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More homes temper prices

Winnipeg homebuyers have more homes to choose from these days, and that will help temper price increases in 2014, according to the latest forecast from Re/Max of Western Canada.

The real estate firm predicts the average selling price in Winnipeg will rise by three per cent to $275,000 in 2014.

It said the average selling price for this year is expected to be $267,000, which would be a five per cent increase from 2012's average price of $255,058.

"Although the overall demand (for homes) was strong throughout 2013, the first signs of a changing climate have emerged," the company says in its 2014 Housing Market Outlook report.

"After years of chronic shortages, inventory has begun to build, pushing the conditions toward balanced territory and providing purchasers with a welcome reprieve from the unrelenting urgency, bidding wars and pressure on prices that previously characterized the market."

It says because buyers will have greater choice and competition among listings will be heightened, sellers should be careful when deciding the listing price for their home.

Although Re/Max expects a moderate increase in selling prices next year, it predicts sales will hold steady at a healthy 12,300 units after increasing by about two per cent in 2013.

It says first-time buyers remain the driving force in the Winnipeg resale-homes market, seeking out entry-level homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range.

"Affordability and the continuation of low interest rates were key factors spurring buying intentions among entry-level purchasers, while move-up buyers took advantage of the favourable climate to trade up to bigger homes or better neighbourhoods," it adds.

Nationally, Re/Max predicts the average selling price will rise by four per cent to $380,000 this year, and by three per cent to $390,000 in 2014. Unit sales are expected to grow by three per cent to 466,000 homes this year, and by two per cent to 475,000 in 2014.

 

North West's earnings up

WINNIPEG -- The North West Company Inc. (TSX:NWC) reported a small increase in net earnings for its third quarter on improved sales and margins.

The retailer said Wednesday its profits increased 1.3 per cent to $17.4 million for the three months ended Oct. 31, but were flat on a per-share basis at 36 cents.

Sales increased to $387.2 million from $377.7 million in the year-ago period as same-store sales growth and new-store sales in its international operations more than offset store closures in Canada in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Excluding the foreign-exchange impact, sales increased 0.8 per cent and were up 2.3 per cent on a same-store basis.

Food sales increased 1.6 per cent and were up 2.5 per cent on a same-store basis, while general-merchandise sales decreased 1.7 per cent overall and 1.3 per cent on a same-store basis.


-- staff and The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 12, 2013 B5

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