April 8, 2015
March MLS® Sales Up 9%
WINNIPEG - More spring-like weather this March compared to the previous few years helped spur more sales activity. MLS® sales climbed over 1,000 and ended up being just 2% off the ten-year March average of 1,025. First quarter sales activity showed a similar pattern, also off 2% from the ten-year average of 2,318 MLS® sales.
MLS® dollar volume of $276 million was up 11% over March of last year and up 9% over the ten-year average.
New and available listings continue to be impressive when compared to last March. New listings entered on the MLS® in March increased 33% while the active listings or existing inventory were up 29% to 4,338 MLS® listings. Whatever is being sold is more than being replenished by the entry of new listings on the system.
You have to go back to 1999 to find as many listings available for sale at this time of year and back to 1995 when there were more new listings entered on MLS® in March. For the first quarter, 5,499 listings have been entered on MLS®, an increase of 37% over the 10-year average.
March MLS® unit sales were up 9% (1,005/919) while dollar volume increased 11% ($276.23 million/$249.1 million) in comparison to the same month last year. Year-to-date MLS® sales increased less than 5% (2,265/2,164) while dollar volume was up just over 5% ($600.0 million/$570.9 million). The 5,499 listings entered on MLS® for the first quarter are up 26% from the same period in 2014.
“Conditions are ideal for buyers to take advantage of a healthy supply of listings and historically low mortgage rates,” said David Mackenzie, President of WinnipegREALTORS®. “Our mortgage brokers are telling us we have likely not seen rates as low as we have now since the 50’s or 60’s.”
MacKenzie added, “The much more balanced market has kept prices totally in line with last year so affordability remains a real strength of our local market compared to other Canadian cities.”
The most active residential-detached price range in March was the $250,000 to $299,999 price range at 19%. It eked out a slight edge over the $200,000 to $249,999 range which represented 18% of total sales. 3 out of 4 residential-detached sales in March were between $150,000 and $350,000.
For condominium sales activity in March, the busiest price range was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 28%. Not far behind was the range from $200,000 to $249,999 at 25%.
The average days on market for residential-detached sales was 28 days, 6 days quicker than last month and the same pace as March 2014. The average days on market for condominium sales was 45 days, 3 days faster than last month and 13 days off the pace set in March 2014.
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April 8, 2013
A BELOW AVERAGE MARCH FOR MLS® SALES
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MLS® Sales Down 26%; Dollar Volume Off 15%
WINNIPEG - Will someone turn the pilot light back on and warm up our MLS® market? You have to go back to the old Winnipeg Jets era when the likes of Teemu Selanne and Thomas Steen were entertaining fans at the Winnipeg Arena to find the last March where sales were lower than March 2013. It just so happened to be the 1994-1995 NHL lockout season where only 48 games were played. Sound familiar! And lack of scoring or conversions of listings to sales clearly hurt sales activity in March. To use another sports analogy, many buyers decided to sit on the sidelines and not venture out onto the field of play.
Listings were not the issue as new ones coming on the market were down less than 7% while the active inventory at the end of March remains up 4% over the same time last year. A collective buyer pause seemed to engulf the local real estate market. If it helps restore some supply-demand balance to what has been one of the tightest resale housing markets in the country, this development should be viewed favourably by buyers feeling unduly pressured by a lack of listings.
The extent of the decline in sales activity is evident when you consider March 2013 MLS® sales were 19 per cent below the 10-year sales average of 1,043 for March. You more or less expect March now to consistently deliver over 1,000 MLS® unit sales.
On a quarterly basis you only have to go back four years to find a poorer MLS® sales performance and dollar volume is the third highest on record behind the previous two years.
March MLS® unit sales decreased 26% (844/1,138) while dollar volume was off 15% ($224.7 million/264.7 million) in comparison to the same month last year. Year-to-date MLS® unit sales are down 13% (2,156/2,483) while dollar volume dropped 6% ($550.4 million/$589.0 million) in comparison to the same period last year. Listings entered on MLS® for the first three months have decreased less than 4% in comparison to the same period in 2012.
“Instead of March madness it was Match calmness with buyers noticeably absent from our MLS® market at this time of year,” said Richard Dettman, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. In looking more closely at what happened, the drop off in buyer activity was three times greater in the first-time homebuyer price ranges than in the upper ones. In fact, our highest price range of over $500,000 clearly outperformed March 2012 in sales, less days on market and having a higher sale price of $1,650,000.”
In a recent membership survey WinnipegREALTORS® conducted this year over 90 per cent of the respondents stated they either strongly agree, agree or somewhat agree that they are having difficulty finding homes for first-time buyers which they can afford. This result has never been more definitive in its conclusion.
While some vendors may be unrealistic in their expectations for what sales price they expect to get for their home, Winnipeg still has some of the most affordable home prices in the country so other front end costs such as high provincial land transfer taxes (no first-time homebuyer exemption in Manitoba) have to be considered when you do further analysis on this affordability issue.
