Condominium sales are steadily increasing, according to recent statistics compiled by WinnipegREALTORS®.
“While off to a slow start at the beginning of the year like other MLS® property types,” said WinnipegREALTORS® president Richard Dettman, “condominium sales are now up 10 per cent over last year.”
Dettman said condominium sales have enjoyed a better conversion of listings to sales than residential-detached properties.
“June condominium sales were not only up 11 per cent, but they clearly showed an upward swing in price movement with 55 per cent of all sales above $200,000 when last June it was only 38 per cent,” Dettman added.
The surge in sales has attracted the attention of builders and developers.
Diane Himbeault, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) senior market analyst for Winnipeg, said a housing construction increase in June was fuelled by “an uptick in the multi-family sector.”
“Multi-family construction in Winnipeg has been supported by low vacancy rates in the rental market and demand for condominiums among first-time buyers and empty-nesters,” she added.
Condominium infill construction is growing in urban neighbourhoods, such as Osborne Village and the Corydon Avenue area — although not exclusively, as another mixed-use project was recently announced for 18 hectares of vacant land along Taylor Avenue — where conveniently located amenities include shopping, schools, parks and a wide selection of restaurants.
Typical of the growing movement toward condominium construction is a new project slated for the Corydon neighbourhood.
The new development will feature 13 condominium projects providing 125 distinctive and contemporary units that complement the mature urban setting.
Winnipeg mother of two, Elizabeth Gage, grew up in the Crescentwood area before moving to the suburbs. However, after many years, she decided to return to her roots and purchased a condo in the Corydon neighbourhood.
“My two children and I now spend less time commuting and more time in our neighbourhood enjoying our friends and family.” said Gage. “I can be at yoga class in five minutes and enjoy a long 10-kilometre run in a park-like setting while my daughter walks to school and enjoys the freedom of going out for gelato. It’s a safe community.”
Craig Kitching, president of the Corydon Avenue Business Improvement Zone (BIZ), said the recent development of the rapid-transit station is a positive impetus for growing the community.
“The announcement of these creative and contemporary infill homes will enhance Corydon’s status as one of Winnipeg’s most vibrant and exciting neighbourhoods,” he added. “This also signals that this neighbourhood is able to evolve to meet the changing needs of its citizens in a post urban sprawl environment.”
The city’s development patterns may be at an historic juncture as builders begin to reverse the 60-year-old trend of solely focusing on suburban development. Some builders starting to shift from giant communities on wide-open “green fields” to compact “infill” housing in already developed urban settings.
Father and son architect/developer team, Ernie and Yaron Walter, are embracing the concept of harmonizing urban centres with smart design. They live and work in the Corydon area and their company, Studio Walter/Walter International, is dedicated to growing the “Little Italy” neighbourhood.
“The market slowdown has given builders time to assess demographic changes that are transforming the way Manitobans want to live,” said Yaron Walter. “With the rise of gasoline prices and environmental-consciousness growing, young Millennials and Baby Boomers are turning to urban living and shorter commutes.”
“Many want to live near city centres so they can walk to work, shops and restaurants or take public transportation,” added Ernie Walter. “They also prefer smaller homes because many are single and don’t want to spend their time maintaining their homes.”
WinnipegREALTORS® reported that June condominium sales were primarily in the more affordable $150,000 to $199,999 price range, which contributed to 31 per cent of sales. Another 19 per cent of sales fell within the $200,000 to $249,999 price range.