Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

October resale market second busiest on record

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AN increase in new listings helped Winnipeg's resale-homes market rebound from a sluggish September to post its second busiest October on record.

Winnipeg Realtors (WR) said Tuesday that 1,118 properties sold last month through the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which covers Winnipeg and a variety of southern Manitoba communities.

That was a four per cent increase from the 1,076 properties that changed hands in October of last year, and was only 83 properties short of the all-time record of 1,201 set in October 2007.

However, thanks in part to the sale of three $1-million-plus houses and a $925,000 condominium, the association did set a new dollar-volume record for October, at $281.8 million. That was a 10 per cent improvement from the previous record of $256.9 million set in October of last year, which was the second best year on record for sales and the best in terms of dollar volumes.

October's rebound halted a four-month string of weaker year-over-year sales, which included a 14 per cent decline in September.

Peter Squire, WR's residential market analyst, said over 1,500 new properties came onto the market in October, which was an eight per cent increase from October 2011. He and WR president Shirley Przybyl said that gave buyers more properties to choose from, and a better shot at making a deal.

Przybyl said some of the first-time buyers who had to temporarily withdraw from the market last summer after a tighening of federal mortgage insurance rules may also have saved up enough extra money to jump back into the market in October.

Squire said the increase in new listings left the market with 3,058 active listings at the end of October, which is the second-highest total for that time of year since before October 2001.

The Winnipeg market has been plagued with a shortage of listings for much of the past decade. Some months there have been as few as 1,300 active listings to chose from, leaving many prospective buyers on the outside looking in.

"So I think buyers are getting a bit of a break," Squire said.

An increase in listings can also ease some of the upward pressure on selling prices. Squire noted that last month, twice as many resdiential detached homes sold for less than list price than for over list.

October's rebound left year-to-date sales running less than one per cent ahead of last year's pace after the first 10 months -- 11,554 versus 11,486. The dollar volume was up by six per cent to $2.83 billion from $2.67 billion.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2012 B5

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