As some commentators pointed out early last year, while Canada was suffering through a recession, Manitoba chose not to participate and emerged from the financial downturn relatively unscathed and not much the worse for wear.
This point has been emphasized in recent national reports, news releases and articles. For example, the Canadian Real Estate Association’s recent September national housing market release led with Winnipeg as a market posting monthly increases in seasonal-adjusted activity.
And, Canadian Press mentioned Royal lePage’s third-quarter home price survey, noting “local markets like St. John’s and Winnipeg posted home price increases above the national average, driven by a surge in their population.”
“Winnipeg recently experienced its highest inflow of international immigrants in nearly 40 years,” according to a recent Royal LePage report that cited a Statistics Canada release to emphasize the city’s strong housing market.
According to the third-quarter Royal LePage House Price Survey, Winnipeg was one of a few major markets to post house price increases above the national average, with average year-over-year increases between eight per cent and 11.7 per cent.
In an article focusing on historically low long-term mortgage rates that are keeping the national market relatively healthy for this time of year, the Financial Post agreed with CREA’s national September market release that Winnipeg, Calgary and Montréal stood out as strong performers.
The Financial Post also predicted the Bank of Canada was not about to increase the key lending rate, which would affect variable-rate borrowers. The financial newspaper and CREA were correct — a few days later the Bank of Canada announced it would not be increasing the overnight lending rate. It remains at one per cent with December being the next possible date for a change. Obviously, this is positive news for prospective home buyers worried about rates going up and making a home purchase more expensive.
CREA made reference to interest rates keeping homeownership within reach of many home buyers.
Despite some softening in the first-time home buyer market this year in Winnipeg, September MLS® sales were the best on record for the month. Not surprisingly, so was dollar volume. Average house prices for September were up nine per cent over September 2009. The month also featured the highest-priced home sold so far this year at $1.5
WinnipegREALTORS® mid-month October MLS® numbers are showing total MLS® sales up four per cent and dollar volume ahead by 12 per cent.
Earlier this year, during conferences in Calgary, Toronto and Coquitlam, B.C., WinnipegREALTORS® told real estate investors that Winnipeg properties deserve to be considered among their investments.
The Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) sees Winnipeg as a market worth bringing to the attention of its members, whose investments collectively are closing in on $3 billion.
National resale housing activity edged higher for a second consecutive month in September, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Combined with a falling supply of homes on the market, the number of months of inventory also declined for the second consecutive month.
Seasonally-adjusted national home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® systems of Canadian real estate boards was up three per cent month-over-month in September. Building on a monthly increase in sales activity in August, sales in September reached their highest level since last May. Two-thirds of local markets posted monthly increases in seasonally-adjusted activity, led by Winnipeg, Calgary, and Montreal.
Actual (not seasonally-adjusted) national sales activity in September came in 19.8 per cent below last year’s record for the month, but stands only slightly below September sales in the previous three years. Record level sales activity late last year and earlier this year is expected to further stretch year-over-year comparisons in the months ahead.
The number of new residential listings on Canadian MLS® systems was little changed from August levels, edging up seven-10ths of one per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis. New listings remain 15 per cent below the recent peak reached last April.
“Supply and demand are rebalancing, and that’s keeping prices steady in many markets,” said Georges Pahud, CREA’s president. “Local and national housing market conditions often differ, so home buyers and sellers should consult their REALTOR® to understand how sales, inventory and pricing trends are shaping up in their market.”
The national price trend continues to stabilize. At $331,089, the national average price remained on par with where it stood one year ago. September marks the second consecutive month in which average price remained even with year-ago levels.
Weighted average price trends are also moderating. The national weighted average price climbed three per cent on a year-over-year basis in September 2010, marking the sixth month of diminishing gains. Similarly, the residential average price in Canada’s major markets rose 1.3 per cent year-over-year, while the weighted major market average price rose 5.7 per cent. The national (or major market) weighted average price compensates for changes in provincial (or major market) sales activity by taking into account provincial (or major market) proportions of privately owned housing stock.
The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and measures the balance between housing supply and demand. The seasonally-adjusted number of months of inventory stood at 6.6 months at the end of September on a national basis. This is down from 6.9 months in August, and 7.2 months in July.
“Mortgage lending rates eased in the third-quarter, which helped support sales activity over the past couple of months,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “Interest rates are going nowhere fast, so homeownership will remain within reach for many home buyers.”
National resale housing market further stabilizes
“Since Canada’s interest rate outlook is tied to a weakening outlook for economic and job growth,” according to CREA, “consumer sentiment will remain under pressure until economic prospects improve next year.
“In the meantime, many Canadians will be focused on paying down their debts in anticipation of interest increases next year. That means the continuation of low and stable interest rates is unlikely to cause housing demand or prices to take off, especially since the hangover from accelerated home purchases earlier this year is expected to persist for some time.”
Note: CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas.