This year, Winnipeg has garnering some national coverage as a real estate market to watch. An article in the Globe and Mail in January pointed out that Winnipeg was set to become the hottest Canadian market in 2011.
In the same article, Royal LePage’s CEO Phil Soper commented: “Winnipeg is the Canadian poster child for a well-diversified economy. They are not a one-trick pony like Calgary or St. John’s, where you see really dramatic upswings, but a really solid economy over the last decade and affordable home prices.”
Royal LePage predicted Winnipeg’s house prices will easily eclipse the national average of a three-per-cent increase to a seven-per-cent gain. Backing up the Royal LePage prediction was Scotiabank’s senior economist Adrienne Warren. who said, “The Winnipeg housing market remains ‘tight’ in terms of supply. A positive population trend and strong demand will push prices higher.”
This week, the Canadian Real Estate Association’s chief economist, Gregory Klump, came out with a revised and more positive outlook for the MLS® or resale housing market. It was revised upward due to recent improvements in the consensus economic outlook for Canada and expected improvement in consumer confidence.
The final sentence of this CREA news release is notable in its mention of Manitoba: “Although the supply of new listings is expected to trend higher, the expected continuation of sellers’ market conditions in Manitoba is forecast to result in a bigger percentage increase in the average price in 2011 and 2012 compared to other provinces.”
The upgraded forecast for this year shows Manitoba as having the highest annual percentage increase among Canada’s provinces at 6.1 per cent. The closest market to Manitoba’s is Quebec at 5.6 per cent.
The RE/MAX Housing Barometer Report released this week reported on a longitudinal study of housing markets across the country based on the ratio of residential sales to new listings and average residential price increases. Not only does it show Winnipeg had the fifth highest average residential price increase between 2000 to 2010, but even more notable, when compared to any other major Canadian markets, is that for over 11 years Winnipeg was in sellers’ market conditions. In fact, 85 per cent of the time. Less than one per cent of the time during that 11-year period, buyers had the upper hand.
Winnipeg’s market was only in a balanced situation 14 per cent of the time. The only other major markets that came close to Winnipeg are Hamilton-Burlington where 67 per cent of the time sellers were in the driver’s seat as well as Regina at 64 per cent. The report said Winnipeg is “by far the tightest market in the nation.”
Newfoundland & Labrador (28 per cent), Moncton (30 per cent) and London-St. Thomas (32 per cent) were markets in which sellers’ conditions were at the other end of the spectrum. The latter two markets were the most balanced of all Canadian markets at 58 per cent of the time.
“While population growth, pent-up demand, and a strong economy also contributed to the run up in activity,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of RE/MAX of Western Canada, “inventory played a major role in price growth.
“The recent recession was case in point. Supply remained largely in check, keeping prices on the upswing despite softer demand. That is expected to continue, given an improved global economic picture, lower unemployment rates and rising consumer confidence — all of which have buoyed home buying activity since November.
“While sales figures are expected to be slightly off 2010’s heated pace, housing values are forecast to continue to climb in Canadian real estate markets in 2011 — with most a direct result of lower listing levels."
Western Canada dominated the top placements for average residential price gains . The only city to break into the top-five from Eastern Canada was Quebec City.
Homeownership has been a solid investment for Canadians during the last 11 years — more so for Winnipeggers, who have experienced one of the highest gains in the country.
The RE/MAX report helps explain why multiple offers have become a common in the local real estate landscape.