Annual MLS® dollar volume increased for 16th year in a row

Last year was a banner year for WinnipegREALTORS®, according to the association's year-end wrap-up.

Both MLS® sales and MLS® dollar volume established new all-time records in the association’s 113-year history.

In terms of sales, the 13,632 transactions in 2016 were five per cent higher than 2015 and four per cent over the previous record of 13,079 sales in 2007.

Dollar volume of $3.78 billion exceeded last year’s record high of $3.50 billion by nearly eight per cent.

“Annual records for dollar volume have been achieved for 16 consecutive years,” said Peter Squire, the market analyst for WinnipegREALTORS. “This shows that the average MLS® selling price has always managed to climb high enough each year to offset any years in which sales were unable to match or eclipse the previous year’s total.”

The 2016 residential-detached average selling price finished up three per cent ahead to 2015. The $302,727 average price reached in 2016 is the first time that the residential–detached or single-family home average selling price has edged over the $300,000 benchmark level.

It should also be noted 2016 was also the first time that residential-detached properties represented $3 billion in real estate transactions.

Residential-detached sales activity throughout the various MLS® zones of Winnipeg and the outlying municipalities gained nearly a percentage point of market share over 2015 to represent nearly 26 per cent of total sales.

The second most active area was southwest Winnipeg at 19 per cent.

As for condominiums, the average selling price of $235,508 was down ever so slightly from the 2015 average selling price of $236,204.

“Without a doubt, the abundance of choice in condominiums — resale and new — has kept condominium prices in check,” said Squire. “The average selling price has remained within the $230,000 to $240,000 price range since 2013.”

2016 residential-detached and condominium sales were impressive with the former reaching a new high of 9,947 and condos ending up at 1,745, second only to 2014’s 1,798 record total.

Percentage increases over 2015 were four per cent and eight per cent, respectively.

“Strong fundamentals such as low unemployment and better than expected population growth in our market region manifested itself in brisk MLS® sales activity throughout the year,” said outgoing-president Stewart Elston. “Helping us along to a record year was the more than adequate supply of affordable MLS® property type listings to choose from.

“Our biggest property type percentage increases in 2016 actually occurred in property types other than residential-detached and condominiums,” he added.

Townhouse sales catapulted 34 per cent, resort properties jumped 24 per cent, vacant land was up 17 per cent and mobile homes resulted in another double-digit increase of 12 per cent.

Going into 2017, one important development is the new federal government-imposed changes to mortgage qualifying rules. These rules came into effect in the fourth quarter of 2016, so it is still too early to tell how much of an impact they may have on the housing market . But the new regulations are a legitimate concern. This is especially the case with first-time buyers, who make up a key segment of the real estate market.

Gregory Klump, the Canadian Real Estate Association’s chief economist, said, “First-time buyers support a cascade of other homes changing hands, making them the linchpin of the housing market.”

Another issue to watch out for is the city’s impact fee on new homes built in select suburban areas of the city. These new fees come into effect on May 1, 2017. The fee is roughly $5,100 per 1,000 square feet.

If building permit applications are submitted prior to May 1, applicants will not have to pay the impact fee as long as the permit is issued within six months and construction begins prior to November 1, 2017.