Condominium sales in October contributed to a strong housing market and a new record

Affordability is driving a recent surge in condominium sales, according to WinnipegREALTORS®.
The association reported that condo sales in October jumped 42 per cent when compared to the same month last year.
“As is the case in other major real estate markets,” said Peter Squire, the market analyst for WinnipegREALTORS®, “condominiums on average are more affordable than a stand-alone home on its own lot.”
Squire said such sales were also boosted by a 25 per cent increase in condo listings this year.
But condo sales still only represented 16 per cent of total MLS® activity in October. On the other hand, residential-detached, or single-family homes, captured 70 per cent of all MLS® sales.
Despite only contributing to a smaller segment of total sales, Squire said “condos are by far seeing the best year-over-year increases of any property type.” 
Overall, October established a new dollar record for the month with $316.7 million in sales, which was 12 per cent better than the $281.2 million recorded for the same month last year.
In fact, October sales topped $300 million for the first time in the 110-year history of WinnipegREALTORS®.
The record for October was helped by a number of high-end residential-detached home and condominium sales.
“There were seven residential properties sold for over $1 million, including two new condominiums under construction in South St. Vital,” said Squire.
One home sold for $1.575 million, which was the highest price recorded for the month.
WinnipegREALTORS® president Richard Dettman said year-to-date dollar volume sales are just $50 million shy of reaching the $3 billion mark for the third year in a row.
“I’m confident,” Dettman added, “with two months to go in 2013, WinnipegREALTORS® will have one of its best years on record.
“It’s almost a sure bet that MLS® dollar volume will set a new record at well over $3 billion, and we can conceivably still reach 13,000 in sales for only the fourth time since it first occurred in 2007.
“It all depends on how many buyers will continue to take advantage of the largest and best selection of MLS® listings in many years.”
Year-to-date sales by the end of October were down just one per cent from the same period in 2012.
Squire explained that year-to-date sales climbed substantially since the start of the year, when the tally of sales was down 13 per cent after three months when compared to the pace set last year.
He said the surge in condo sales helped bring back MLS® sales close to last year’s brisk pace.
Dettman said new listings coming on the MLS® market in October showed a healthy increase of 13 per cent over the same month in 2012.
Total inventory dropped under 4,000 listings for the first time since June this year, but it was still up 26 per cent over last year, added Dettman.
Residential-detached home sales in October were most active in the 
price range between $200,000 to $249,999, with 21 per cent of all sales. Not far off that pace was the next price range of $250,000 to $299,999 at 18 per cent of total sales.
The price range between $150,000 and $199,999 recorded 16 per cent of all residential-detached home sales.
Condominium sales in the $200,000 to $299,999 price range were the most active in October, but there was only a one per cent difference in sales between $150,000 and $199,999, with 27 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, new home starts in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area have also been posting solid numbers, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
“The trend in total housing starts moderated slightly in October,” said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Winnipeg, “yet remains at an elevated level base on strength in the multi-family sector. While the trend has recently moderated, housing starts in Winnipeg remain on track to surpass 2012 levels.”
There were 4,002 housing starts year-to-date by the end of October compared to 3,569 in 2012.