Geographically nestled in the centre of Canada, the province of Manitoba is known for its many different landscapes, such as the arctic tundra, the Hudson Bay coastline, dense forests and prairie grasslands. As Canada’s fifth most-populous province, Manitoba offers plenty of living space for residents, and homes at moderate prices when compared to Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Due to these factors, the Manitoba housing market has enjoyed substantial, unprecedented gains over the course of the public health crisis.
The shifting consumer appetite for more outdoor and indoor living space, and the widespread movement toward remote working arrangements, have lured surges of out-of-province buyers to communities across Manitoba. Only now, after 18 months of heated housing activity, is the province starting to moderate.
Manitoba Real Estate Cooling, But Still Setting Records
Coming off a strong beginning and middle of 2021, the Manitoba housing market has started to slightly slow down. September saw 1,575 residential properties change hands. While this is a 12.9-per-cent decrease compared to the notable sales logged in September 2020, this year was still 15 per cent higher than the number of transactions in September 2019.
With the pandemic leading many homebuyers to seek out larger homes and bigger yards, the Manitoba market has experienced a strong and sustained spike in demand since early 2020. While this immediate reaction has died down slightly, the main cause for the continued spike can be attributed to ultra-low interest rates. Stewart Elston, president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association, confirms, “The pandemic is still playing into it a little, bit but by and large…low interest rates are still driving the market.”
Despite any recent cooling, 2021 is still on track to surpass the previous yearly sales record. During the first nine months of 2021, sales reached 16,013 units, inching much closer to the current year-end sales record of 16,789 homes sold in 2020.
The high demand across the province and low supply of homes has caused prices in Manitoba to increase – similar to what the rest of Canada is experiencing. Combined with high sales numbers, Manitoba has passed the sales dollar volume for the first nine months of 2020, with this year’s value reaching $5.28 billion – a 35.3-per-cent increase compared to the first nine months of 2020, as well as the year-end total of $5.1 billion last year.
Manitoba real estate market conditions were much the same in October as they were in September. The month saw the number of homes sales surpass the annual record set in 2020. Elston adds, “As early as the spring, many of us suspected 2021 would be another record year. What we didn’t know is it would take just 10 months to achieve it.”
October saw 1,586 residential property sales (down 3.3 per cent compared to last year) and a total sales volume of $549 million (up 5.8 per cent year-over-year). To really demonstrate how heated the real estate market in Manitoba was during the month of October, consider this: sales during the month were 26.7 per cent above sales in October 2019, and total sales volume was also 54 per cent higher than two years ago! Elston adds, “Strong resale prices in Manitoba have been a feature of the market over the past year and a half. Low interest rates continue to be an incentive for buyers to make what is often the most financially impactful decision of their lives.”
While the fall months of 2021 have shown signs of cooling, it is important to note that October and September have helped push the year into record territory. With 17,408 residential properties being sold in the first 10 months of the year, new listings have not been able to compensate for the increase in demand which has naturally pushed sales prices higher in many local markets across the province. The end of October saw the average sale price in the Manitoba housing market increase 10 per cent year-over-year, reaching $333,879.
Looking Ahead in the Manitoba Housing Market
With an already stellar year thus far for the prairie province, these last two months will only increase the spread between record sales. While property prices in the province are increasing, they remain more than half that of the national average, and this will only serve to sustain demand from hopeful homebuyers who are still being squeezed out of many unaffordable markets across the country. There is little doubt about it – Manitoba should continue to shine in 2022!