Winnipeg among centres setting year-to-date sales records

At one time there was little difference between the Edmonton and Winnipeg housing markets when computing affordability. 

Not any more. 

Edmonton house prices have gone through the roof in relation to Winnipeg’s market, according to a recent report by the Canadian Real Estate Association. 

In fact, year-over-year house prices jumped a staggering 46.3 per cent in Edmonton by the end of September, the highest price surge in Canada. And, for the first time ever Edmonton surpassed oil-rich Calgary, which in recent months had experienced the nation’s highest home price increases. 

In Calgary, the year-over-year increase was 45.7 per cent. 

Despite surpassing Calgary, Edmonton’s average MLS® residential price was lower at $278,732. Calgary’s average MLS® residential price was $369,928, according to CREA.

In Winnipeg, the average MLS® residential price was $151,798, an increase of 9.5 per cent when compared to the end of the third quarter in 2005.

The MLS® residential average price in Canada’s major markets was $294,245 in the third quarter this year, up 10.1 per cent from levels recorded for the same quarter one year ago. Average prices surpassed all previous quarterly records in many major markets, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, London, Kitchener, St. Catharines and Sudbury, reported CREA. 

New sales records for the year-to-date in September were set in a number of major markets, including Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal. 

MLS® sales in Winnipeg to the end of September tallied 9,846 units while by the end of September last year there had been 9,709 sales.

Despite the strong showings up to the third quarter this year when compared to the same period in 2005, Winnipeg Real Estate Board president Walter Boni said prices are starting to moderate and listings are rising.

“Our active listings are up 15 per cent over last year so there is definitely a greater supply of homes to choose from,” Boni added.

“Canada’s housing market continues to head for a soft landing,” said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump. “With the housing market becoming more balanced, price gains are slowing down in a number of major markets. 

“CREA’s October 2006 forecast indicates those trends will continue over the rest of the year and in 2007,” he added.

CREA also reported that seasonally-adjusted MLS® residential new listings in Canada’s major markets numbered 143,760 units in the third quarter, an increase of 3.8 per cent compared to the previous quarter. This was the highest level in more than 15 years, and the second highest level for any quarter on record. 

“Solid market fundamentals remain in place, including high levels of employment, upbeat consumer confidence and rising incomes,” said CREA president Alan Tennant.

The Bank of Canada also helped potential home buyers by not raising its interest rate.

The rate of some fixed-rate mortgages have even been inching downward in recent weeks.

According to mortgage brokerage Invis, the current climate of cooling rates and continued innovations in the marketplace is enabling mortgage consumers to boost their buying power.

“We’re not seeing much upward pressure on fixed and variable rates right now, so one way for borrowers to take advantage of this is to opt for a variable-rate mortgage that can be converted to a fixed rate later on,” said Andrew Moor, president and CEO of Invis.

“In this rate environment, a savvy consumer who pursues this strategy ... could potentially pocket thousands of dollars in interest savings.”