Real estate market doing significantly better than predicted at start of 2011

Consumer confidence has created a momentum in the local real estate market that hadn’t been expected at the start of the year, according to WinnipegREALTORS® president Ralph Fyfe.
“With sales up six per cent  (year-to-date), home prices up eight per cent and dollar volume  (sales) up 11 per cent,” he said,  “I can’t help but believe that all the optimism evident in major projects, such as the new airport, CentrePort, the human rights museum, the new football stadium, the return of the Jets, and all the other exciting developments in our city and province have provided consumers with a confidence that is playing out in the real estate market.”
WinnipegREALTORS® predicted at its January forecast breakfast that MLS® home sales would rise by two per cent, home prices would go up seven to nine per cent and dollar volume sales would increase from nine to 11 per cent.
The conservative prediction was based on economic indicators that appeared to be rather negative due to the fluctuations in the stock market and personal retirement investments, as well as a worsening world economy. Fortunately, Winnipeg and Manitoba emerged from the recession virtually unscathed.
“But look at the numbers to the end of August, we may have been too conservative in our estimates,” said Fyfe. “Maybe the negativity around us at the time made us too cautious.
“Both our August numbers and year-to-date numbers have exceeded expectations,” he added.
Dollar volume sales in August hit $297 million, which represents a “staggering” 76 per cent increase from 2005.
August MLS® sales were up 27 per cent to 1,290 units from the same month last year, dollar volume rose  35 per cent over the $220 million in August 2010, and the 1,784 listings added to the MLS® system surpassed last August’s listings by 13 per cent.
With comparing this year to last year, from January to the end of August, home prices rose eight per cent, dollar  volume jumped  11 per cent and home sales climbed by six per cent.
The fact that 10 per cent of total home sales in August was over $500,000 is another indication of the strength of the market, added Fyfe.
The most active price range was between $200,000 and $250,000 with 20 per cent of all sales last month, which is a continuation of a trend that started at the beginning of the year.
The most active price range for condominiums was between $150,000 and $200,000 with 35 per cent of all sales, followed by the $100,000 to $150,000 price range with 26 per cent of total sales.
The Canadian Real Estate Association is predicting a continuation of growth in the national real estate market, including Winnipeg, throughout 2011.
“Interest rates will remain lower for longer, and the prevailing economic forecast calls for further modest growth,” said Richard Klump, CREA’s chief economist, “so the housing market will remain an oasis of stability compared to further financial market volatility.”