You might call it a friendly challenge but it is one that happens every year when a new president takes over the helm of the WinnipegREALTORS® Association. This year is no different with past-president Walter Boni poking a little fun at 2007 president Wes Schollenberg about whether his term will eclipse the record 2006 MLS® performance.
As they say, one month, even one quarter, does not a year make. So far, it’s too early to call for record MLS® results by the end of 2007. However, if the first quarter is any indication, the potential exists that another new sales and dollar volume level will be set.
One certainty is that the first three months of 2007 established a new milestone for MLS® sales and dollar volume. In the first quarter, MLS® sales were just shy of 2,500 and dollar volume was just $12 million off the $400-million mark. To put things in perspective, only five years ago dollar volume was just over $200 million while sales were still very respectable at close to 2,200.
You have to go back 10 years to 1997 — a year Winnipeggers have come to know for other reasons such as the Flood of the Century — to find sales nipping at the heels of this year’s record activity.
Not surprisingly, the second highest first-quarter dollar volume was last year with $342 million in MLS® sales activity. It seems the constant upward price push invariably sets a new benchmark for the month or quarterly activity.
The MLS® market continues to maintain an impressive pace, especially for a time of year not known for accelerated activity. While the remnants of winter still had a grip on us in March, the real estate market was well engaged with spring-like activity. In Winnipeg, the average days on market for residential-detached sales for the entire first quarter was only three weeks.
The percentage of homes selling at or above list price for this same period was 54 per cent — close to 45 per cent was above list price. Three out of every four listings in the first quarter sold on MLS®. In some MLS® areas throughout the city, the percentage conversion of sales-to-listings was significantly higher, and the time on the market was closer to two weeks or less. This translated into higher average selling prices.
Linden Woods saw its average house price go up eight per cent over the same quarter last year to $326,000. Osborne Village /Crescentwood is up 11 per cent to $161,000. Old St. Vital was up a whopping 37 per cent to $146,000, and Richmond West had a jump of 22 per cent to $268,879.
Very few MLS® areas experienced declines. Some rural MLS® areas also saw big increases, for example, St. Andrews and Steinbach.
The overall total MLS® average residential-detached sales price for the first quarter of 2007 was $169,501, an 11 per cent increase over the same period a year ago.
March capped off the first quarter with MLS® sales going over 1,100 for the first time ever for this month. Dollar volume reached $177 million, an 18 per cent increase over the previous record of $150 million set in 2006.
The average time frame to sell a home in Winnipeg during March was only 16 days while 23 days was the average for the entire capital region.
The most active price ranges in 2007 continue to be the three between $100,000 and $199,999 with roughly 50 per cent of all residential-detached sales activity. So far, the most expensive home sold went for $940,000 in St. Germaine, an MLS® neighbourhood area just south of the perimeter highway off St. Mary’s Road.
Behind this strong MLS® market in 2007 is national consumer confidence, which is a significant factor in predicting the housing market’s performance. In the first quarter of 2007, consumers were more positive in every region when compared to the previous quarter.
A Conference Board of Canada report said the outlook for employment improved in the first quarter — household expectations for job growth over the next six months stand close to their highest level in five years.
Mortgage rates remain at an historically low level, thus alleviating some of the concerns over higher house prices as does household income growth.
Central to the success of MLS® is the pivotal role REALTORS® play in a real estate transaction. Only REALTORS® can give you exclusive access to MLS®. A local network of over 1,200 REALTORS® work for you when your property is listed on MLS®. A national network of 88,000 REALTORS® also provide potential buyers for your property.
MLS® is the single most powerful tool for buying and selling a home. It is a complex information-sharing and co-operative marketing network created and paid for by REALTORS® to assist the public when they buy or sell homes.
In 2006, there were three-billion total pages viewed on mls.ca, an increase of 400-million pages viewed over 2005. A new mls.ca record was set this April when close to 12-million pages were viewed in one day.
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