Winnipeg: an Introduction
Winnipeg is the capital city of the province of Manitoba, with a population just over 700,000 making it the seventh largest city in Canada. Named after the gorgeous nearby Lake Winnipeg, this multicultural and welcoming city has grown to become a major commercial and transportation hub. Winnipeg is located on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies and is often referred to as the "Gateway to the West". This extremely seasonal city changes dramatically from month to month, with residents coming out to play during the summer at some of the city's fantastic annual festivals.
Winnipeg is located at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, roughly 110 kilometers from the United States border. The city lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley, with the terrain here generally flat and subject to flooding. Temperatures vary widely in Winnipeg due to its inland location, with residents enjoying warm and humid summers before nestling in for cold and dry winters. Regardless of the time of year, this city is excellent for people who love the outdoors, due to its proximity to Lake Winnipeg and numerous Canadian Shield lakes and parks.
There are 236 official neighborhoods in Winnipeg, from the downtown core through to numerous suburban and rural areas. Like many Canadian cities, Winnipeg is currently going through a major revitalization, especially in downtown Winnipeg and surrounding inner-city areas. Despite its growing core, Winnipeg continues to expand outwards, especially to the south and west. Osborne Village is the city's most densely populated neighborhood, with the largest commercial areas including Polo Park, Kildonan Crossing, Garden City, and South St. Vital.
Winnipeg is a vibrant and multicultural city with a diverse ethnic population. It has the highest percentage of Aboriginal people for any Canadian city at 11.7 percent, a number that continues to grow and influence the city’s demographics. There are over 100 languages spoken in the city, with the following ethnic origin groups representing more than 10 percent of the population: English, Scottish, Canadian, German, Ukrainian, Irish, French, and Aboriginal.
The ethnic diversity of Winnipeg contributes significantly to its strong cultural and culinary scenes, especially during the summer months. Prominent festivals include the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Festival du Voyageur, the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, and the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. There are 26 National Historic Sites of Canada located in Winnipeg, including The Forks, which has been an important meeting place for aboriginal people for over 6000 years. Visitors to the city can also enjoy the Centennial Concert Hall, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and performances by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
The real estate market in Winnipeg is one of the steadiest in Canada, with the city shielded from the risky conditions that have defined places like Toronto and Vancouver over the last few years. While Winnipeg lacks the same growth opportunities of these cities, relatively low prices continue to attract buyers, especially in the condo segment of the market. Condo sales increased by a massive 52.5 percent in the third quarter of 2017, with millennials and seniors increasingly attracted to the city’s affordable and flexible living conditions.
Top 10 Winnipeg Neighbourhoods
While the rustic charms of Charleswood will not suit everyone, the small town appeal of this neighborhood is a major draw for many people. Charleswood features a mix of older homes and new builds, with this safe and friendly area also featuring a number of authentic local shops and restaurants.
Osborne Village is not just the most densely populated neighborhood in Winnipeg, it's also one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Western Canada. As part of the original Fort Rouge area, Osborne Village represents one of the oldest parts of the city. This neighborhood is a sophisticated urban community with a popular artists' collective, sizable commercial sector, and numerous green parks.
While the rural community of St.-Pierre-Jolys will not make your cosmopolitan dreams come true, it's a great place to buy for people who want to live on the quiet outskirts of Winnipeg. St.-Pierre-Jolys is about 45 minutes from the city center, with most homes there built in the late 70s and 80s.
Westdale is a thriving community on the edge of Charleswood. This neighborhood has seen a number of new developments in the recent years, with brand new houses located close to shops and public transportation. At the extreme west of the city, Westdale is ideal for families and retirees who want to escape the hustle and bustle.
Fort Rouge continues to grow in popularity, with this area embracing the new face of urban Winnipeg. While this neighborhood is close to Downtown Winnipeg, the older homes of Fort Rouge still provide this area with a quaint inner-city feel. Fort Rouge is close to the commercial hotspot of Churchill Drive, making it a trendy and lively place to be at any time of year.
