Winnipeg’s real estate market has seen a record-setting year in 2017, with 44 $1-million-plus, single-family homes sold, according to data provided by Century 21 Canada.
That’s up from 32 the previous year, and just 16 in 2015.
With three weeks left in the calendar year, real estate agents say that figure could still rise.
"When you look at it, Winnipeg is a great city right now," said Alison Diacos, a real estate agent with Century 21 Bachman & Associates.
"So, it’s not a surprise that we’re selling high-end housing. Market-wise, we’re affordable, and there’s selection.
"That doesn’t just associate itself with the average house price — it associates with all prices of homes."
A two-year veteran of the real estate business, Diacos has been involved in three of the 44 sales of $1-million-plus homes this year.
Going back two decades to 1997, only four $1-million-plus homes were sold in Winnipeg. The 44 sold this year represent a 1,000 per cent increase.
Over that same time period, the average price for a home in Winnipeg has more than tripled.
Despite the rise in real-estate prices, Winnipeg remains an attractive destination for people looking to purchase a home, since the city avoids the boom-and-bust cycle associated with the more volatile markets of places such as Vancouver and Toronto.
What that means is someone making a large investment into property doesn’t have to worry their home will see a significant drop in value from one year to the next.
"Winnipeg has demonstrated stability over the 31 years I’ve been in the business. It’s been very stable. Boom-and-bust does not happen in Winnipeg," said Roger Burns, one of the owners of Century 21 Bachman & Associates.
"This is one of the safest places in Canada to make a sizeable investment in your future. Our economy is as bulletproof as you can hope for."
That stability not only translates into Winnipeggers buying high-end homes, such as the 44 $1-million-plus sold so far this year, but also proves an attractive option for people out of province looking for safe investments and bang for their buck.
According to Burns, his office does a lot of business with people relocating to Winnipeg from across the country.
"The equity they might have earned in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver, suddenly they can not only own a really nice home, but also a cottage, and lead a more stress free life, while making the same salary they could elsewhere in Canada," he said.
"They are astounded to discover the quality of life in Winnipeg is so high — the richness of the home life, the community, the recreation, the property."
In addition, a Century 21 Canada study indicated that Winnipeg is the most lucrative large city in the country for first-time home buyers.
When it comes to expensiveness, Winnipeg ranks behind Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Calgary.
In terms of the clients Diacos deals with, she said she sees a large variety of people looking to make purchases in the city.
"Young people are moving back here. When you can’t afford to have the lifestyle you want in other parts of the country, you look to Winnipeg and think, ‘We can do it all here,’" she said.
"But my clients are also people who are tied into our community.
"They have great confidence and affection for Winnipeg, so why shouldn’t they spend their money here?
"It’s a great place to raise kids. It’s a great place to excel professionally. Market wise we’re affordable. There’s selection."
The record-setting year for the sale of high-end homes is reflected in the ever-growing "million-dollar club" at Century 21 Bachman & Associates — which recognizes all brokers who’ve sold a home worth at least $1 million.
In 1996, owner and broker Gary Bachman sold their first $1-million home.
It would be seven years before someone else would match that feat.
Today, they have more than 32 brokers in the million dollar club.
And according to Burns, that number will undoubtedly continue to rise next year.
"We’ve consistently had a lot of activity, and market share in the $1-million-plus homes. Our activity has gone up quite a bit and there’s a great deal of concentration and positioning in that market place," he said.
"With these types of homes across Winnipeg, we’ve seen the interest.
"The number of showings at homes of this nature has been building and building over the years. So we expect this trend to continue."
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