First ever $2-billion year

“It took us 99 years to hit the first billion dollar year and less than five  years to double that,” Winnipeg

REALTORS® president Wes Schollenberg recently told a reporter when asked about reaching the $2-

billion level for the first in the association’s 104-year 


Even forecasters were surprised it happened so quickly — on November 2 — with nearly two months to go in the year.

“There was no question in my mind the $2-billion level was a realistic target based on how MLS® dollar volume has been moving upward with annual double-digit increases for the past five years,” said Peter Squire, WinnipegREALTORS® MLS® analyst. “Another annual increase of just under eight per cent was all that was necessary, however, to have a year-to-date dollar volume increase at the end of October of 21 per cent — that was definitely not something we foresaw.”

The major jump in dollar volume this year is due to increased MLS® sales activity that is running close to eight per cent ahead of 2006’s pace for the first 10 months of 2007.  

Contributing to the increase in overall MLS® sales has been the incredibly strong performance of 

condominium sales activity this year. A Winnipeg

REALTORS® October market release reported condominium sales doubled in volume over the same month last year and was up 30 per cent year-to-date over 2006. 

You know the condo market is strong when a project near the University of Manitoba results in 74 unit sales in one month, many of which sold for well over $200,000. 

One condominium this year on Wellington Crescent sold for $1.25 million. It’s the first time in the 

association’s history that a condominium has sold for over $1 million.

At the top-end of the MLS® market, there have been four $1-million-plus home sales this year, with a $1.3-million  home in Tuxedo selling for the highest price. The fourth home to sell for over $1 million was a 4,408-square-foot riverfront property near St. Vital Park which sold last month for $1.24 million; $86,000 over its list price.

For the period between January 1 and November 2, dollar volume has doubled since 2003. As well, 2004 and 2005 are well off the level attained this year. 

When comparing residential-detached homes selling for over $300,000 from 2003 to 2007, the difference is quite astounding. The latter had 109 sales compared to 804 this year. And the average days homes spent on the market this year is nearly double 2003’s average — 32 versus 60 days.

The next highest price range between $250,000 and $299,999 is not much different. Up to the end of October this year, there were 818 sales, compared to just 114 in 2003. 

Not surprisingly, the lowest price range of under $39,999 has dropped dramatically over the same 

period. There were only 128 sales this year while 2003 had 700. 

The most active price range 

in 2007 is from $160,000 to  $199,999 with over 2,012 sales. In this most popular price range, the average time spent on the market was only 16 days. In comparison, 2003 had just 789 sales with an average time on the market of 27 days.

With the higher price range activity, the average sale price of homes in 2007 is now $182,563, while it was $114,947 in 2003.

Condominium sales  to-date rose more sharply than upper end residential homes. There were 236 condo sales this year in the over $210,000 price range, compared to only 23 in 2003. Clearly, the market for condominiums over $200,000 in 2003 had not been established and the lion’s share of 

activity fell primarily in the $60,000 to $89,999 price ranges.

A major shift in the last four years now sees condominium sales dominant in the $100,000-plus price range. As a result, the under $100,000 market has dropped off significantly. To date, there were only five sales between $60,000 and $69,999 whereas there were 117 in 2003. Moreover, the average days on market for the lowest price range sales has shot up from 31 days in 2003 to 117 days this year.

An interesting statistic is that nearly  80 per cent of all MLS® listings on the market have been sold. As a result, the average days on the market for residential-detached properties in many MLS® areas has been less than three weeks.

The ratio of sale price to list price for homes is now at just under 104 per cent,which means homes sold on MLS® this year throughout the entire WinnipegREALTORS® market territory (the city and well beyond) sold on average for four per cent above list price. 

Some homes attracted a number of multiple offers and sold for a higher amount over the list price than the equivalent of  four per cent above the list price. 

While many homes may have been sold above the list price, 50 per cent of all sales have actually occurred at or less than the list price.

Under the current market conditions, the best advice for the consumer is to call a REALTOR® to perform a thorough comparable market analysis (CMA) and then determine how to best position your home on MLS®.