A spokesperson for the Multiple Listing Service says home sales in Steinbach do not appear to have been affected by a mortgage stress test that was introduced a year ago. That test requires first time home buyers to qualify for a higher interest rate to prove they can withstand future interest rate increases. Peter Squire says, while they had expected this to have a negative impact on sales, it hasn't turned out that way. Sales of single detached homes in Steinbach during the first nine months of the year total 365, just ten fewer than last year at this time.
"I give credit to our realtors and, I guess, mortgage brokers and financial institutions. However they've managed it, it seems like our sales have held up to our record-setting year of 2016 so far. We'll see how the last three months go. But, so far, we could potentially have a better sales year than last year which does surprise me a little bit."
Squire adds the average home price is up from just over $269,000 last year to almost $273,000 this year. He notes condo sales in Steinbach and area this year are up from 35 last year to 40 this year in the first three quarters.
Squire also says that the two small bumps in interest rates this year have not slowed down the market.
"I think, if anything, it'll spur some people on. If they're sitting on the fence, they're realizing that the historically low rates are coming to an end and they will start inching up as they did this year and they may go up again one more quarter-point in late fall, potentially. Certainly they're talking it may go up in 2018, so I believe, at this point, it's not impacting our sales to any degree."
Squire says Steinbach is the leading MLS sales area in Manitoba.