MLS® housing market showed great strength last month

A hot July was accompanied by a heated-up MLS® housing market, according to WinnipegREALTORS®. 
In July, MLS® sales rose by four per cent to 1,246 units, while dollar volume sales went up 10 per cent to $288.1 million, when compared to the same month last year.
Compared to the same period in 2010, year-to-date sales were up three per cent by the end of July to 7,906 units and dollar volume sales increased by eight per cent to $1.84 billion.
The average sale price for a residential detached home rose to $254,486, which is seven per cent higher than the average of $238,441 in July 2010.
“An improvement in new listings in July helped keep prices in check,” said Ralph Fyfe, the president of the WinnipegREALTORS®, “as the monthly average home price in July was still under the year-to-date average of $256,000.”
Fyfe said home buyers in July had a little more breathing room as there were fewer above-list-price sales than in previous months,
There was a seven per cent increase in new listings in July when compared to the same month last year and an overall one per cent increase in year-to-date listings from 2010. At the end of July, there were 11,767 listings entered on MLS®.
“However, housing inventory still remains tight overall in a number of neighbourhoods,” Fyfe added. “So depending on the price and neighbourhood, multiple offers may still come into play.
“As a result, the best course is to seek the advice of a  REALTOR®.”
Fyfe said condominium sales took off in July, increasing by 23 per cent, while single-attached residential properties rose by an “astounding” 76 per cent.
He said that year-to-date condo sales at the end of July increased by 10 per cent and single-attached sales increased  by 16 per cent.
The rise in condo and single-attached residences reflects the “flight to affordability,” said Fyfe, “as the average sale price of a condo and a single-attached residence for the first seven months of 2011 was $54,000 and $63,000, respectively, lower than the $256,000 average for a single-detached residence."
“Not only are these two alternative property types more affordable,” explained Fyfe, “but the highest land transfer tax (LTT) in the country at two per cent for a home sale over $200,000 does not apply — or only minimally — to such property types if they are sold at the average price range.
“For every $50,000 in value above $200,000, the provincial government collects $1,000 from the home buyer before they take title of their new property.”
In Winnipeg’s southwest and southeast, where the average sale price is above $300,000, home buyers typically pay at least $2,000 more in LTT.
WinnipegREALTORS® is urging the public to visit the website to find out more about the LTT and its dire effects on the housing market.
Peter Squire, the market analyst for WinnipegREALTORS®, said home prices remain affordable when compared to other Canadian centres, despite the increase in the local average price.
“We just don’t have the volatility of other markets,” he added. “In Calgary and Edmonton, prices can swing upward by 30 per cent in one year and downward 30 per cent the next year. In Winnipeg, the housing market is marked by more slow and steady growth.”
For residential-detached sales in July, the most active price range was between $200,000 to $249,999, accounting for 24 per cent of all MLS® sales. Next was the $250,000 to $299,999 price range at 19 per cent.