Strong year-over-year average price growth in a balanced local housing market

A new survey showed strong year-over-year growth for standard condominiums and standard two-storey homes in Winnipeg with a 5.3 per cent increase to $203,118 and 5.1 per cent increase to $325,072, respectively. 
Meanwhile, detached bungalows increased a modest 1.2 per cent year-over-year to $306,507, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey 
“We have definitely seen a slow start to the year in Winnipeg,” said REALTOR® Rick Preston. “Our inventory levels are up compared to last year, but buyers are being choosy. The good listings are moving quickly, but questionable listings are sitting on the market.”
According to a new statistical report by WinnipegREALTORS®, new listings in March and active listings, or overall inventory at the end of the month, were well up over last year.
By April last year, there were over 2,000 MLS® residential listings, whereas at the start of this April there was well in excess of 2,500 listings.
Condominiums show the largest increase with 562 units available for sale compared to 346 units in 2013.
“The only residential property types down from last year are duplexes and resort properties,” said Peter Squire, the market analyst for WinnipegREALTORS®.
After a chilly winter, MLS® sales rebounded in March and were up nine per cent compared to the same month last year, while dollar volume increased 11 per cent to $249.1 million.
“A sign of home buyers seeking more affordable options in March was apparent from single-attached unit sales rising 45 per cent and condominiums rising 17 per cent,” said Squire.
“Residential-detached, or single-family, home sales increased 10 per cent,” he added.
“We are in a real favourable position going into April to take advantage of better weather, low unemployment, very competitive mortgage rates, and the best inventory we have seen in many years,” said WinnipegREALTORS® president David Powell. 
“One of the benefits increased condominium supply brings is that it will encourage a growing empty-nester demographic to look at selling their existing single-family home,” he added. “As a result, more choices will be created for families seeking a desirable home.”
Nationally, most regions showed healthy year-over-year price growth, with the average price of a home in Canada rising between 2.5 per cent and 5.4 per cent, according to the Royal LePage survey. 
In the first quarter, the average price of a two-storey home increased 5.4 per cent to $428,943, while detached bungalows rose 4.4 per cent year-over-year to $380,765. Standard condominiums posted slightly lower gains of 2.5 per cent to $252,174.
“With the slightest trace of a weather recovery in most parts of the country, we are now finally seeing the arrival of housing inventory. This, combined with pent-up demand following a particularly long and harsh winter is setting the stage for an exceptionally robust spring 2014 market,” said Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage. 
“This is good news for buyers, as the price spikes we have seen in a number of cities will be alleviated by this additional supply."
“With a number of supportive economic factors in place, the country's healthy real estate market continues to display its strength,” added Soper. 
“The federal government is heading towards a balanced budget for the first time in over six years, while all signs point to a continued low interest rate environment. Moreover, the strengthening global economy and a weaker Canadian dollar are fueling demand for Canadian exports and reducing dependence on the household sector to sustain our economic success.”
“With a series of supportive economic factors at play, we expect the country’s real estate market to continue the strong showing it posted in the second half of 2013,” said Soper.
Meanwhile, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported that new home construction is expected to be lower than last year and that housing starts in March declined. 
But “employment growth and migration remain positive and should continue to support housing demand moving forward,” said Dianne Himbault, CHMC’s senior market analyst for Winnipeg.