North Saint Boniface
North Saint Boniface is located adjacent to West Provencher Blvd and Tache Avenue. This vibrant part of Winnipeg is home to the Franco-Manitoban community and close to a number of cultural attractions, parks, and walking trails. Downtown Winnipeg is just a short walk away, with cafes and fantastic restaurants lining the streets. North Saint Boniface is home to the popular Festival du Voyageur, which is held annually in February at Whittier Park and Fort Gibraltar.
The downtown area of Winnipeg is roughly three square kilometers in size and includes the Exchange District, Central Park, The Forks, and Winnipeg's Chinatown. While this is mostly a commercial area, there are now several new residential projects under construction on Waterfront Drive and in the Exchange District. Perfect for people who want to be close to the action, the city’s downtown features Winnipeg's City Hall, Union Station, and the Manitoba Centennial Center.
Croydon is a vibrant and lively neighborhood full of eateries, shopping, and good old-fashioned fun. Once known as Winnipeg's "Little Italy", this neighborhood now features a wide selection of different cuisines. The Colours of Croydon is just one example of this community’s strong artistic spirit, with eight large abstract metal figures painted by local artists.
Located south of the Assiniboine River, River Heights once comprised the South End of the old City of Winnipeg. This neighborhood was traditionally an Anglo-Saxon Protestant area and now features a strong Jewish presence, who account for 11 percent of the population. River Heights is divided into two neighborhood clusters; River Heights West and River Heights East.
North Hill Park
This neighborhood is a high-income area on Winnipeg's north side, with established homes from the 80s and 90s existing alongside a number of new condo and mixed-use developments. Unlike similar communities, North Hill Park is not a cookie-cutter neighborhood, with each home custom built and lots of green trees lining the roads.
Top 10 Condo Builders In winnipeg
Broadview Homes develops new homes and communities across the city of Winnipeg. They have been building new family homes in the city for over 30 years, with a wide range of modern floor plans and designs available to meet the needs of Winnipeg residents. Broadview Homes promises customization and affordability without sacrificing quality.
Prominent condo developments by Broadview include Devonshire Village, Crocus Meadows, Waterford Green, and Sage Creek. Devonshire Village is located in east Winnipeg between Peguis St., Ravelston Ave. and Regent Ave. Designed as a sustainable community, Devonshire Village is vibrant, well-connected, and almost sold out.
Karma Development has been designing and building new residences and condos for sale in Winnipeg for over ten years. The team involved with this company are true Winnipeggers; people who understand the local community and want to give back as much as they can. Karma Development’s core ideology is defined by treating others with respect.
Well-known Karma developments in Winnipeg include Mosaic Condominiums, Centennial Park, Okolita Park, Annex Development and many others. Their latest project is 139 Tuxedo, an exciting design featuring neoclassical architecture and uncompromised luxury living. 139 Tuxedo promises sustainable natural living in a well-designed community environment.
Streetside Developments is one of Winnipeg's leading condo developers, with a story that goes back over 65 years and a history of passion and quality that few can match. With a focus on customer service and green developments, Streetside has placed in 39 Parade of Homes awards over the past five years alone.
Prominent Streetside projects include Bluestem condos, District condos, Hudson condos, and The Charles Condominiums just to name a few. Bluestem is set amidst a beautiful natural landscape of wetlands and parks, with this development sure to ignite a fantastic new community. Offering the very best in convenient living, Bluestem is proof that condos and nature can perfectly mix.
Fortress Real Developments
Fortress Real Developments is a well-respected Canadian development company with a wealth of experience building private homes and condo communities. The Fortress portfolio includes 65 projects in total, including a mix of low-rise, high-rise, and commercial projects. Fortress takes great pride in ensuring that an extra level of vision and attention to detail is included in every development.
SkyCity Centre is an exciting new condo development that promises to redefine the Winnipeg city center. Located just one block north of the new MTS Centre, this iconic building features innovative modern interiors and a striking design created by award-winning Kirkor Architects. This project is an excellent example of how Winnipeg is starting to embrace inner-city condo living.
Sunstone Resort Communities
Sunstone is dedicated to building value through innovation, with a range of condo communities located across Winnipeg. Sunstone is a division of the FWS Group of Companies, which means they have the size and scope to deliver all aspects of development, from initial financing through to construction and marketing.
