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This article was published 22/3/2012 (2767 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE only thing hotter than Winnipeg's record-breaking spring temperatures is its red-hot resale-homes market.
The average selling price of an existing home in the city grew at the fastest pace in the country during the first two months of 2012, according to the spring Market Trends report from RE/Max Canada.
The real estate firm said Winnipeg was one of three major Canadian cities — Toronto and St. John's were the others — to post a 10 per cent increase in average selling prices between the first two months of last year and the first two months of this year. Most of the remaining 12 cities surveyed saw increases ranging from 0.4 per cent to six per cent, with Victoria seeing a one per cent decline.
RE/Max said the average price here jumped to $241,115 from $219,450. And while unit sales were essentially unchanged — 1,343 versus 1,345 — that was because of a severe shortage of available listings, not a lack of prospective buyers, RE/Max said.
"Despite one of the best Januarys on record in 2012, momentum would have been stronger if adequate product were available," it said.
How bad is the shortage? Cliff King, a broker with RE/Max Executive Realty, said on Thursday morning, there were only 27 single-family detached homes priced between $180,000 and $300,000 for sale in the entire southwest quadrant of the city (the area west of the Red River and south of the Assiniboine River).
"That's virtually nothing," King said.
"We should have double or triple that, at least. Unless something changes, that's going to be a real problem for us this year."
The report said the shortage is sparking widespread bidding wars on properties priced under $500,000, which is helping to drive up selling prices at a surprisingly fast pace. It noted in February, 44 per cent of single-family properties and 31 per cent of condominiums sold for more than the asking price.
Competition is fiercest for homes priced under $250,000, it said.
"Five to six offers are not uncommon for a single listing.
"Homebuyers unsuccessful in their hunt continue the search, but the competition is not expected to let up any time soon."
Nationally, the housing market is off to a strong start again this year, with gains in sales and prices in most major markets, RE/Max said.
Sales for January and February were up compared to a year earlier in 12 of the 15 markets RE/Max assessed, and in most, by 10 per cent or more.
RE/Max credited low mortgage rates, strong consumer confidence and even the mild weather, which it said helped usher in an early spring buying season.
"Given the current economic climate, the strength of the country's housing market clearly reflects the value Canadians place on home ownership," said Michael Polzler, an executive vice-president with RE/Max.
"One driving factor has been the overall performance of the market over the past decade.
"Existing homeowners have realized substantial equity gains, especially in recent years, and many are taking advantage of the combination of historically low interest rates and equity to upgrade," Polzler said.
— with files by Postmedia News