Winnipeg home sales down last month, year to date near record

Sales of homes in the Winnipeg market declined 10% in October compared to a year earlier but the year-to-date shows strength.

Winnipeg Realtors members sold 1,023 homes last month but the lower figure compared to a year earlier was in part due to a spike in the 2016 sales as buyers sought to beat the incoming tighter regulations on insured mortgages.

“October sales results clearly showed how government intervention in to the real estate market has affected it”, said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “The first-time buyer market for residential-detached properties has been softer this year and conversely more affordable property types such as single attached and townhouses have performed better.”

While first-time buyers moved away from single-family detached homes with a 2% decline year-over-year in the first 10 months, the market for more affordable single-attached properties gained 10% and townhouse sales were up 23%.

Overall year-to-date sales were just 1% below the record 12,100 of the same period last year and only the second time the first 10 months has resulted in sales above 12,000.

There are also stronger sales in the move-up market.

“Our market may experience move-up sales activity than normal until the end of 2017 given that The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) just approved a new stress test on federally regulated mortgage lenders with respect to insured mortgages commencing January 1, 2018,” Sonnichsen said. “Similar to last year’s higher qualification requirement on insured mortgages which has heavily impacted first-time buyers, this new guideline will affect move-up buyers more and will limit their ability to qualify for higher-priced homes.”

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