Local housing market forecast to remain healthy in 2012


Winnipeg’s housing market is expected to remain strong throughout 2012, according to a new survey. 
In its recent market survey and forecast, Royal LePage Real Estate Services is predicting an average house price increase in Winnipeg of 4.2 per cent in 2012 over last year. The rate of unit sales is also predicted to increase modestly by 2.9 per cent.
“Winnipeg's housing market is proving resilient despite the current global economic and financial uncertainty,” said John Froese, broker of Royal LePage Prime Real Estate. “Consumer confidence is strong and housing demand in the area is being fueled by the city’s growing immigration levels.”
The survey forecast showed healthy year-over-year price increases for all housing types surveyed in Winnipeg.
Standard condominiums witnessed the largest year-over-year price gains climbing five per cent to $177,286. Prices for standard two-storey homes saw an increase of 3.7 per cent year-over-year to $305,875, while detached bungalows rose 3.8 per cent to $276,750.
WinnipegREALTORS® outgoing president Ralph Fyfe called the 2011 results “impressive” with marketplace momentum building as the year progressed.
“Winnipeg has a number of new listings and start-up projects hitting the market that should help balance the resale market,” said Froese.
WinnipegREALTORS® reported that total listings entered by the end of 2011 went over 18,000 units for the first time in many years. Fyfe called the increase an encouraging development going into 2012.
Nationally, despite calls in some quarters for Canadian house prices to soften in 2011, the market proved resilient as demand created by low interest rates and a relatively stable national economy created upward pricing pressure for all housing types surveyed. 
In addition, recent high profile reports forecasting significant house price declines in 2012 are not supportable. In the fourth quarter, standard two-storey homes rose 4.2 per cent year-over-year to $375,427, while detached bungalows increased 6.1 per cent to $344,392, according to the Royal LePage survey. Average prices for standard condominiums increased 3.6 per cent to $234,680.
“In the recovery period following the 2008-2009 recession, I found myself repeatedly speaking of ‘irrational exuberance’ in the Canadian housing market,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. “Expectations were too high and the pace of expansion unsustainable. With this report, I find myself in exactly the opposite position. Widespread calls for a major real estate correction in 2012 simply can’t be justified. 
“The industry has significant momentum entering the year, and is buoyed by the stimulative effect of very low interest rates,” he added. “We expect the market to continue to expand, albeit at a slower pace.”
Royal LePage expects average price growth to continue through 2012 and predicts national average prices to increase by 2.8 per cent by the end of the year.
“The momentum in sales activity provides clear evidence that low interest rates continue to draw home buyers to the housing market,” said Gary Morse, the president of the Canadian Real Estate Association. “While buyers have become increasingly cautious, the hand off for sales activity going into the new year suggests that Canada’s housing market will continue to benefit from low interest rates in 2012, and continue making a significant contribution to Canadian economic activity. 
“Even so, prospects among housing markets and neighbourhoods differ, so buyers and sellers should talk to a local REALTOR® to understand how trends are shaping up where they live,” he added.