Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Resale homes still darling of real estate biz

Association's annual forecast sees continued rise in selling prices

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The average selling prices of detached homes are expected to climb between two and four per cent.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

The average selling prices of detached homes are expected to climb between two and four per cent. Photo Store

It will be another good year for Winnipeg's resilient resale-homes market, says the latest forecast from the Winnipeg Realtors Association (WRA).

Peter Squire, the WRA's residential market analyst, told about 350 people who turned out for the association's eighth annual forecast breakfast he expects selling prices to continue to climb in 2014, although at a slower pace than in 2013.

He predicted the average selling price of a detached home sold through the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) will climb by between two and four per cent.

Last year, it rose by five per cent to $284,000 from $269,000 in 2012, he added.

'We are increasingly being viewed as an attractive mid-market in Canada'

-- Ken Jones of Shindico Realty Inc.

Squire also predicted unit sales will increase by as much as two per cent, and the dollar volume of sales will grow by between three and five per cent.

Last year, sales narrowly missed surpassing the 13,000-unit threshold for the third straight year, dipping to 12,924 from 13,007 in 2012, for a decline of less than one per cent.

However, despite the dip in sales, the association still set a dollar volume record of $3.36 billion.

That was a five per cent improvement from 2012's total of $3.2 billion.

Squire said one of the big stories for 2013 was the rising popularity of condominiums, particularly among price-conscious first-time buyers and downsizing empty nesters.

Unit sales were up 13 per cent to 1,759, and the average selling price jumped by nine per cent. And Squire is forecasting a further six to eight per cent increase in the average selling price in 2014.

He noted many of the factors that have helped to drive the demand for resale homes in recent years -- things such as population growth, low interest rates, rising employment rates and a healthy local economy -- are still at play in 2014.

The chairman of the WRA's commercial division said 2014 also should be another good year for the city's commercial real estate sector.

Ken Jones, an office specialist with Shindico Realty Inc., said there's still a strong demand for good investment properties from both local and out-of-province investors.

"We are increasingly being viewed as an attractive mid-market in Canada."

There is also a growing demand for newer industrial space with higher ceiling heights and modern loading docks, Jones said, which should lead to more new industrial buildings being built in 2014.

He said Winnipeg should also continue to see more new retail development in 2014, along with an ongoing "flight to quality" in the local office sector, where employers are trying to attract and retain valued employees by offering better amenities for their workers.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 23, 2014 B6

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Updated on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 6:51 AM CST: Replaces photo

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