April MLS® Sales Fall Off First Quarter Pace
MLS® dollar volume decreased 1% in April however for the first four months is up 2% to $1.08 billion. New MLS® listings in April fell 5% while the inventory or active listings at the end of April is down 7%.
The percentage of new listings being converted to sales is in line with April 2016 when the equivalent of over 53% of the 2,439 listings entered on the MLS® in April were sold.
The drop off in sales activity compared to April 2016 was most noticeable in the first-time buyer market segment. WinnipegREALTORS® has identified a concern regarding the new stress test on insured mortgages and its impact on buyer qualification
For residential-detached properties under $300,000 there was a 15% decrease in sales activity in comparison to last April. On the other hand upper price ranges in residential-detached outperformed April 2016.
There was also a decline in condominium sales in the price ranges from $150,000 to $249,999.
“April is the kickoff to our spring market and first-time buyers are a driving force to generating sales activity,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “We are now learning first-hand how tougher mortgage qualifications and higher insurance fees are making it more difficult for this buyer segment to purchase a home.”
Another new development this year which helped propel higher end sales was the City of Winnipeg’s impact fee which came into effect on May 1, 2017. There have already been 15 sales of homes valued over $1 million and six of those are new or to be built homes in the Waverley West MLS® area. It is clear buyers are advancing their plans to commit earlier this year to avoid paying the impact fee ($500 for every 100 square feet).
It is also apparent from examining April sales activity that vacant lots in rural municipalities benefited from the onset of higher fees in Winnipeg as there was a jump of 27% in vacant lot sales from April 2016. The vast majority of those are located outside Winnipeg.
“Demand remains strong for MLS® listings,” said Sonnichsen. “The average days to sell for residential-detached and condominiums was better than last year’s record-setting April.”
In terms of residential-detached sales activity while the most active price range remained from $250,000 to $299,999 at 20% the next busiest from $300,000 to $349,999 was not far off at 16%.
The average days to sell a home in April was 25 days, one day quicker than the record-setting April 2016. The sales- to -list price ratio in April was 99.19%, an improvement from the 98.59% in April 2016.
Condominium sales continue to be most active in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range which represented 30% of total sales. Next busiest at 16% was the $200,000 to $249,999 price range. Average days to sell a condo in April was 40 days, one day quicker than April 2016.
“In an ever-changing real estate industry with new technology, regulations and market conditions, you need to be contacting a REALTOR® who can provide you with their professional advice and market expertise,” said Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®.