Winnipeggers are scooping up $1-million-plus homes at a record pace in 2012, with five more changing hands last month, including a Wellington Crescent mansion that sold for $2 million.
WinnipegRealtors said 19 of these big-ticket properties have been sold so far this year through the local Multiple Listing Service, with at least three more sales likely before the end of the year.
"Prior to this, the most we sold in one year was 15," said Peter Squire, the association's residential market analyst. "And I don't recall ever seeing a month with five (such sales), including a $2-million one." Squire noted the 9,000-square-foot Wellington Crescent mansion was only the second $2-million MLS sale in the association's 109-year history.
Glen Sytnyk of Re/Max Performance Realty, the selling agent for one of the million-dollar-plus homes, said thanks to rising property values and a growing appreciation for real estate as an investment, these kinds of big-dollar deals aren't the rarity they once were.
"A million-dollar home is not a big deal anymore. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but it's not," Sytnyk said. "We're only five days into December, and I've already sold another $1-million-plus home."
He said he has two other buyers, one from Calgary, the other from Victoria, who are moving here and are looking for homes in that price range. And three other agents who also have clients looking for similar-priced properties have called him in the last week.
"I've never seen so many million-dollar-plus buyers (at one time). So there is no question there is a bigger demand for bigger homes."
Sytnyk and Dave McKenzie, the selling agent for the $2-million house, said the people buying these luxury homes include Winnipeggers and people moving here from other provinces or countries. They include dual-income earners with children, empty-nesters, and younger buyers.
Sytnyk said ongoing volatility in the stock markets is one reason a growing number of Winnipeggers are investing in real estate.
"I've heard lots of people talk that way about the stock market. They've had it (with losing money on their investments). And these interest rates no doubt are helping, too."
"It (buying and selling a family home) is also one of our only tax-free investments we can make," McKenzie added.
Squire and WinnipegRealtors president Shirley Przybyl said it's unusual to see so many luxury homes changing hands this late in the year. Squire noted there was a 25 per cent jump last month in sales of homes priced at $500,000 or more.
"It's showing a growing confidence in Winnipeg when people are spending that kind of money on a home," Przybyl said. "They're not only saying 'we want to stay in Winnipeg, but we want to live in a nicer property.' "
A total of 847 properties sold last month through the MLS. That was the third-highest November sales total on record, down only four per cent from the record of 881 in November 2011. Thanks to the number of higher-priced homes that sold, WinnipegRealtors did set a new November record for dollar volume of sales at $215.8 million, seven per cent above November 2011's $202.1 million.
November big month for sales of high-priced homes
THE other four million-dollar properties that sold last month in Winnipeg included:
A 4,000-square-foot home in Headingley that sold for $1,450,000.
A 4,500-square-foot home on Park Boulevard that sold for $1,400,000.
A 2,490-square-foot bungalow in Charleswood that sold for $1,350,000.
A 3,300-square-foot home in Linden Woods that sold for $1,217,500.
-- source: WinnipegRealtors