Current Sunstone projects include 825 Taché Avenue, Waterford Sun, and Jubilee. Waterford Sun promises to be Northwest Winnipeg’s most anticipated living experience, with a secure community built over 25,000 square feet. This project comprises of three condo buildings and one luxury condo building, all featuring a private children’s splash pad, car and bicycle surface parking for visitors and residents, and secure underground parking.
A&S Homes builds modern condominium developments in a number of high-demand Winnipeg locations. This company is committed to quality customer service, professional craftsmanship, and the use of premium materials in every aspect of construction. With a history that stretches back to 1976, A&S has lots of experience building homes for the Winnipeg lifestyle.
A&S projects include Park East Condominiums, The Link, Ancaster Gate Signature Apartments, and Park City Condominiums. The Link is a special development dedicated to luxury 55+ living, with this modern concrete and steel design coming with an extensive array of private and common amenities. Residents can choose suites ranging from 900 sq ft to 1610 sq ft, with spacious bedrooms with walk-in closets and well designed baths and kitchens. Along with the beautiful rooftop terrace, residents can also enjoy bocce courts, a putting green, and an enclosed social area with 360-degree views.
Sunrex has over 25 years experience designing and building living spaces across Winnipeg. From new constructions through to complex renovations, this company takes great pride in its commitment to value, integrity, and innovation.
Sunrex Homes is dedicated to making beautiful and vibrant communities in the heart of Winnipeg. Condo developments by Sunrex include 454 Beliveau and Paddington Green. 454 Beliveau includes two separate finishes, with a bright, modern design complemented by quality materials and fantastic management services.
Hillside Group of Companies
Hillside Construction has been building homes and condos in Winnipeg since 1985 when it was founded by Henry Friesen. This company has recently been reaching out into the world of condos and multifamily developments, with a range of commercial projects and custom homes also being produced.
Winnipeg condo projects by Hillside include 431 Park, Connect, Elliot Park, Platinum, and Shadow Ridge. 431 Park features residential and commercial spaces along Beausejour’s Park Avenue, with this project featuring a bold exterior and quality interior finishes.
EdgeCorp Group provides a range of real estate services to the city of Winnipeg, from the early stages of planning and design through to the later stages of development and property management. The integrated approach used by EdgeCorp helps projects stay true to their original design while staying on budget.
Prominent projects by EdgeCorp include Park City Commons, The Icon on Portage, The Station, and The Edge. The Icon on Portage has been constructed at a historic West End location, with 60 affordable condos spread across four floors with indoor and outdoor parking. Quality craftsmanship and luxury finishes are ensured, with new buyers able to choose from 8 affordable suite layouts.
Ventura Developments offers building and development services across the city of Winnipeg. This company is the condominium development arm of the Ventura Group of Companies, that has over 30 years experience involved with residential development across the province of Manitoba.
Condo developments by Ventura include 24Seven Condos, Prairie Place, and The Village Junction. 24Seven Condos offer modern and open-plan condo suites in the vibrant Osborne Village community. With walk-in closets, floor to ceiling windows, large balconies and bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, large eat-in kitchen islands, and covered parking, this development promises style and luxury in a highly sought after Winnipeg location.
Winnipeg Real Estate Market
Winnipeg continues to enjoy mostly stable property market conditions, with overbuilding and excessive supply in the city mostly corrected thanks to renewed interest in condominiums. According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey, the average price of a home in the city increased by 3.9 percent over the year to reach $296,907 in the final quarter of 2017. Condominiums increased by 4.0 percent over the year to $243,914, with two-storey homes and bungalows rising by 3.7 percent and 4.2 percent respectively to $313,994 and $289,632.
While property prices have increased for all types of housing in the city, Winnipeg remains one of the most affordable metropolitan centers in Canada. First-home buyers in Winnipeg face fewer hurdles than they do in other cities, with low prices matched by strong employment figures, good wage growth, and other strong fundamentals. Unlike the heated markets of Toronto and Vancouver, Winnipeg scores low on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report card for overheating, price acceleration and overvaluation.
According to the CMHC, condos have been the biggest movers in Winnipeg over the last 12 months, with condo sales increasing by 52.5 percent in the third quarter of 2017 when compared to the same period in 2016. Overall, there were 188 condo sales in the third quarter, compared to just 130 the year before. According to the CMHC, the majority of sales were for units in the $200,000-$249,999 price range, with demand coming mostly from millennials and downsizing seniors.
