So far so good for the local housing market, says president


Eager home buyers took advantage of an increased inventory in April, resulting in an MLS® unit sales jump of 17 per cent over the same month last year.
“To show how buyers are putting a premium on available MLS® listings,” said WinnipegREALTORS® president Shirley Przybyl, “there were more above list price sales in April, and the average sale price whether for above, below or at list price for residential-detached home sales all were around the $280,000 price level.”
WinnipegREALTORS® reported that listings rebounded by 17 per cent when compared to January to April 2011.
The increased sales and a hike in dollar volume sales by 25 per cent to $337.3 million this April was predictable, according to Przybyl, since last year’s sales during the same month were severely affected by flooding in Manitoba.
“So far so good sums up this year,” said Przybyl.
Year-to-date MLS® sales by the end of April were up four per cent to 3,829 units, while dollar volume has risen by 10 per cent to $926.4 million, when compared to the same period last year.
“However,” said Przybyl, “we are now coming into a period when there were some very solid monthly performances in 2011, so maintaining a lead over last year and even keeping up the pace over the next few months will require continued brisk sales activity.”
The most active price ranges in April for residential-detached home sales were between $200,000 and $249,999 and between $250,000 and $2999,999, which both recorded 20 per cent of total MLS® sales.
On the other hand, homes priced under $100,000 only represented three per cent of sales.
Condo sales were most active in the $150,000 to $1999,999 price range, which dominated the market with 34 per cent of total sales. The $200,000 to $249,999 price range recorded 21 per cent of sales in April.
Nationally, home sales were up by 11.5 per cent when compared to April 2011.
Activity gains in Winnipeg, Montréal, Edmonton, as well as London and St. Thomas made significant contributions to the national sales increase in April, reported the Canadian Real Estate Association, which offset declines in Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, Québec City, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver.
“A number of Canadian housing market trends in April remained intact from the previous month,” said Wayne Moen, the president of CREA. 
“Trends in Vancouver and Toronto continue to diverge,” he added. “These two housing markets have an obvious influence on national statistics and a high profile. But Canada is a big place. Trends in local housing markets differ across Canada.”
According to CREA, the average price of a Canadian home in April was $375,810, up 0.9 per cent from the same month last year.
While high-end sales in Vancouver have declined, activity increased in Toronto.
“As the most active housing market in Canada,” said CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump, “Toronto is the biggest factor supporting the national average price.
“Netting Vancouver out of the national average price calculation,” he added, “yields a 4.9 per cent year-on-year gain. Netting Toronto out of the national average calculation, while leaving Vancouver in, produces a 2.2 per cent year-on-year decline.
“Netting out both Vancouver and Toronto results in a 3.1 per cent increase in average price. On balance, this points to modest price growth and balanced market conditions in much of the rest of Canada.”