“ Good or bad, we do not overreact either way as one month does not make a trend so we will be watching April very closely to see if spring thaw brings many more buyers out of the woodwork and MLS® sales are more in line with our expectations,” said Dettman.
The most active residential-detached price range in March was from $250,000 to $299,999 at 22% of total sales activity. Second most active was the $200,000 to $249,999 range at 18%. For condominiums, the busiest price range was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 30 % of total sales. The $200,000 to $249,999 price range had another 21% of condominium sales.
The average days on market for residential-detached sold properties in March was 28 days, one day off last month’s pace and 3 days slower than March 2012. As for condominium sales, the average days on market was 27 days, 19 days quicker than last month and 4 days ahead of March 2012.
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Royal LePage Prime
Recognizing potential major expenses in a new home
When you see a new home you like on the market, it's easy to get distracted by all the features you love – the wrap-around backyard deck or the spacious rec room with plenty of space for entertaining. You just need to make sure that in all that excitement you don’t overlook any expensive maintenance issues that could be just around the corner.
Nothing lasts forever. The major components of every home – from the furnace to the roof shingles – need to be replaced eventually. Knowing when such maintenance issues are likely to arise can help you make a smarter decision about the home you're considering.
How do you do that?
When viewing a property, ask for the age of the major components of the home, such as the roof shingles, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and appliances. Roof shingles may look merely weathered in spots – and you might think they have years of service left – when, in fact, they're due to be replaced in a year.
Also pay close attention to the backyard deck, fencing, flooring, and windows. Do any of those components look aged, worn, and in need of repair or replacement sometime soon?
Finally, don't forget to check the kitchen and bathrooms. Sinks, faucets,bathtubs, showers, and cabinetry have a life-span of about 10-15 years.
Of course, there are things you can't see, such as wiring, plumbing, venting, and other components of a property that may require maintenance soon. That's why it's so important to make any offer to purchase a home conditional on passing an inspection by a qualified home inspector.
Want more ideas on buying the right home for you? Call me today.
Royal LePage Prime
March 8, 2013
FEBRUARY MLS® SALES DROP OFF 11%
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MLS® New Listings Decline 12%
WINNIPEG – Call it what you will, whether some rather harsh winter weather conditions or just softening in the local marketplace for this time of year, there was a real parallel in the drop off of new listings and sales at 12 and 11% respectively. The conversion of new or current listings to sales remained the same this February as in the past two years. So one way of interpreting what happened this year to precipitate less sales activity is there were less property owners willing to put their property on the market. At the same time, buyers at least for single family homes did not reach into the older existing inventory to any great extent to buy what was on the market.
One area where home sales were down significantly were in the price ranges under $200,000 where the inventory was well off what existed last year at the beginning of February. They also as a property type experienced a drop in the percentage of listings being converted to sales and consequently saw overall market share in February represent only two out of every three sales. It is usually closer to three out of four in a good month.
Condominium sales activity was much closer to last year as inventory was actually higher than what existed in February 2012 and conversions were similar to last year.
A sign of less demand this February was the percentage of sales that went for over list price. In single family homes or residential-detached properties, 35% of total sales went for greater than list price where in February 2012 there were close to 44% achieving higher than list price. The same occurred in condominium sales activity with a drop in sales above list price from 31% to 24%.
As a result of less MLS® sales activity in February, MLS® inventory for all property types loosened up to nearly three and one-half months compared to three months last year.
February MLS® unit sales were down 11% (698/781) while dollar volume decreased 6% ($178.7 million/$191.0 million) in comparison to the same month last year. Year-to-date MLS® unit sales are down 2% (1,312/1,345) while dollar volume is up less than 1% ($325.7 million/$$324.3 million) in comparison to the same period last year.
“We are still converting the same percentage of MLS® listings we did in our last two near record sales years so there is no reason to get overly concerned with what happened this February,” said Richard Dettman, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “As we see in a number of Winnipeg MLS® areas, there is a real scarcity of active listings so not surprisingly you cannot convert what you do not have. What is something we need to watch more closely is the underperformance of the residential-detached property type which remains the predominant one in our MLS® system.”
Dettman added, “March MLS® market results will be more revealing as it is a busier month for real estate activity and helps set the stage for the spring market. With spring around the corner and aggressive lending mortgage rates being offered up, it may indeed kickstart better performance in the residential-detached property type category which is the most price sensitive due to its higher prices in comparison to other residential property types.”
The most active residential-detached price range in February was the $250,000 to $299,999 at 22% of total sales activity. The second most active price range was from $200,000 to $249,999 at 17%. The highest residential-detached sale price was $1,075,000 and the lowest only $20,000. For condominiums, it was a tie with the $200,000 to $249,999 and $150,000 to $199,999 price ranges both having 24 sales or 25% each of total market share.
