An upswing in luxury home sales last year with healthy demand expected to continue this year

The number of homes sold last year in Winnipeg for over $500,000 increased by 26 per cent over the previous year and 189 per cent above 2009 levels, according to a new report.
In 2013, the RE/MAX Upper End Report indicated that the luxury segment of the housing market recorded 406 single-family and 33 condominium unit sales, which set a new upper-end sales record for the city.
WinnipegREALTORS® reported that there were just 12 condominiums that sold for over $500,000 in 2013.
“A solid economy, supported by strong employment growth, low interest rates, and relative affordability continued to bolster home buying activity in 2013,” reported RE/MAX.
“Immigration also factored into the mix, with many new Canadians set to purchase a home upon arrival.”
It was reported that three per cent of all residential sales in Winnipeg were high-end homes.
“One home sold for $2.2 million  along the Assiniboine River in Charleswood last year,” said Peter Squire, the market analyst for WinnipegREALTORS®, “which equalled the previous MLS® record price that was established in 2012.”
Winnipeg’s south end is popular with luxury home buyers. New upscale construction is being offered in prime Waverley West areas, such as Bridgewater Forest and South Pointe.
“Purchasers are choosing newer, turnkey homes in the south — and north end subdivisions like East St. Paul — over more established communities like Tuxedo, River Heights and Charleswood,” according to the report.
“Yet, teardown activity is occurring in older areas, as purchasers take advantage of generous lot sizes to construct large, custom-built residences.
“The south end of the city expected to continue to experience growth,” according to the report, “given the vast amount of land available for new construction, while some more established areas will likely see greater infill activity in the years ahead.”
Buyers of luxury residential-detached homes include executives, entrepreneurs, professionals and athletes.
Empty-nesters and retirees are also setting new records for high-end condo sales.
The priciest condo sold for $1.3 million and was located along Waterfront Drive. The high-rise condo boasted close to 3,000 square feet of space and a view of the Red River.
The report indicated that the greatest demand for luxury homes continues to be between $500,000 and $600,000, which represented almost half of all high-end home sales in 2013.
“Given the positive economic outlook for Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba overall,” continued the report, “healthy demand should continue ro exist for upper-end properties in 2014, while values are expected to appreciate at a slower pace, in large part due to a modest uptick in inventory levels.”
At the recent annual breakfast forecast sponsored by WinnipegREALTORS®, Squire predicted that overall house prices will average a modest two to four per cent increase in 2014, compared to last year’s five per cent increase.
“In 2014, the average selling price for a condo will jump by between six and eight per cent after a nine per cent gain in 2013,” Squire predicted.
Over two-thirds of the Canadian market set new records for high-end sales in 2013, led by Vancouver’s 36 gain in luxury home sales.
Canada’s priciest transaction included a $25 million condo and an $18.6 million home, offering great mountain and water views in Greater Vancouver.
“Canada’s luxury market is rising to an entirely unprecedented level,” said Elton Ash, the regional executive vice-president for RE/MAX of Western Canada.
“On the world stage,” Ash added, “Canada remains very attractive, particularly from the perspective of price. We offer a top-tier quality of life at a fraction of the price of other destination cities. Take New York City, for example, where a $90 million condominium penthouse was one of the highest-priced listings ever sold.”
Ash expects confidence in the housing market to remain solid in 2014. 
“The consistent upward momentum we’ve seen at the top end speaks volumes about the overall health of Canada’s real estate market,” he added.