You need to be very careful when attempting to jump to conclusions about Winnipeg’s real estate market.
It will often surprise you with some rather impressive numbers after showing poor results in previous months. The market’s hallmark is economic stability based on well diversified strengths in a number of key industry sectors.
Basically, do not count Winnipeg out! Resiliency is one of its strongest traits.
Helping Winnipeg out immensely by generating demand for housing over the last few years has been a high influx of new immigrants. The result is one of the fastest population growth rates in recent years. With this comes a stepped up demand for housing of all kinds.
Combine this factor with a tight rental market for the more affordable rental units and owning a house becomes a more compelling option. If not by default, the resale real estate market has become a direct beneficiary of the lack of good affordable rental accommodations in neighbourhoods and communities throughout Winnipeg and the capital region.
So seemingly without missing a beat after a tough start in the first quarter of the year, the WinnipegREALTORS® MLS® market has come roaring back. By how much? After seven months, MLS® dollar volume surpassed the $2 billion mark and was up one per cent over the same period last year. MLS® sales are still down, but are only four per cent off the pace set a year ago. At the end of the first quarter, it was a far different picture, as MLS® sales were down 13 per cent from 2012 and by nearly seven per cent in MLS® dollar volume.
It is safe to say the harsh and extended cold weather was not the spring housing market’s best friend. The adverse weather delayed the usual sales jump in early spring market activity. However, it did not mean that some buyers and sellers reconsidered participatiing in this year’s MLS® market at a later date. In fact, if you consider there were more than 2,000 new listings entered on MLS® in July, it means July was as much an extension of the spring market as it was the beginning of summer market.
The healthy inventory at the end of June — close to 4,000 active listings coupled with fresh new listings coming on the MLS® system every day — led to a very decent conversion of more than one in three active listings into sales. As a result, July 2013 was only 19 sales off the best July ever in 2008 when there were just over 1,400 MLS® unit sales. Dollar volume stood out even more, with a record for July of more than $350 million when the previous record was under $300 million.
August should help keep the 2013 MLS® market activity on the right track due to all of the new listings coming on the MLS® system in July. The existing inventory is much like it was at the end of June. Another respectable conversion of listings to sales will automatically translate into one of the better performing Augusts on record.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers? For buyers, they have more to choose from across many price ranges than has been the case in many years, so they have real opportunity to take advantage of the situation. On the other hand, sellers have to be more aware there will be more competition for their attention since more options are available to buyers. A more balanced market is a positive development. It keeps prices in check.
Affordability still remains one of Winnipeg’s strongest advantages when compared to some other real estate markets across the country. There are also more options available than just opting for a single-family home. Condominium sales year-to-date are up 13 per cent over 2012, and sales in July rose 38 per cent over July last year.
Lots to ponder!
If you are considering buying or selling a home, you need to be calling a REALTOR®. Their experience alone in dealing with a multitude of transactions and situations equip them to advise you accordingly on your own particular real estate requirements.
In conclusion, 2013 is unfolding more like it should, despite some hiccups early in the year. A continuing solid third quarter of MLS® activity sets the stage for one of the best years on record in WinnipegREALTORS®’ 110-year history.