The City of Saskatoon has approved plans to make 2,192 residential lots available to home builders and consumers who wish to build homes in 2007, provided that the manpower required to install water and sewer services can keep up with demand. The current plan has over 1,600 of those lots slated for single-family homes. In 2006 there were fewer than 900 single-family homes constructed within the Saskatoon city limits.
Council will vote Monday on a plan to allow the Builder’s Initiative Group, a coalition of some of Saskatoon’s largest builders to directly purchase 100 lots from the City. The remainder of them would be sold through a single-pick land draw process.
Alan Thomarat, executive director of the Saskatoon Region Home Builder’s Association has worked hard to lobby City Council and to gain support from other stakeholders in the Saskatoon real estate business, effectively arguing that the city can easily find willing buyers for 2,000 lots per year. No doubt, he’s pleased by this decision but he is cautious in his optimism noting that builders need some assurance that they can count on the city to move this policy forward in coming years. Contractors will need to feel confident that they’ll have work before making commitments to substantially build their labour force.
This is good news from my perspective. A quick check of the MLS® system today shows fewer than 250 active residential listings in Saskatoon across all neighbourhoods and price ranges. Last year at this time, there were more than twice as many homes on the market, and even then, selection seemed very limited for prospective buyers. Low inventory levels are putting heavy pressure on the price of Saskatoon homes. Hopefully, this new land development policy will be effective in restoring some needed balance to the Saskatoon real estate market.
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Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate