With spring-time weather finally here, prospective buyers are once again house hunting. As a result, April MLS® sales rebounded after a couple of months of faltering sales.
The equivalent of nearly 40 per cent of the 3,205 MLS® listings sold throughout April, which is over 400 units more than sold during the previous month.
“While sales and dollar volume were down from April 2012,” said Richard Dettman, president of WinnipegREALTORS®, “sales were still two per cent above the 10-year average and dollar volume finished a strong second to last year’s highest-ever April dollar volume of $337 million.”
Dettman said another indicator of the market rebounding was the number of listings coming onto the market in April. Nearly 2,100 new listings approached the highest level ever for this time of year, he added.
The WinnipegREALTORS president said it is important to note that while residential-detached home listings were higher in April than at the same time last year, there was a marked difference in the price ranges they fall within.
For example, there were 16 per cent fewer listings available under $250,000 this year and 11 per cent fewer under $300,000. On the other hand, there was a 45 per cent increase in listings between $50,000 and $499,000 this year when compared to 2012. No residential-detached home sales occurred under $100,000. But since condominiums now represent an increasing segment of the affordable housing market, condo sales jumped 29 per cent.
“As is always the case,” said Dettman, “there are often differences between specific MLS® neighbourhoods. Some may have more listings, while others may have less than the overall market percentage.”
“To fully apprise yourself of what exactly is happening, whether buying a residential-detached home or a condominium, it’s advisable to enlist the services of a REALTOR®, who is the local neighbourhood real estate professional.
“I think what last month’s results clearly tell us,” Dettman added, “is that keeping our local market affordable with more lower priced listings is the key factor contributing to our sales success.
“It also speaks to vendors being more realistic in what they expect to receive for their property, as Winnipeg buyers are discerning customers who look for a good bang for their buck.”
Dettman’s observation was confirmed by a new report by the Bank of Montreal, which indicated that home buyers on average spend five months and visit 10 houses before making a decision to buy.
The BMO Psychology of House Hunting report found that 80 per cent of home buyers know as soon as they step over the threshold that a home is right for them.
“It’s important to take a practical approach when house hunting and have a clear idea of where you stand financially to ensure you make a responsible home buying decision,” said Laura Parsons, a mortgage expert for BMO Bank of Montreal.
“Doing research ahead of time can help you avoid making an uninformed or rushed purchase,” she added.
“Buying a home is one of the biggest investments Canadians will make in their lifetime, so it’s wise to ... get the guidance of a professional to help ease the stress and mitigate any financial pitfalls that may arise from making an emotional decision.”
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also reported a marked increase in new home starts with 4,183 units under construction during April compared to 3,678 units in March in Winnipeg and the surrounding municipalities.
“After moving higher in March,” said Dianne Himbault, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Winnipeg, “the trend in total housing starts continued to increase in April based on strength in both the single-detached and multiple-family sectors.
“Builders continue to respond to the demands of a growing population supported by net migration,” she added.
Over the period from 2006 to 2011, only Toronto and Vancouver added more immigrants to their population than Winnipeg, according to data recently released by Statistics Canada in its 2011 National Household Survey.
Overall, Manitoba has witnessed the largest increase in the share of Canada’s immigrant population over the five-year period — nearly doubling from 2.7 per cent to five per cent, according to the survey.