Local real estate market setting a record pace

WinnipegREALTORS® president Ralph Fyfe says the local real estate market is showing more strength than expected.
“We’re off to a record-setting year with three strong months of sales,” said Fyfe.
“This is the strongest market in WinnipegREALTORS®’ history,” he added. “We’re already at half a billion dollars in sales and it’s only the first part of the year.”
 In fact, $570 million in dollar volume sales by the end of March was the first time that half billion dollars in MLS® sales had been eclipsed during the first quarter.
Fyfe said extremely strong sales in the city’s southeast and southwest, where the average sale price is a little over $300,000, pushed the city-wide average residential-detached home sale price upward to $255,000. 
Fyfe said the recording-setting pace of sales can be partially attributed to home buyers anticipating mortgage rate increases.
“I didn’t think it would have that much affect, but it was definitely an influence, with many people jumping on the home-buying bandwagon,”said Fyfe.
This week, Canada’s major financial institutions announced rate increases of 20 basis points on short-term mortgages and 35 basis points on five-year closed mortgages to 5.69 per cent.
“The change in the mortgage amortization period from 35 to 30 years in March many have also spurred on more activity than we initially predicted,” added Fyfe.
MLS® sales of 2,500 properties also eclipsed the previous first quarter record in 2007.
“We’re still seeing multiple offers on a number of listings, especially in the more affordable price range between $150,000 to $250,000,” said Fyfe.
WinnipegREALTORS® reported 48 per cent of residential-detached listings sold above list price, and 65 per cent of sales were over $200,000. Of the latter percentage, 42 per cent sold for over $250,000.
“Home buyers are coming out in droves,” he added. “Our open houses are full. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues.”
Fyfe said the key to maintaining the pent-up demand for homes throughout the remainder of 2011 is an increase in listings inventory.
“If somebody is thinking about selling their house, get in touch with a REALTOR® and get your house on the market,” he added, “because it’s a great time to be selling a house.
“If anyone’s sitting on the fence, it’s a great time to act.”
Listings entered on MLS® in the first three months actually edged slightly upward to 4,071 when compared to the 3,928 listings during the same period last year.
In March, MLS® sales were up seven per cent to 1,186 units, while dollar volume rose 14 per cent to $274.9 million when compared to the same month last year.