The average days on market for residential-detached sales was 27 days, 2 weeks faster than last month and one ahead of the pace set in February 2012. The average days on market for condominium sales was 46 days, 5 days slower than last month and 15 days off the turnover in February 2012. Note: A change in how condominium units are being sold and accounted for in new projects is overstating how long they have actually been on the market.
BEST JANUARY IN 16 YEARS
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Only Second Time January Exceeds 600 MLS® Sales
WINNIPEG - You have to go back to 1997 to reveal an unusually exceptional January MLS® sales performance. 660 unit sales to be exact and nothing has come close ever since. Even this January at 616 is 7% off the best January in WinnipegREALTORS® 110- year history.
More recent history shows there were a few Januarys in the early 2000s which flirted with the 600 mark level but still fell short. Whatever way you look at it, January 2013 is a great kickstart to the year with the second best unit sales on record for this month. Not surprisingly, a new monthly dollar volume record for January was set as well, given better than average sales and prices remaining firm. A real impetus behind these strong sales was an 11% increase in MLS® listings (1,164 new properties). These were a welcome addition to the existing inventory and gave buyers more options to choose from.
Condominiums sales stood out with a 26% increase over the same month last year and vacant land continued its torrid pace from 2012 with a 43% jump. There were a number of MLS® areas showing an improvement in higher conversions of listings to sales with respect to residential-detached properties. Two examples in Winnipeg were the Deer Lodge and West Kildonan MLS® areas while the rural MLS® area which includes Lac du Bonnet saw a marked improvement from last January.
January MLS® sales were up 9% (614/564) while dollar volume climbed 10% ($146.9 million/$133.3 million) in comparison to the same month last year.
“While only one month, this January result is encouraging and indicates strong market fundamentals are well in play as has been the case in recent years,” said Richard Dettman, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “All markets are local to a large extent, so to ascribe a national market perspective to Winnipeg would be ill-advised at this point.”
Nearly two of every three residential-detached properties sold for below list price in January and the same result applied for condominiums. Where the two property types differed was in the percentage of properties selling for above list price. 24% of residential-detached sold above list price while only 17% of condominiums ended up selling for more than list price.
“Our increase in new listings and having a larger inventory overall in comparison to the last few years at this time has created more balance in our market,” said Dettman. “Buyers should find some positive news in this emerging trend.”
The most active residential-detached price range was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 21%. The $200,000 to $249,999 price range captured 18% of the market while $250,000 to 299,999 registered 19%. For condominiums, the $150,000- $199,999 price range led the way at 37% of total sales.
The average days on market for residential-detached sold properties was 44 days, two days slower than January 2012. The average days on market for condominiums was 41 days, six days slower than January 2012.
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As a real estate professional, I am asked continually about timing. When is the best time to buy? When is the best time to sell? No matter what time of year, there are pros and cons with what the market is doing. Market conditions can vary week to week, month to month, and for certain season to season. With our feet firmly planted in the fall market, I wanted to highlight some great things about being a buyer right now in our current market…(in no particular order):
1. No snow on the ground – you can see the defects! Often the winter snow covers things up like foundation cracks, shingles, decks, yard, driveways, other concrete work etc.
2. Good Deals. The fall market has softened from the busy summer months. Bidding wars are fewer and far between, and prices aren’t going as much over list as they did. Inventory levels remain solid explaining the shift to more balanced market, which means more selection for the buyer.
3. Avoiding the spring market. Let’s face it, spring sees a flurry of action in the real estate market. Usually inventory levels are down in spring which drives competition. Currently, buyers can be a bit more selective and more
4. Great interest rates. Plain and simple, rates are low which means your monthly payments are lower.
5. Better rates for moving companies. The winter months are lean for many industries, with moving companies being one of them. Take advantage of lower prices and easier booking.
6. A buyer can be more thorough. With less competition, a buyer has a greater chance of actually writing an offer conditional upon a home inspection, financing, property disclosure statements, amongst others.
7. Possession can still be before Christmas. This isn’t true for all sales, but many still have possession dates being before the new year. Nothing is better than spending Christmas in a new home…think of the parties!!!
8. More motivated sellers. In the fall and winter months, many of the sellers are motivated. They simply aren’t trying to make a quick buck, but are selling because they have to. This allows the buyer to negotiate a better price and structure a deal on their terms.
9. Transferring your kids to a different schools are easier this time of year. The systems are in place, bus counts are known, therefore it’s quick and easy to fit your child(ren) into the system.
10. Quick equity increase potential. The key word here is potential. If you are purchasing this fall/winter, there is a good chance spring will yield another increase in prices, which means more (and quicker) equity for you. I can’t stress this enough, I am not a fortune teller and cannot predict the future. However, I can look at statistics and tell you that prices tend to climb in Spring.
If there are any further questions or comments, I’m happy to help!