A closer look at the Saskatoon real estate statistics for November 2008

The Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors recently reported November results for the entire residential category of Saskatoon real estate, which includes single-family homes, condominiums, semi-detached properties, duplexes, mobile homes and vacant lots. Unit sales totaled 181 properties across all of these property types, and an average sale price of $278,495. Let’s have a look at how houses (single-family detached homes) and condominiums did in comparison to the entire residential category.

Residential listing inventory took a pretty good slide this month in both the house and condo categories. Total active listings of Saskatoon houses for sale fell to 882 from 990 at the close of October, and 1,053 the month before. Condo listings landed at 493 units, down from 530 the month before. Sales also weakened in both categories as house sales fell to just 132 units, down from 162 the month before and way off of the 223 properties sold in November 2007. Saskatoon condo sales slipped to 38 units, down just a smidge from October’s weak performance when 40 units traded, but off by 50% compared to November 2007 when 77 condos changed hands.

The price of a Saskatoon house saw marginal declines according to all four value indicators through the month of November. Average selling prices slid to $302,508 from $305,021 in October but remained significantly higher than the $257,491 recorded in November of 2007. The median house price slid $5,000 for the second month to settle at $285,000 and the three-month average showed it’s fifth consecutive monthly decline down by just $1,000 compared to the previous month.

All but one of the five major trading areas experienced a decline in the price per square foot on houses that traded. Area 5 managed a gain from $239 in October to $244 in November. Area 4 took the biggest dive falling from $196 in October to just $162 in November. On average, across all areas, the average price paid per square foot on houses declined from $247 last month to $242 this month. That’s just a 2% decline on a month-over-month basis but a 15.5% decline from its peak in May when the average price per square foot of a Saskatoon house was $280.

In the Saskatoon condo market, the numbers are not quite as simple but a close look does provide some clues. First, the average selling price inched down slightly, falling just over $2,000 from $224,970 in October to $222,834 in November. The median selling price shows a small gain from $210,000 to $214,000 and the three-month average is more or less level with the previous month at $230,812. On a month-over-month basis those don’t look like big changes, but year-over-year we see a pretty significant downward trend. In November 2007, the average selling price of a Saskatoon condo was 8% higher at a whopping $241,339.

The price per square foot number for Saskatoon condominiums provides a clearer picture of how condos have been affected over this period of correction. Again, area 5 manages to produce a gain on just three unit sales but the numbers tumble in areas 1 and 2. With average selling prices fairly stable, we can see that buyers are clearly buying larger units for roughly the same amount of money. Overall, the average selling price of a Saskatoon condo, on a price per square foot basis fell roughly 6% over the month from $231 in October to just $217 in November.

The gap between the price of a Saskatoon house and a condo continues to widen. We are finally seeing pretty substantial differences (30-35%) between the average price of these two types of properties and the cost per square foot measure has grown slightly larger as well. Last November, house prices were not quite 7% higher than a condo. Prices on a cost per square foot basis were actually higher for condos than houses at $234 and $225 respectively. This was just one of the strange imbalances that occurred in our real estate market through 2007 which has managed to sort itself out.

Condos are starting to look far more realistic at their current price point, perhaps even reasonable given the huge rents that they’re generating. I can’t help but wonder if future prices changes won’t be a little closer to what houses have been experiencing. Entry-level apartments that came close to $200,000 through the spring are now available in the $160,000 range and a decent townhouse can be had for as low as $210,000. I wonder how long it will be before renters facing constant increases start to look to these properties as a solid option. From a seller’s perspective, renting a condo is now an option that may be as good as selling it. I guess it all depends on where you think prices are headed and when this correction will end.

See a Google map displaying the boundaries of Saskatoon real estate “areas” here
Data collection and calculation for our statistical reports

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Residential unit sales soften as market continues to correct: SRAR

The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) has released November’s statistics for the residential category along with the following media release.

The active residential listings number dropped slightly during the month of November. Buyers had 1495 properties to choose from at the end of November that number down from 1667 properties being available in October of this year.

Saskatoon REALTORS® listed 425 homes in November that number up 13% from November 2007 when 375 homes were placed on the market, Year to date 7,891 residential properties have been listed for sale.

The average selling price remained steady for November at $278,495.00 up 11% from November 2007 when the average selling price was $251,209.00. Year to date the average selling price stands at $288,807.00 up 25 % from 2007. These higher average sale price numbers indicate significant sales activity in the mid to upper price range.

181 residential properties sold in November that number down 43% from November 2007 when 316 units sold. The year 2007 was a unique year for sales activity. When measured against 2005 and 2006 the unit sales are down 22% when 230 units sold. Year to date 3,360 units have sold down 21% from 2007 having a total of 4,234 residential units sold. The 2008-year to date unit sales number is up 2% measured against 2006 when 3,276 residential units sold. When 2008 sales numbers are compared to 2005, unit sales are up 15% when year to date number stood at 2,861units sold.

Residential dollar volume year to date is on par with 2007 with REALTORS® having sold $970,392,000.00 of real estate. Year to date dollar volume in 2006 stood at $523,242,000.00.

The $300 to 400,000 price range has experienced the highest activity in 2008 followed by the $225 to 250,000.00 price range. Year to date 161 residential units have sold over $500,000.00.

The global economic slow down will in some way affect all areas of Canada. All indicators point to Saskatchewan being one of the best places to weather the storm. As indicated in the Canadian Real Estate Association news release, consumer confidence is being battered by downbeat headline news. Homebuyer sentiment has become very cautious, by contrast to the urgency to purchase in 2007.

There are fewer buyers and they are taking longer to shop, so the pricing environment is very competitive.

Unrealistically priced homes will sit on the market. Sellers are by and large under no distress to sell. Those who put their home on the market at an unrealistic price and are unwilling to cut it will likely take it off the market when the listing expires with a view to selling another day.

Canadians are definitely concerned by the economic news out of the U.S., and much of that news stems from distress in the U.S. housing market. Canadians should realize that Canada’s economy and housing market are both in better shape. This means the downturn in Canadian consumer confidence will pass and when it does, housing demand will rebound, especially when they realize the window of opportunity to buy at reduced prices and at low interest rates will begin to narrow once economic growth shows signs of rebounding next year.

My Closer Look at the Saskatoon Real Estate Statistics for November will follow in the next couple of days. That report examines sales and listing activity for condominiums and single-family detached homes.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate