For the first time in its 102-year history, the Winnipeg Real Estate Board recorded over 12,000 in annual MLS® sales.
By the end of last year, 12,087 sales of different property types were recorded by the WREB.
December was also the 12th consecutive month of record-breaking MLS® dollar volume sales, contributing to a new record of $1.62 billion for 2005.
“What a way to finish the year!” said out-going WREB president Ruthe Penner. “There was certainly no let-up in December with MLS® sales falling just shy of the best-ever month in 2003 and dollar volume that smashed the record set that same year.”
December MLS® sales were up 13 per cent to 559 units and dollar volume was up 32 per cent to $79 million when compared to the same month in 2004.
“Besides some of the optimum market conditions for such a strong MLS® performance in 2005, I believe the unusually mild December weather made it easier for buyers to get out and about to view MLS® properties they were interested in,” said Penner.
By the end of 2005, MLS® sales were up nearly six per cent from 2004’s total of 11,447 and dollar volume was up 21 per cent from 2004’s total of $1.34 billion.
“The demand for MLS® property was unprecedented in 2005 as even with a healthy increase in new listing supply, nearly half of all residential-detached properties sold at or above list price,” added Penner.
Residential-detached sales went over 9,200 units by year-end.
Condominium sales through MLS® also performed impressively, finishing with 1,026 unit sales in 2005, going over 1,000 units for the first time in WREB history. The final total of condo sales represented 8.5 per cent of all MLS® sales. Dollar volume resulting from these sales reached $128 million.
Adding to the year-end dollar volume sales total was the sale of four homes for over $1 million each, with the highest sale price being $1.4 million.
According to Penner, one of the bigger stories in the real estate market was the shift to higher price ranges.
She said the percentage of sales over $300,000 doubled from 2004 to four per cent, and sales between $200,000 and $300,000 were up 45 per cent when compared to the same price range in 2004.
The under $100,000 residential-detached price range continued to lose market share in 2005, accounting for just 29 per cent of all sales compared to 36 per cent in 2004.
On the other hand, condo activity in the under $100,000 price range was more active. In total, this price range accounted for 44 per cent of all condo sales.
The highest price obtained for a condo through MLS® was $579,000 in 2005 while the lowest was $19,500.
Penner said a good sign for the local market is that the number of MLS® listings was up 13 per cent in 2005 to nearly 2,000 units, the best result in six years.
“My own sense of the MLS® market for 2006 is very positive since all the factors at play in 2005 now exist,” she added. “Winnipeg’s labour market is healthy, interest rates remain historically low and consumer optimism has never been better.
“My only caution, as some economists are now saying, is that we have been on a real upswing for over three years and there may be a little retraction due to less pent-up demand.”
“For 2006, the leading indicators are very positive,” added incoming WREB president Walter Boni. “Builders are still building and investors are still investing. Housing is now officially an investment, not just shelter.”
Boni said $1 billion in annual MLS® sales are here to stay.