The healthy rate of condo sales in Winnipeg has helped to correct overbuilding in the city which was flagged by the CMHC two years ago. There is now a more balanced position in Winnipeg according to the CMHC report, with condo prices accurately reflecting wider market conditions. While Winnipeg is often called a stable market thanks to its lack of price acceleration and risky conditions, the low prices, high demand, and favorable economic fundamentals provide a great opportunity for condo investors who want to enter the market.
Winnipeg Condos: A Buying Guide
From inner-city studio or one plus bedroom apartments through to suburban and rural condo communities, the real estate market in Winnipeg has something for everyone. Condo sales have skyrocketed in Winnipeg over the last year, with young people looking for an affordable way to enhance their lifestyle and older residents looking to downsize and enjoy their retirement. Whether you're a new homeowner or a seasoned investor, the opportunities provided by condos are often accompanied by new challenges. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take before signing a contract.
Managing your finances
For better or worse, when it comes to property, it all starts with money. Having an accurate working budget is critical before you start looking for a condo for sale, with the money needed for a deposit, property taxes, mortgage insurance, and closing costs just to name the most obvious expenses. It's important to start researching lenders and loans before you start researching neighborhoods and properties, including things like interest rates, mortgage fees, and customer service.
When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will look at your income and debt levels, including things like credit cards, student loans, and car loans. They'll also take a good hard look at your credit history before they offer mortgage pre-qualification in writing, which is generally valid for 90 days and comes with a guaranteed interest rate. While getting a mortgage in Winnipeg can be easier than it is in Toronto or Vancouver due to lower prices, it’s always important to manage your finances carefully before you start hunting for a condo.
Build a team you can trust
Finding a lender and getting pre-qualification is important, but it's just the first step. You still need to build the rest of your team, from accountants and lawyers through to a specialized real estate agent. Accurate legal advice is crucial in any property deal, with a lawyer needed to answer any legal questions that you might have. A real estate agent can help you get the best deal and answer questions related to property reviews, floor plans, condo documents or any other details you need to know.
Condo sale contracts have different contingencies than single dwellings, including maintenance fee structures and association regulations. It's important to find a specialized agent that meets your needs, with some agents in Winnipeg dedicated to new condo developments and others dealing exclusively with renovation condos or private resales. While you can purchase new condos directly from project developers, having access to a specialized real estate agent can save you time and money.
Hunting for a condo
What kind of condo development are you interested in? Where do you want to live? How much are you willing to pay? Hunting for a condo in Winnipeg is about online research and groundwork, with a real estate agent able to help you select between neighborhoods based on your budget and individual needs. Condos can be found across Winnipeg, from high-rise buildings in the inner-city through to suburban developments close to parks and schools. Before you choose a condo, it makes sense to write down a list of preferred locations based on access to amenities, transportation, and workplace locations. It's not just about the location, however, hunting for a condo also involves researching specific buildings and developers.
When you're looking for a condo, it's important to understand the difference between new condos, resale condos, and renovation condos. New condos are brand new buildings or those that are still in the pre-construction phase. Resale condos are existing apartments purchased directly from private owners. Renovation condos are re-purposed buildings, including old retail outlets and historic buildings. It's also important to research individual developers by taking a look at past projects, financial forecasts, and industry reputation. Once you have a building in mind, you can compare maintenance fees, review building rules and regulations, and make an offer.
Winnipeg Property Taxes
Property tax bills will be mailed to all property owners in Winnipeg on May 11, 2018, with taxes payable on or before June 29, 2018. Property taxes in Winnipeg help to pay for numerous city services, including public roads, public transportation, and local parks. Property taxes are based on the value of the property in question and the municipal tax rate set out in the annual civic budget. For 2017, Winnipeg’s general municipal property tax rate was 1.5012 percent.
The preliminary budget for 2018 includes a property tax increase in line with the rate of inflation. The average homeowner is likely to see an annual increase of $39.48 or 2.33 percent based on an average assessed value of $296,560. According to Mayor Brian Bowman, Winnipeggers could soon be faced with a more sizable property-tax hike as the result of provincial funding decisions. While the annual hike in property taxes is currently limited to 2.33 percent, this is likely to increase in 2019 due to growing fiscal-policy rift between the city and province.
