Good news real estate market

The Winnipeg real estate market continues to perform extremely well as we head into the latter part of August. MLS® dollar volume for the first time in August went over $100 million and sales are close to 600 units, rivaling the highest total reached for the same period in previous years. 

The other good news is the improvement in MLS® listings available for sale. The active supply at August 15 was over 3,000 properties, a 44 per cent increase over 2007 when there were almost 1,000 fewer listings.  Some people may jump to the conclusion that demand is slackening off, but MLS® sales remain slightly ahead of the record pace set last year. And, the average days on market for residential-detached sales show no difference in 2008 over 2007, which both indicating homes sold within an average of 25 days.

Even when you compare the average time active listings stayed on the market, it is still lower at this time of year than at the end of August 2007 — 45 days currently compared to 48 in 2007. 

All of the active residential-detached listing price ranges from $90,000 to $209,999 are on the market less than 40 days.

For condominiums, sales are virtually identical for the first 15 days of August over the last two years, while the average days on market is 28, which is four days quicker than 2007.

Where you really start to see differences between the two years (January 1 to August 15) is in the market share  between price categories. Properties selling for over $300,000 had a market share of 9.13 per cent in 2007 and 14.60 per cent in 2008. The $200,000 to $224,999 price range went from 7.87 per cent in 2007 to 11.20 per cent this year. On the other hand, the lower price ranges have experienced a big decline. The $90,000 to $99,999 price range went from 240 sales, or 3.63 per cent of the total market share, in 2007 to 125 or 1.90 per cent in 2008.

Comparing the price category breakdowns for residential-detached sales over $200,000 shows an upward shift in higher- priced sales activity from 2007 to 2008. Sales over $200,000 this year represent close to one out of every two sales in comparison to one out of three in 2007. 

More than half the sales this year were under $200,000 with 42 per cent of sales from $100,000 to $199,999.

The Canadian Real Estate Association released the following report, which shows Winnipeg’s market is among the nation’s leaders.

MLS® home sales up for the fifth consecutive month in July

Seasonally adjusted MLS® home sales in Canada’s major markets edged higher on a month-over-month basis for the fifth consecutive month in July 2008, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Seasonally-adjusted transactions fell on a month-over-month basis in the first two months of the year, with the February decline being the largest in more than four years. Activity has posted a small gain in every month since then, but sales remain below where they stood at the end of 2007, which was a record year for MLS® residential sales.

MLS® sales activity in Canada’s major markets inched up 0.1 per cent month-over-month to 26,033 units in July 2008. Transactions were up from June levels in a number of major centres, including Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, St. John’s, Saskatoon, Halifax and London. These gains more than offset month-over-month declines in Montreal, Toronto, Victoria and Ottawa.

Seasonally-adjusted activity in July broke all previous monthly records in Winnipeg, reached its second highest monthly level ever in Saint John, and posted its third highest ever level in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Trois-Rivières.

Actual (unadjusted) transactions numbered 27,889 units in July 2008. This is down 10.9 per cent from the same month last year, the strongest July on record, but still represents the third highest level ever for major market MLS® home sales in the month of July.

New MLS® residential listings remained near record levels in July 2008. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, some 50,782 properties were listed via the MLS® systems in Canada’s major markets in July. This is the second highest level on record, just 0.2 per cent below the peak reached in May. New listings in July reached their highest level on record in Toronto, and stood just below peak levels in Saskatoon, Montreal, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières, Vancouver, and Victoria.

Vancouver, Victoria, Regina, Saskatoon and Windsor were the most balanced of Canada’s major markets in July 2008. Resale housing markets were tightest in Winnipeg, Hamilton-Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, Thunder Bay, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Saguenay, Halifax-Dartmouth, Saint John (N.B.), and St. John’s (Nfd. & L.).

“The combination of a larger inventory of homes for sale and fewer home sales means less upward pressure on home prices in many markets,” said Calvin Lindberg, president of the Canadian Real Estate Association. “The challenge for many sellers is determining the right price for today’s market conditions. There is no doubt the Canadian real estate market is pulling back from the record sales and price increase levels of 2007, which was a record year for MLS® sales. In most areas this means more rational comparables come from 2006 or 2005.”

The CREA president said basic fundamentals remain different than those in the real estate market in the United States. “Based on what happened in the first half of the year, CREA’s market analysis shows a record national average residential MLS® price by the end of 2008, but with a much more modest increase than was recorded in 2007.”

A more balanced real estate market means price gains are slowing in many major centres. In July, the MLS® residential average price edged down from year-ago levels in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Windsor.

Even though average prices continue to post year-over-year gains in most major markets, the national major market MLS® residential average price was down on a year-over-year basis in July. The average sale price was $327,020, which is 3.6 per cent below where it stood in July last year. The decline was the result of fewer sales compared to a year ago in the four most expensive major markets in Canada — Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary and Toronto.

The MLS® residential average price set new records in Montreal and Newfoundland and Labrador in July, and stood just below its peak in Regina, Sudbury and Halifax-Dartmouth.