 

The first was attended by about 30 REALTORS® who were introduced to the neighbourhood from the perspective of someone who is considering living downtown. 

The BIZ then escorted over 80 potential condo buyers on two other sold-out Downtown Living Tours to show them a taste for the amazing condo possibilities and the amenities of the neighbourhood. 

Subsequently there was a tour with over 30 young professionals, who were potentially looking for their first home in the downtown. The exclusive bus and walking tour took participants to some of the amenities — The Bay Food Market (it’s bigger than you think), the YM-YWCA and a host of other downtown hot spots. 

The response was overwhelming. One-third said the tour “definitely” convinced them to live downtown, while the remaining two-thirds said they would possibly move downtown. 

Six per cent said they will consider buying a downtown condo in the next six months, 33 per cent said they plan to buy a downtown condo in the next two years and over half said they 

will consider it at some point in their lives. 

Virtually all attendees said they felt more positive about downtown after going on the tour. Almost two-thirds said they would recommend living downtown to their friends and family.

The Downtown BIZ and the WREB are hoping to create an even better event for next year.  In the interim, interested downtown home buyers and REALTORS® can receive a personalized tour to help seal the deal!

For more information about downtown living, visit the BIZ’s website at www.downtownwinnipegbiz.com or call 958-4640. 

(Stefano Grande is the executive director of the Downtown BIZ.)