Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Booming condo sales help fuel real estate's record summer

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The summer of 2013 will go down in the record books as the busiest summer for resale-home sales in more than a century.

The Winnipeg Realtors Association said Friday 2,680 properties sold for a total of $680 million through the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) during July and August.

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Peter Squire, the association's residential market analyst, said the dollar volumes for both months easily surpassed the previous records. And the unit sales fell just a whisker short -- in August's case just one property short of the record set in 2005.

"But I don't think we've ever had a better summer in terms of both sales and dollar volume," he added. "It really was a spectacular summer story."

The WRA said August's sales total of 1,292 units was a four per cent improvement over the 1,241 units that sold in August of last year. And the dollar volume of $329.9 million was nine per cent higher than August 2012's total of $298.7 million.

While low interest rates and strong consumer confidence continue to fuel demand for resale homes in Winnipeg, Squire and WRA president Richard Dettman said the biggest contributor to this year's summer sales boom was an increase in new and active listings.

New listings in August were up 15 per cent from the same time last year, they said, and the inventory of homes on the market was up 20 per cent.

"The summer's return to a more balanced market benefitted everyone," Dettman said.

"For buyers it meant more choice, and for sellers it resulted in enhanced market activity and strong pricing."

He said he also expects sales activity to remain strong well into the fall.

"We have a strong, viable, local market..."

Squire said another big story this year has been the strength of the local condominium market.

"Condos are just shooting the lights out," he said, noting sales were up 16.5 per cent in August and 14 per cent for the first eight months of the year. And while they still account for more than 70 per cent of all residential sales, sales of single-detached homes were up by a more modest six per cent in August, and were down four per cent year-to-date, he added.

He noted one of the three million-dollar-plus sales recorded last month involved a Waterfront Drive condo that sold for a princely $1.3 million.

While it wasn't the city's first million-dollar-plus condo sale -- two units in the complex at One Wellington Crescent previously surpassed that mark -- Squire said it's the first time a downtown condo has sold through the MLS for that kind of money.

 

-- Murray McNeill

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2013 B5

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