July 19, 2019

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Multi-nation survey flatters city real estate

Report rates Winnipeg No. 2

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/12/2014 (1679 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg housing market might be starting to slow, but it's a well-earned break after a decade spent outperforming places such as New York, Toronto and Sydney, Australia.

A report released Friday by Toronto-based rating agency DBRS put Winnipeg in second place in a 50-city comparison spanning Canada, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. over the past 10 years. The only place that's done better is Darwin, Australia.

"Not a lot of people pay attention to Winnipeg sometimes," said Dianne Himbeault, a Winnipeg-based senior market analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

"In a sense, it is not surprising knowing what I know about Winnipeg. When you look at the time period and what they were measuring, we were undergoing a period where our housing markets weren't keeping up with our population growth," Himbeault said.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/12/2014 (1679 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg housing market might be starting to slow, but it's a well-earned break after a decade spent outperforming places such as New York, Toronto and Sydney, Australia.

A report released Friday by Toronto-based rating agency DBRS put Winnipeg in second place in a 50-city comparison spanning Canada, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. over the past 10 years. The only place that's done better is Darwin, Australia.

"Not a lot of people pay attention to Winnipeg sometimes," said Dianne Himbeault, a Winnipeg-based senior market analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

"In a sense, it is not surprising knowing what I know about Winnipeg. When you look at the time period and what they were measuring, we were undergoing a period where our housing markets weren't keeping up with our population growth," Himbeault said.

"People moving here needed somewhere to live. Out of that came a lot of building, growing our housing stock to house people who were moving to the city," she said.

When there are more people than houses, that pushes prices up, but Himbeault said Winnipeg was spared the housing bubbles other, more volatile markets saw. With no bubble to burst, the market kept chugging along through the financial crisis of 2008 when other markets crashed.

Geoff McCullough, the executive director of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, agrees.

"We've always been kind of a steady-Eddie market, not one that because it went up so high it can come down so low," McCullough said.

"I think that immigration and our good provincial immigration policy helped there. I don't think as many people were leaving (during the financial crisis) because things were good here," he said.

The report studied the housing markets of 50 cities across the four countries in question by comparing the average change in housing prices to the DBRS's estimated rate of return, and then compared the data to other variables such as local economies, geography and population growth.

The report credits much of Winnipeg's success, and Canada's overall, to conservative banking regulations and an increase in disposable income.

"Low interest rates and strong economic fundamentals have allowed for a virtually unabated rise in Canadian housing prices over the last decade," the report says.

The report also compared the same cities during the decade leading up to the financial collapse, from 1996 to 2006. In that ranking, Winnipeg was scraping the bottom in 41st place. McCullough said that's in part because the Canadian housing market was relatively stagnant through the '90s. But rather than Winnipeg rocketing up the charts since 2004, it's more a matter of other cities crashing down around it after the 2008 collapse. Edmonton, for example, saw a huge housing boom in 2006-07, followed by a sudden downturn in 2008-09.

jesse.winter@freepress.mb.ca

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