Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/3/2011 (2259 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Los Angeles-based comedian pedals his bike into Winnipeg’s North End and decides to buy a house.
Don’t bother waiting for a punch line; there isn’t one.
Todd Allen, a transplanted Canadian living in L.A. and working as a stand-up comic, found himself with extra time on his hands last year while performing here at Rumor’s Comedy Club.
"I was here working, but my sets were only 45 minutes a night, so I had a lot of time on my hands," he said via telephone from L.A.
Allen rented a bike and began exploring the city. His adventure eventually took him to the North End.
"I was baffled at how great some of the housing deals were. Then when I looked at the rental market and saw how high it was; I’ve never seen such a situation," he said.
Allen was so impressed by what he saw that he decided to buy a house in the area. He has since sold it and purchased another investment property on Aberdeen Avenue.
"I’ve been around North America and never seen things like this," said Allen, who plans to fix up the house and resell it later this spring.
Allen’s story is one that’s becoming increasingly common, according to the Winnipeg Real Estate Board’s director of public affairs.
Peter Squire said the city’s vibrant real estate market is attracting attention from far beyond the Perimeter Highway.
"Winnipeg is attracting buyers right now from around Canada and the United States . It doesn’t surprise me," he said.
"Obviously the fact that prices can attract buyers who are passing through Winnipeg on business means something."
Squire acknowledged that the recent performance of the local market has come as a bit of a surprise to some real estate experts.
"We did forecast a strong sales season. We didn’t forecast this good. Buyers are seeing this as a really strong market right now and this applies to the North End," Squire said.
According to WinnipegREALTORS, houses in the North End have nearly doubled in their selling price over the last five years. In 2005, the average price of a single family home in the North End was $42,825. Last year it was $81,970.
Larry Krutish, a sales associate with Re/Max on McPhillips, said housing prices in the North End have been on a steady rise for some time.
"The problem is many have part basements that bring about foundation concerns. If you can find a house with a solid foundation it really makes a great investment," he said.
Krutish said he expects the market to continue to heat up as spring temperatures begin to soar.
"In December and January people are less keen to head out into the snow and house hunt for deals," he said.
Allen, who has appeared on Just for Laughs and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, said he looks forward to returning to Winnipeg.
"Everybody told me to stay the hell out of the area because there were a lot of bad things in the North End. That may be, but great housing deals can also be found there."