News / Winnipeg

First-time home buyers still worried, despite 'Peg's stable real estate

Winnipeg listing prices rose by about 2.3 per cent from July through September — a stable increase compared to the national average of about 12 per cent.

Though Winnipeg’s real estate market prices have remained stable for another quarter, young buyers are worried their chances at getting financing for their first homes will soon be in jeopardy. 

Royal LePage released a national quarterly survey of home prices Thursday, which showed Winnipeg listing prices rose by about 2.3 per cent from July through September — a stable increase compared to the national average of about 12 per cent.

But with new federal mortgaging rules active starting Monday, first-time buyers like Winnipeg’s Hannah Clark, 26, and her partner, Octav Gilvitu, 27, may get the short shrift.

Come Monday, Ottawa is expanding “stress tests” for mortgage applicants, meaning buyers need to prove they can afford the Bank of Canada’s 4.64-per-cent interest rate on their home down payments, even if they’ve agreed to pay lower interest rates.

Clark and Gilvitu could have bought a home in the fall, but decided to wait to buy in the spring once Clark is done school.

Now they’re wondering if being patient and saving money might have backfired, since the federal government’s financing rules could limit their buying options.

“(The new rules) are really rewarding the people who already have that kind of savings, but if you don’t have the kind of savings to your name right now, especially when you’re younger and you’re kind of earlier in your career… it really limits your buying power,” said Clark.

Royal LePage realtor Michael Froese said he’s noticed some local buyers rushing to get their financing and offers in order before Monday, in hopes of avoiding higher interest mandates.

Froese said the government’s new policies may help slow the scorching real estate markets in Toronto and Vancouver, but for somewhere like Winnipeg where the market is already pretty stable, they may do more harm than good.

“We’re not sure how (Winnipeg) will be affected… some people might be forced out of the market altogether, but that remains to be seen,” Froese said. “This is an example of the federal government making a national policy for a regional problem, which they shouldn’t have (done).”

With the City of Winnipeg projecting its population to hit the one million mark by 2035, the demand for housing will continue to grow and prices should remain fairly stable if supply keeps up with demand, Froese added.

SIDEBAR – Crunching housing prices between July and September

UP 2.3 per cent  - The aggregate price of a Winnipeg home now sits at $291,426.

DOWN five per cent - The aggregate price of a Winnipeg condo now sits at $212,067.

UP 12 per cent - The aggregate price of a home in Canada now sits at $545,414. 

--Statistics from Royal LePage’s quarterly House Price Survey

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