The first three months of this year’s local real estate market

The first three months of this year’s local real estate market got off to an excellent start.

MLS® sales for the three-month period showed an eight per cent increase over the same period last year, according to a recently-released WinnipegREALTORS® market report.

“Helping this result was a stellar March performance,” said Peter Squire, the market analyst for the association. Sales were up five per cent over last March.

“There were 1,058 sales in March and 2,445 in the first quarter,” he said.

Squire said a new listings drop of nearly nine per cent in combination with strong sales resulted in a slight decline in active inventory at the end of March.

“This is the exact opposite of what has been happening over the last few years,” said Squire, “with the number of active listings spiking upward significantly.”

As a result, the overall MLS® market is in balanced market conditions with four months of inventory, he added.

On the other hand, he explained, a breakdown of the two main property types showed a marked difference between residential-detached home sales and condominium sales by the end of last month.

“Based on sales activity and 2,259 residential-detached listings at the end of March, there would be three months of inventory available for sale, if no further listings came onto the market, while the 813 condominium listings would be closer to a five-month supply being available,” said Squire.

“It is really important for buyers and sellers in any local market to understand that one size does not fit all,” said Stewart Elston, the president of WinnipegREALTORS®.

“You can have varying degrees of competitive market at play — for example, supply and demand — between and within many MLS® property types,” he explained.

“In evaluating your property’s salability, some questions need to be asked:

• “What price range does the property fall in?

• “What city neighbourhood or rural municipality is it located in?

• “What attributes does it have in comparison to other similar sized properties?”

• “Are they (properties) well maintained and upgraded, if necessary?”

Using examples from the local market, Squire demonstrated the wide variations in residential-detached inventories across the city.

“After three months of sales activity,” he said, “the result shows neighbourhoods such as St. Boniface, Norwood, River Heights, East Fort Garry and Richmond West have either sold out, or nearly sold out, all of the listings that have come on the market this year.”

Some other neighbourhoods with high conversions of sales-to-listings are Crestview, Fort Rouge, Richmond West, Fort Richmond and Linden Woods.

“With the entire market region averaging 51 per cent of residential-detached listing being sold by the end of march,” said Squire, “the rest tend to be all over the map.

“This means that many neighbourhoods still have a higher percentage of conversions of listings-to-sales, but lots of them, including rural municipalities, fall under the market region average,” he added.

“Just as Vancouver’s market is not the same as Calgary’s or Toronto’s, neither do all our local neighbourhoods behave the same way,” said Elston.

The market report indicated that condominiums rebounded from a poor showing in last year’s first quarter. The 328 condo sales recorded to the end of March were up 15 per cent over the same period in 2015, and were eight per cent over the 10-year average. March condo sales increased 25 per cent over March 2015, and were 20 per cent over the 10-year monthly average.

Another development was a 19 per cent increase in residential-detached sales over $300,000 in the first quarter this year, when compared to the same period in 2015. As a result, the year-to-date average residential-detached selling price was $300,844, a six per cent increase when compared to the first quarter of 2015.

The most active price range for residential-detached sales was between $250,000 to $299,999 at 22 per cent. For condos, the most active price range was between $200,000 and $249,999 at 20 per cent.