The Winnipeg housing market has been growing steadily for years, as it catches up to other major Canadian cities. Now, with mortgage rates at historic lows, and a continuing low vacancy rate, Winnipeg’s housing sector is as competitive as ever.
Long time Winnipegger, Dean Douglas, just bought a brand new condo in downtown Winnipeg. The building is still under construction and will be ready a year from now, in the summer of 2013.
“I wanted to purchase a condo and invest in Winnipeg real estate while the market is on the rise,” said Douglas.
Russ Knight and Ken Carol are owners of Hudson Bay Traders, a local real estate company looking to take advantage of Winnipeg’s growing economy. Winnipeg provides real estate investors with a unique business option: the ability to convert apartments into condos with little government interference.
For a company like Hudson Bay Traders, the biggest hurdle is the Tenant’s Act, which gives the tenant the legal right to inhabit the premises for as long as they have lived there. Russ Knight has taken a unique approach to this situation, which could easily be a thorn in his side. Knight, and his company, aim to sell the condo back to the tenant with a mortgage payment less than or equal to their existing rent payment. It’s an intriguing option for many tenants, which is accepted about 80 percent of the time, says Knight.
“Winnipeg is continuing to explode,” explains Knight. “The reason is that we have 18,000 individuals immigrating to Winnipeg, 60 percent opting to rent, 40 percent purchasing houses and condos. The condo conversion market will be even stronger because we’re focusing on a tenant becoming an owner.”
“We are currently working on three projects: one in Corydon village, one in the Polo Park area, and one by Health Science,” says Knight.
Most observers agree that the Winnipeg housing market is in flux. Knight says that Winnipeg seems to be following the pattern Vancouver has laid out, except Winnipeg is years behind.
Like most economic trends, the growing housing rates will not last forever. Up and coming home buyers will, sooner or later, be troubled by housing prices, shifting demand downward. The market will then flip, and for the first time in a long time, the housing market will serve the buyer.
Still, Winnipeg does seem to absorb economic crises better than other cities and can usually come out on top. So, there is a chance that Winnipeg’s housing bubble will be flexible and we will continue seeing a gradual incline in real-estate.