National association revises housing forecast: local market is doing better than anticipated

In a revised forecast for 2005, the Canadian Real Estate Association is predicting that Manitoba is headed for a record year in homes sales through MLS®.

The Winnipeg Real Estate Board has already reported that MLS® sales had broken the $1-billion barrier in the shortest time in its 102-year history. The barrier was broken on August 3, nearly a month and a half earlier than last year, which held the previous record for quickest annual achievement of $1 billion in MLS® sales.

WREB president Ruthe Penner said “2005 is clearly another record-setting year when it comes to setting new heights in dollar volume sales.”

For all of Canada, CREA is predicting that the resale housing market is headed for its best year on record. 

CREA predicts 466,200 properties will be sold through the Multiple Listing Service® in 2005, up 1.1 per cent from the current annual record of 461,112 sales set in 2004.

“Sales momentum picked up over the second quarter, culminating in a new monthly record for sales activity in June. This sales momentum will carry over to the third quarter,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “In addition, many home buyers will jump into the market this fall to take advantage of pre-approved mortgage rates if the Bank of Canada rate is hiked in September as widely expected.”

Besides Manitoba, exceptionally strong sales in the second quarter of 2005 pushed MLS® home sales to new annual records in British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Seasonally-adjusted national MLS® homes sales hit 122,895 units in the second quarter of 2005, up 8.2 per cent from the 113,574 units sold in the first quarter of 2005. 

“Low interest rates are continuing to fuel strong housing market activity in all regions of the country,” said Klump. “Home buyers in many markets across the country took advantage of mortgage interest rate cuts in the second quarter of 2005, especially in British Columbia and Alberta.”

“Sales activity will gradually edge lower as interest rates creep higher next year. Even so, transactions through MLS® are forecast to reach their third-highest annual level on record in 2006, declining just 2.2 per cent compared to 2004,” predicted Klump.

The CREA forecast estimates the annual MLS® average home price in Canada will be $245,500 in 2005, up 8.5 per cent from 2004, and will increase by a further 6.5 per cent to $261,400 in 2006. 

“Mortgage interest rates will remain low by historical standards, making it possible for many home buyers to finance more expensive home purchases,” added Klump.