Definitely a sign of the times

As the accompanying picture shows, some Winnipeg Real Estate Board REALTORS® are telling the public directly on their lawn signs that an MLS® listing has achieved a sale price for thousands of dollars above list price. 

The picture relates to an MLS® listing in the West End that sold in July within two days of showings for $18,000 more than its list price of $89,900. 

Hannon Bell, the REALTOR® who had this listing and decided to add this message to his sign, said, “We have a terrific MLS® system that brings maximum exposure to a listing and, in some cases like this one, it will result in multiple offers.”

REALTOR® Terry Isaryk more recently did the same thing by affixing an attachment to his lawn sign which said, “Sold for 1000s over list price,” on a St. Vital property. In his case, the MLS® listing sold for $15,000 above the listed price of $149,900. 

And the numbers this year do back up what these REALTORS® are getting for vendors on a number of MLS® listings. From January 1 to August 31 this year, the percentage of MLS® residential-detached sales that have sold at or above list price was 49 per cent. It has remained quite consistent since the end of April where year-to-date numbers showed 48 per cent of residential-detached listings sold at or above list price.

On a monthly basis, May was the busiest month this year for multiple offers and higher above list sale prices — 58 per cent (45 per cent went for above list price) of residential-detached properties sold for at or above list price. June was a close second at 55 per cent. 

However, it is worth pointing out that the summer months provided some respite to home buyers as the monthly percentages for July and August are 44 and 41 per cent, respectively. 

What is certainly helping moderate a very active multiple offer market is an increase in the supply of new listings. August new MLS® listings were up 30 per cent over the same month last year. It marks the fourth month in a row of year-over-year percentage increases in new MLS® listings.

As significant a year that 2004 is becoming in setting a new plateau for dollar volume levels, new listings are also increasing and this will eventually bring more balance to a market that has clearly been on the side of the seller. 

Another byproduct of the increase in listings has been sales increases. In August, over three out of four new MLS® listings entered sold and the average number of days on market for the residential-detached listings that sold was 25 days, three days quicker than last year. 

Of course, a number of Winnipeg MLS® areas are lower than this overall WREB average. In particular, many rural municipal MLS® areas are experiencing much higher average days required to complete a sale.

The percentage spread between August sales increases (28 per cent) and dollar volume increases (41 per cent) remains in the double digits (also see front page article), which has resulted in a year-to-date difference of 10 per cent. Dollar volume is fast approaching $ 1 billion with four months to go.

Another sign of the times is that this year’s MLS® dollar volume sales total will break the $1-billion barrier in the shortest time on record.