Despite pandemic, Manitoba home sales break record set in 2019

Manitoba Real Estate Association says 2020 has been a record year for Manitoba home sales, despite COVID-19 pandemic.

'It's been a banner year for residential real estate in Manitoba': MREA president

Manitoba Real Estate Association says 2020 has been a record year with over 15,000 home sales. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Despite financial impacts of COVID-19, Manitoba home sales hit record numbers with upward of 15,000 properties sold in 2020, according to a Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) release on Wednesday. 

The current 2020 year-to-date sales have hit $4.81 billion, surpassing the overall sales record set at the end of 2019 of $4.27 billion. Year-to-date individual sales have also increased 13 per cent over the same period last year, and have reached 15,818 homes sold.

"It's been a banner year for residential real estate in Manitoba," said MREA President Glen Tosh. "Despite COVID-19 and to the surprise of many, home buyer demand has remained high as Manitobans are seeking additional living space to help weather the pandemic," he said.

November 2020 home sales are now the highest on record at 1,231, and also skyrocketed 25.4 per cent past 2019 purchases. The most sales tracked for the year happened in July with 2,060 houses sold. 

The average home price in Manitoba rose 4.3 per cent to $304,150, while in 2019 the average home price remained constant.

The average home price in Manitoba rose 4.3 per cent to $304,150. The Manitoba Real Estate Association says it's a seller's market, which can cause some stress for buyers. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

Tosh says it's a seller's market, which is a source of "frustration" for some buyers.

Elizabeth Saftiuk bought a home in Winnipeg in November after looking at 20 homes and bidding on two.

"I thought I went in with a very good, strong offer. But as it turns out, there were 17 other offers for that particular home and it went for $106,000 over asking," she said on CBC Radio's Up to Speed on Wednesday.

"I had moved in, in my mind. I had placed my furniture in the house. I imagined having coffee on the porch, unfortunately. So it was a bit of a bummer when I found out that I didn't win the bid."

When Saftiuk did buy a house, she went over asking price, but not more than what the house is worth. She says she feels confident in her investment.

Since new home listings are down 8.4 per cent compared to 2019, some buyers had a harder time finding their perfect home, the release said.

Avoiding a bidding war

Feliz Ebora moved back to Winnipeg from Calgary and said she was fully prepared to get into a bidding war, based on what she had heard from her real estate agent and others looking to buy.

Luckily, she avoided a bidding war because she ended up with a house that needs some work.

"I'm excited that we got in when we did and that we're kind of avoiding all of the the price hikes and also very excited to kind of grow our family in this area," Ebora said.

As house prices are expected to grow even more, that's concerning for Tosh.

"We'll certainly be watching the market closely heading into the new year. As realtors, we want to see a housing market in Manitoba that is balanced and affordable," said Tosh. "Having ample supply of homes available for purchase is a critical factor in ensuring affordability for buyers."  

One of the the driving forces behind the soaring home sales is high buyer demand, coupled with low interest rates, Tosh said. This increased purchasing power results in a competitive housing market, which also drives up home prices. 

MREA noted the increased sales trend has been seen Canadawide throughout 2020.


Orinthia Babb is a reporter with CBC News. She was also an associate producer with CBC Manitoba's current affairs department. Story idea? Contact me:

With files from Faith Fundal and Rachel Bergen