Winnipeg’s booming housing market could be here to stay: broker

For sale sign. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

With travelling not an option during the pandemic, many people are finding other ways to spend their extra savings.

For some, it means packing up and moving.

April marked the first time in Multiple Listing Service (MLS) history that Winnipeg sales climbed over 2,000.

According to Peter Squire from the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate board, May was exactly the same.

Read more: Winnipeg real estate, home building continues to boom

Squire said the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed people to take a step back and think of new ways to spend.

“There’s been that shift in mindset in terms of people wondering how they’re going to cope and deal with a pandemic,” he said.

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The Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) statistics for April show 2,341 new listings popped up in April, a 51.9 per cent increase from the previous year. The average sale price was $335,812.

April sales across the province totaled $721.7 million, exceeding the previous single-month record of $683 million set in March.

Overall, properties in Manitoba have sold at a 76 per cent increase over 2020, according to MREA.

Despite the high numbers, MREA 2021 president Stewart Elston said Manitoba remains one of the most affordable places to buy a home in Canada.

Read more: Manitoba has seen ‘extraordinary rebound’ in home sales, says real estate association

Real estate broker Debbie McLean said she thought the market boom would be over by now, but instead it’s been the opposite.

“I think people are not expecting COVID to be over very quickly cause of all these variants that are being reported, and they’re just looking for places to go,” McLean said.

The broker said from vacant lots to cottages, there is no discrimination between which types of properties are selling fast.

In pre-pandemic times, she said a home would last up to 90 days on the market, but now they’re lasting longer than a couple of weeks.

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Click to play video: 'New mortgage stress test designed to cool home market' New mortgage stress test designed to cool home market
New mortgage stress test designed to cool home market – May 21, 2021

Because of that, McLean said the chances of coming across a home you love might be slim.

“I don’t know if people are just holding on, not waiting it out because the cost of housing has gone up,” she said.

And things aren’t slowing down. If you’re thinking of holding off until next summer to buy, McLean said not to hold your breath.

While the bidding wars are leveling off and prices have gone down slightly, McLean said the market boom is likely here to stay until life gets back to normal.

“When people start to travel again and can socialize, their interest in buying a cottage property or another type of property… they just might not have the financial ability when they start spending the money they’ve been saving.”

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When it comes to building a home, McLean said prices aren’t any better due to the cost of lumber, but she adds all of this is good news when it comes to one thing: the economy.

The MREA estimates the $5.1 billion in sales from 2020 alone will generate over $893 million in additional economic spinoff, including spending on moving costs, furniture, household appliances, home renovations and professional services.

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