December was a month to remember with WinnipegREALTORS® recording its highest average monthly home sales price ever at $252,414. The previous high was June 2010 at $250,440. This record is not typical of a December. Historically, the highest monthly average sales price tends to be in the busier spring months. The month of the year is becoming far less significant as a determining factor of average monthly sales price and not surprisingly the prevailing tight housing market conditions is the primary cause.

A real driving factor behind the higher average sales price in December is the large influx of new immigrants in combination with historically low rental vacancy rates (currently at .8%). As a result, resale housing and converted condos become the most viable option to meet the shelter needs in the Winnipeg marketplace. 

Another December number worth highlighting is the dollar volume of over $150 million. It shattered the previous highest December dollar volume mark set in 2009 by 22%. Prior to 2009, no December dollar volume exceeded $100 million. Helping December 2010 along was another million dollar house sale in Winnipeg, bringing the year-end total to 11.

Not to be outdone, December MLS® sales of over 650 are the highest on record for this month and it is the second year in a row this month’s sales surpassed 600. Similar to December 2009 when one in three active MLS® listings sold, December 2010 outperformed 2009 due to a higher inventory. A 14% increase in new listings added to the overall supply.

December MLS® unit sales were up 5% (653/619) while dollar volume soared 22% ($153.0 million/$125.3 million) in comparison to the same month last year. 2010 MLS® sales ended up ever so slightly to less than .5% (12,236/12,182) while dollar volume rose 11% ($2.73 billion/$2.47 billion) in comparison to 2009. 17,792 listings were entered on the MLS® system in 2010; up less than 3% over 2009. Conversion of listings to sales fell below 70% in 2010; the first time it dipped below this percentage mark since 2001.

“The numbers do speak for themselves this month as homes were clearly part of consumer’s year end big ticket purchases,” said Claude Davis, outgoing president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “As a result of this record December, WinnipegREALTORS® was able to finish the year edging out 2009 in annual MLS® sales and it eclipsed $2.7 billion in dollar volume for 2010 – another annual dollar volume record.”

“2010 will go down as a year with continued price pressure thus driving up dollar volume,” said Davis.  “Sales still held their own despite affordability becoming more of an issue, especially at the lower end of the market spectrum.” He added, “In 2010, more affordable property types such as condominium townhouses and apartments were sought after as there was an increase in condo sales activity and fewer residential-detached sales.”

There was an actual 13% drop in residential-detached sales activity from 2009 to 2010 in houses selling under $250,000. Another sharp contrast between the two years is the fact residential-detached sales under $200,000 in 2010 represented 39% of total sales whereas in 2009 the percentage was 50%. In comparison, condominium sales under $200,000 captured 59% of total condo sales.

Whether it is choices of various MLS® property types, MLS® neighbourhood areas, street location, house size and condition, they all become factors in determining what a home buyer may qualify for to purchase. Given the ebb and flow of our dynamic housing market with the factors noted above, buyers should be contacting a REALTOR® to advise them on what options best suit them.

The most active residential-detached price range in December was the $200,000 to $249,999 price range with 20% of total sales activity. This was the case for the year with this price range leading the way with 23% of total sales activity.

The average days on market for residential-detached sales in December was 33 days, 1 day off last month and 2 days quicker than December 2009. The year finished off with an average days on market of 27 days, two days quicker than 2009.

Condominium sales in December were most dominant in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range with 35% of all sales while the $200,000 to $249,999 price range was not far behind at 31%. For the year, the most active price range by far was from $150,000 to $199,999 with a market share of 33%. Trailing a distant second was the $100,000 to $149,999 with 22% of total sales.

The average days on market for condominium sales in December was 26 days, over a week faster than last month and one day slower than December 2009. For 2010, average days on market for condo sales was 30 days, a 3 day quicker turnaround than 2009.

More detail on the year that was will be elaborated on at WinnipegREALTORS® 2011 annual forecast breakfast slated for Wednesday, January 19th.  As in past years, a thorough review of the year just completed proves extremely beneficial to extrapolating and gauging trends to help come up with a forecast for the current year. 

Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing over 1,600 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®.   WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession.  REALTOR®, MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned and controlled by the Canadian Real Estate Association and are used under licence.                                    For further information, contact Peter Squire at 786-8854.

Reg Black

Reg Black

CENTURY 21 Sun Country Realty
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