Maintenance Fees for Winnipeg Condos
Whether you're living in a high-rise building or a suburban duplex, maintenance fees are an unavoidable part of condo living. A condo is a particular form of ownership rather than a type of building, with maintenance fees used to pay for the common areas and assets of the community. Depending on the building in question, this may include ongoing property maintenance, utilities, insurance, staff wages, and a contingency management fund. Before buying a condo, it's important to analyze fee structures carefully based on the square footage of the apartment and the service and amenities available.
While maintenance fees are not designed as a source of profit in the same way as rented apartments, they can still add up to a large percentage of your overall housing costs. Smaller buildings will often cost more because expenses need to be shared among fewer people, with older buildings also more expensive because they need more maintenance. The availability of services and amenities can differ widely between condos, with maintenance fees changing as a result. For example, access to a pool cleaner or concierge will involve higher staff wages, with gyms or common areas costing more to clean and maintain.
Before signing a condo contract, it's important to read the fine print regarding maintenance fees. While all fee structures are designed to cover common expenses such as cleaning and snow removal, some maintenance fees also include utilities such as water and heat. Specific fee structures are designed by each individual Condo Corporation during annual operating and maintenance budget meetings. While fees can seem expensive at first glance, condo living provides security and ease of maintenance that is unmatched by single dwellings. While average maintenance fees in Toronto have been estimated at $0.50 to $1.00 per square foot, rates can be much lower in smaller cities like Winnipeg depending on the building and location.
Living in Winnipeg FAQ
Q. How cold does it get in Winnipeg?
A. People are often scared of Winnipeg because of the cold temperatures, which occasionally drop below −40.0 °C. It's important to put this into perspective, however, with Winnipeg an incredibly seasonal city that also enjoys warm summers that average around 20.0 °C. The winter January average is around −16.4 °C.
Q. How safe is Winnipeg?
A. Winnipeg doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to safety, with this city recognized as the "murder capital" of Canada between 2007 and 2011. Winnipeg has had the highest violent crime index in Canada since 2009, with most crimes concentrated in the inner-city area. Despite high crime rates in some communities, most of the city is safe and well protected by the Winnipeg Police Force.
Q. What are the most popular festivals in Winnipeg?
A. Winnipeg hosts a wide range of festivals during the summer months, with the cold winters helping to create a real level of excitement around the city when temperatures start to rise. Folklorama is the largest and longest-running cultural celebration festival in the entire world, with Winnipeg also hosting several music festivals including The Jazz Winnipeg Festival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. There's even something to do during the colder months, with Festival du Voyageur being the largest winter festival in Western Canada.
Q. What are the biggest tourist attractions in Winnipeg?
A. Designed by architect Antoine Predock, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights provides an educational and immersive experience in a building that dominates the Winnipeg skyline. The Forks national historic site is another popular attraction, with this beautiful gathering place used by Aboriginal people in Canada for over 6,000 years. Other popular tourist attractions include the Exchange District, Assiniboine Park Zoo, and the Manitoba Museum.
Q. What are the most popular sports teams in Winnipeg?
A. Hockey is almost treated like a religion in Winnipeg and across the province of Manitoba. The Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL) have called Winnipeg home since 2011. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers play in the Canadian Football League, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes have played baseball in the city since 1994.
Millennium Developments has years of experience in building splendid dwellings for their customers, and enhancing the lives of communities. Their in-house construction management expertise coupled with retention of experienced consultants enables them to review designs, budget, and build elegant condos. Millennium strives to build quality and affordable designs in their condominium projects.
Pennyfarthing Homes has over 35 years of experience in the design and development of high calibre condos in prime neighborhoods across Vancouver. Their condos and communities are built far above the average with high quality materials. With Pennyfarthing you not only get better finishes and build quality, but also deep customer satisfaction.
Coromandel is dedicated to building innovative living environments that are truly designed for their customers. Coromandel builds on their vast experience, fostering long-term relationships with high-caliber architects, interior designers, and construction companies. Coromandel combines the latest advances in technology while being sensitive to the unique nature of every location.