March market soars to record volumes and sets a new all-time sales record

By Peter Squire

March 2021 set a new all-time monthly record for MLS® sales and dollar volume. Sales of 1,975 rose 80% over March 2020 and 60% over the 5-year monthly average for this month. Dollar volume took off as well with $663.9 million transacted — a 98% increase over the same month last year.

Brisk sales activity left listing supply down 42% from 2020 with 2,597 listings available for sale going into April. However, an encouraging sign is the fact new listings coming on the market in March recorded a 14% rise to 2,483 listings. They are also up 11% over the 5-year average.

A clear indicator of how firmly entrenched the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board (WRREB) is in a seller’s market is that the equivalent of 76% of all active listings — or current inventory — sold in March. This compares to a more typical conversion of 24% as was the case in 2020.

“Sales percentage increases are well distributed among all property types with a number of them, including condominiums, showing triple-digit growth over last year,” said Kourosh Doustshenas, president of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board. “They make single-family homes’ gain appear modest at 56%.”

The 288 condominium sales in March increased 116% over March 2020 and are up 81% with 579 for the first three months over the same period last year.

Year-to-date MLS® sales of 4,144 are up 56% while dollar volume of $1.34 billion is ahead of last year’s pace by 73%. The 5,734 listings entered on the MLS® for the first three months are on par with 2020 and 5% higher than the 5-year average.  

Similar to March 2021, year-to-date single-family home sales are in the one-in-two ratio of achieving above list prices. It was less than one in five for the same period in 2020. This has resulted in an average first quarter sales price of $370,000 — a 16% increase over the same period in 2020.

Condominiums recorded nearly 13% selling above list price. First quarter average sales price is $241,461 — a 5% rise over same period in 2020.

“The spring market presents a prime opportunity for those thinking of selling their property to realize a positive outcome for their listing given current market conditions,” said Doustshenas. “It is very conceivable now that WRREB will break through the 2,000 MLS® sales threshold in April and see buyers, especially first-timers, seek other affordable options besides single-family homes.”

For single-family homes, the most active price range in March 2021 was from $500,000 to $749,999 with nearly 18% of total sales. Not far behind were the two price ranges from $300,000 to $349,999 and $350,000 to $399,999 with 14% each. The once dominant $250,000 to $299,999 price range was in fifth place with just over 10%, and was even beaten out by the $400,000 to $449,999 range with a slightly higher market share percentage.

Condominium sales activity remains most active in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range at close to 22% with the next higher price range of $200,000 to $249,999 second at almost 19%.

Many neighbourhoods within Winnipeg saw March single-family home sales outpace what listings remained at month end. Notable are a few rural MLS® areas in the same situation. They include Headingley North, RM of Brokenhead, RM of Springfield, RMs of Rockwood and Woodlands and the Lake Winnipeg beaches area along the east shore.

March condominium market activity in some MLS® areas joined this well-established trend of high
single-family conversions of listings to sales with the RM of Ritchot and Winnipeg’s Crestview being two examples where there were more sales than listings at the end of the month.

“If the first three months is any indication of what lies ahead, 2021 will supplant 2020 as it did 2019 as the best year on record,” said Doustshenas.

“It is important to understand all real estate markets are local and can vary within a large regional market such as ours,” said Marina R. James, CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board. “You are best advised to consult a REALTOR®, a market expert with the knowledge and experience to navigate you through our 2021 spring market.”

Peter Squire is the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board’s Vice-President, External Relations & Market