Market poised for another good year

With news of interest rates remaining unchanged well into the New Year, it bodes well for continuing healthy market activity in 2005. Many economists are indicating the Bank of Canada may not raise the overnight rate until the second half of the year.

Many MLS® markets across the country are enjoying their best year in 2004.

For example, Toronto is on pace to set a new record with nearly 80,000 sales recorded thus far. Locally, 2004 is turning into one of the best years on record.

 Low mortgage rates are a key driving force behind the demand for resale housing which is increasingly being seen by Canadians as not only a lifestyle choice, but an investment option.

Winnipeg has had two consecutive years of double-digit price increases for single-family homes. At one point in the year, more than half the homes listed on MLS® sold for or above list price. Multiple offers on homes were not uncommon and helped spur on some of the price increases in a number of MLS® areas. 

Even in December, REALTORS® are experiencing the multiple offer effect through MLS®. It is likely the year will end with dollar volume sales for Winnipeg equaling, or slightly exceeding, the list price dollar volume. This has never happened before.

Also contributing to the overall average MLS® house price increase in 2004 were a number of big-ticket sales. For example, there have been 27 sales year-to-date over $500,000, with one selling for a record high of $1.8 million and another selling for $950,000. There were quite a few selling between $700,000 and $800,000. This compares to 16 sales last year with many of them gravitating near $500,000.

Average MLS® area residential-detached sale price increases have been particularly active in the southwest quadrant of Winnipeg. As of the end of November, Linden Woods is up over 21 per cent from 2003 and sits currently at $277,000. Richmond Lakes/St. Norbert is up 23 per cent to $150,000. Fort Garry has increased 19 per cent and is at $139,000. Fort Richmond’s average residential-detached sale price has gone up 18 per cent to $ 171,000, and Richmond West was up a healthy 12 per cent to $192,000. Finally, Whyte Ridge also increased 12 per cent and now has an average sale price of $228,000.

There are a number of other individual MLS® areas throughout the board’s market area that have enjoyed sizable percentage increases. The largest percentage increase of all of them is in the Rural Municipality of Ritchot (south of St. Norbert along Highway 75). Its average sale price has risen 31 per cent to $159,000. There was another rural municipality that has gone up 35 per cent but it had only 1 sales so it was not considered.

Other MLS® areas to have noticeable bumps in their average sale prices were Fort Rouge/Riverview (17 per cent), River Heights (16 per cent), Norwood (15 per cent), St.Vital (17 per cent), Elmwood (25 per cent), Valley Gardens (16 per cent), Old Transcona (20 per cent), North End (over 20 per cent for all three MLS® areas), West Kildonan (16 per cent), Amber Trails (22 per cent), West Broadway/West End east of Alverstone (21 per cent), West End west of Alverstone (18 per cent), Weston (23 per cent), Deer Lodge (16 per cent), Westwood (16 per cent), RM of Tache ( 19 per cent), RM of Macdonald (17 per cent), RM of St. Andrews (18 per cent), RM of West St. Paul (21 per cent), the Town of Steinbach ( 20 per cent) and the Gimli region (23 per cent).

The two highest average MLS® sale price areas last year — Tuxedo and East St. Paul, respectively — didn’t fare as well this year in terms of increases. 

Tuxedo, while still having the highest average residential-detached sale price at $308,000, by the end of November had a year-to-date increase of only two per cent. East St. Paul is down two per cent to $292,000. 

As well, the rural municipalities of Ste. Anne and Hanover were off two percentage points.

In the first column of next year, we will provide you with the final numbers for 2004 with specific focus on sales activity. The Winnipeg Real Estate Board has already had its best MLS® sales year since 1987 and by far the highest dollar volume ever recorded.

WREB president Cliff King said this year has been quite a remarkable year. Behind the success of the MLS® are of course the over 1,100 REALTORS® who were really put to the test on many occasions to meet their client’s expectations and needs. Through the REALTOR’s professionalism and the continued strength of MLS®, the board facilitated thousands of transactions with very positive results.