By Peter Squire
Luxury homes in Manitoba have always been much more affordable than in many other major Canadian markets. In places like Toronto and Vancouver, for example, a million dollars is not even the average sales price anymore and is often considered typical for a single family-detached home listing or sale.
However, million dollar home sales have increased in the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board market. A new benchmark level was set in 2020 with 64 million dollar plus sales, a 60% increase over the 40 sales in 2019. Despite this significant jump in luxury home purchases, they still only represented 0.6% of all homes sold in 2020. If you add the next lower price range level of $750,000 to $999,999, you have another 1.4% or 2% altogether for upscale homes sold for above $750,000 in our local market.
The highest sales price was also achieved in 2020 at $3,750,000.
It stands to reason luxury homes offer all the bells and whistles that any discerning buyer would desire. Beyond all the top drawer luxury included in the construction and features of a luxury home, more square footage tends to be common, both inside and outside the home. Right now in Winnipeg a home is listed for over $3 million and has over 6,000 square feet of finished space (includes the basement), 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a home theater, a well-equipped gym and oversized triple-car garage. And not surprisingly it also has a large backyard with attractive decking, immaculate landscaping and an inground pool.
Chris Pennycook, past-president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA), who was involved in the local market’s most expensive condo sale ever in 2020 — it sold for $1,790,000 — said last year in a CTV story about expensive homes that the most valued quality for Manitobans and real estate is location, which is evident in the fact that many of Winnipeg’s high-end homes are in the same areas. He cited Tuxedo as one of them and this was driven home in 2020 when for the first time the area’s average sale price was over $1 million. It is important to point out that Tuxedo’s median price (mid-point of all sales) was $830,000, so there were some much higher priced homes in this neigh-bourhood including the highest one noted above.
With regards to specific areas of Winnipeg, the southwest area of the city is where many luxury homes are located in new emerging developments such as Waverley West, as well as in more established neighbourhoods including River Heights, Linden Woods and Charleswood. It is also worth noting that 2020 saw one in four homes in this area of the city sell from $500,000 to $749,999. This is considerably higher than the city’s 2020 average sales price of around $350,000.
In established older neighbourhoods like River Heights, million dollar plus luxury home sales come from brand new infills on existing lots so you can get the best of both worlds — a brand new contemporary home in an area with all the advantages of a mature community. You just have to walk, cycle or drive down Wellington Crescent to see how it has and continues to be reshaped with new infill luxury homes on magnificent properties.
Luxury homes sell outside Winnipeg as well.
In fact, South Headingley in 2020 had an average single-family dwelling sales price of $986,000. Other rural areas that had sales for over $1 million in 2020 were North Headingley, East St. Paul, St. Andrews, Springfield and St. Clements. One of the most interesting property that realized a price of $1 million was a large modern custom built home tucked away in the Whiteshell at Dorothy Lake.
The condo market had four properties sell for over $1 million with all taking place in Winnipeg on prestigious locations such as Wellington Crescent and Waterfront Drive.
It’s still too early to tell how things will progress in 2021, but with overall home sales being so brisk and well ahead of 2020 so far this year, there is no reason to not expect this will be another good year for luxury home sales in our city.
Peter Squire is the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board’s Vice-President, External Relations & Market Intelligence.