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Hot and affordable describes Winnipeg housing market

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WINNIPEG — Winnipeg has one of the hottest housing markets in the country, but also one of the most affordable, according to a new RE/MAX report released today.

The real estate services firm said a recent survey of 19 major Canadian cities showed that over the first couple of months of 2011, Winnipeg had the third biggest increase in house sales (11 per cent) and the fourth biggest gain in the average selling price (seven per cent).

But despite the increase, it still had the fourth lowest average selling price among the 19, at $228,822, and the fourth lowest monthly mortgage carrying costs at $1,020.

RE/MAX said the surge in housing costs is part of a broad-based trend that saw average selling prices increase in 70 per cent of the cities surveyed. And 30 per cent reported higher unit sales.

"Consumer confidence is climbing in conjunction with economic performance, and concerns over a secondary recession fade with each passing day," said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president for RE/MAX of Western Canada. "The mood is cautiously optimistic as first-time buyers enter the market."

The firm said first-time buyers looking to avoid higher interest rates down the road are helping drive up the real-estate market in a number of Canadian regions.

It also noted the federal government’s newly implemented mortgage rules are prompting many first-time buyers to compromise on their expectations, rather than drive them out of the market.

The rule changes reduced the maximum amortization period for government-insured mortgages to 30 from 35 years, and limited the amount people can borrow when refinancing their mortgages to 85 from 90 per cent of the value of their homes.

— Staff/Postmedia News

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