A market analyst says 2024 should be a year of transition for the housing market in this region.

Jeremy Davis is with the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board. He says though there are always factors that influence the real estate market in any given year, 2024 is shaping up to be a bit of a perfect storm on factors that may or may not have a big impact on the market.

Even though house sales dropped in 2023, Davis says Steinbach still led the way in terms of sales and dollar volume for areas outside of Winnipeg. Rounding out the top five list of communities outside Winnipeg were Winkler, Morden, Selkirk, and Niverville.

With regards to 2024, Davis says everyone is watching closely what will happen with inflation and interest rates. 

"Many economists are projecting a decrease in interest rates in either the second or third quarter, so that is certainly a big one to watch," says Davis. 

In addition to that, he says cities across Canada are seeing immigration like never before, with newcomers needing a place to live. He notes this will have an impact on supply and demand.

And then there is the impact of the Housing Accelerator Fund, which removes barriers, encouraging local initiatives that help build more homes more quickly. Davis says though they know the Housing Accelerator Fund will have an impact in 2024, they are just not certain how much of an impact it will have. 

"These are all factors that could have a big impact on what happens in 2024," he adds. 

Davis says their forecast for the entire market region for 2024 is a price increase of 1.2 per cent for both residential homes and condominiums. They are also forecasting overall Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales growth of two per cent for all property types. 

"There will always be differences in each community," says Davis. "But 2023 in the Steinbach region saw a similar trend as many of the other areas in our market region, so we expect those trends to be similar there again in 2024."

Though the city of Steinbach saw a drop in single-family home sales in 2023 compared to 2022, it saw a rise in condominium sales. Davis says the expectation is for this trend to continue in 2024. 

"Condominiums saw their market share grow across the market region at the direct expense of residential-detached homes," explains Davis. "So, in an economy where the cost of everything is up, including on residential detached homes, it's easy to see why folks might be opting for the more affordable option in the condominium market."

Davis says the trend towards stronger condominium sales has been felt now for a couple of years and it is reasonable to expect that if all things remain equal, including the high cost of living, condominium sales will continue to be strong. 

All in all, Davis says there is optimism currently in the housing market in southern Manitoba.