Saskatoon real estate: Week in review (February 23-27 2009)

Sales of Saskatoon houses and condos continued at a rather lackluster pace this week as local real estate agents reported just forty-seven sales, up two units from last week, but nearly half the number reported during the same week last year when ninety-two such properties sported a sold sign.

Residential listing activity remained brisk as seventy-four single-family homes and forty-four condominiums were offered for sale on the Saskatoon multiple listing service, down two units from last week, and up nine from the same week in 2008. Total active residential listings gained ground again for the fourth week in a row suggesting confirming that we are now into our spring listing market. At the close of business Friday 1,298 residential listings were showing an active status, up 56 properties from the previous week, and well ahead of the 370 properties available at this time last year when inventories pushed towards record lows and just 204 houses and 127 condos were for sale. Today, take your pick from 785 houses and 429 condominiums.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Thirteen of twenty-six canceled or withdrawn listings made another appearance as a new listing, most offered at a lower price. An additional seventy-four sellers adjusted their asking price in hopes of getting a jump of the competition. Condo sales had a strong week accounting for nearly one in three sales, and pushed the average selling price for the week down sharply from $295,014 last week to $269,628, just fourteen dollars higher than it was for the same week in 2008. The median sale price for the week sank even further and settled at $253,500, down just over $30,000 from $285,000 last week. The six-week average came in at $281,573, down just $2,000 from last week and about $23,000 higher than it was the same week in 2008. The median also fell slightly week-over-week to $263,750 but maintained a gain of $15,500 over the same week last year.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

While home buyers definitely weren’t out in droves, those that did buy clearly took it easy on their seller of choice as the average underbid reached its lowest level since the week of August 25-29, and came in below $10,000 for the first time since that same week. The underbid graph presents a picture that we haven’t seen before as a full forty percent of the week’s sales recorded a price within $5,000 of list and an additional thirty-four percent came in between $5,001 and $10,000. The $10,001-$15,000 accounted for 11% of sales compared to 16% last week while the $15,001-$20,000 category picked up a single percentage point and finished at six. The $20,001-$25,000 category more than doubled to nine percent while the underbids which exceeded $25,000 completely fell off of the chart for the first time since I started publishing these stats.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Saskatoon real estate: Week in review (February 16-20 2009)

Sales were sluggish for the third week of February with Saskatoon real estate agents reporting firm sales on a total of forty-nine residential units including thirty-six single-family homes, nine condominiums, three semi-detached homes and one mobile. At just forty-five houses and condos (the units we track here), that number represents a drop of fifteen properties compared to last week, and a fifty-four percent decline from the same week last year when ninety-eight homes traded hands.

Residential listing activity remained brisk as 127 properties were placed on the Saskatoon multiple listing service, among them, thirty-four condos and eighty-seven single-family detached houses. That’s fairly even with the numbers posted during the previous week, and represents about a twelve percent increase compared to the same week last year. Total active residential listings crept higher again finishing the week at 1,242 properties, up twenty-nine units from 1,213 last week. The current Saskatoon housing inventory includes 753 houses and 409 condominiums. At this time last year, there were 189 houses and 135 condominiums for sale in the Saskatoon real estate market.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Fifty-one price changes occurred over the course of the week and seventeen of twenty-seven cancelled listings came back to the system as a new listing, most showing a new price.

Once again, with the majority of the week’s sales being captured by detached houses (80% houses, 20% condos), and a strong median of $285,000, prices remained strong. The weekly average sale price pushed higher to settle at $295,014, up from $278,727 last week. The six-week average selling price moved a small amount to $283,609, up approximately $1,800 from last week, but ahead by nearly $27,000 compared to the same week last year when it was just $256,860. The four-week median made larger gains finishing at $265,500, up $6,500 from the previous week and gaining $18,500 over the same week last year when it closed at $247,000. Please refer to last week’s review for a bit of an explanation of how the average is staying high, while prices are more or less level with last year.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

While nearly everything that sold traded below the seller’s asking price, the average underbid declined to just $12,294 and reached its lowest level since the week of September 8-12. The percentage of deals that were struck within $5,000 of the asking price declined from 27% last week to just 20% this week, but the $5,001-$10,000 category ballooned to 44% from just 17% the previous week. All other categories, except the $25K+ that grew from 7% to 11%, shrunk this week.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Saskatoon real estate: Week in review (February 9-13 2009)

The inventory of residential real estate listings gained some ground again this week breaking the 1,200 mark for the first time since late December to settle at 1,213 units including 737 single-family homes and 395 condominiums. Last year at this time, total residential listings sat at 361 units including 189 single-family houses and just 133 condos. Over the course of the week Saskatoon real estate agents added 118 single-family homes and condominiums to the local MLS database. That number represents a decline in new listings of twenty-four properties compared to last week when 142 homes were listed, and an increase of eleven properties compared to the same week last year when 107 homes were offered for sale.

Unit sales strengthened some for the second consecutive week as sixty homes were reported sold, up from forty-nine last week, but down sharply from the ninety-four homes recorded as sold during the same week last year.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Sixty-two Saskatoon home sellers changed their price over the course of the week, while an additional fourteen canceled and re-listed at a new price hoping to attract a buyer.

The average selling price for the week came back down to earth following two weeks in which the averages were pushed higher due to sales exceeding $1 million. This week, the average fell nearly $20,000 to close at $278,727. The six-week average remained stable at $281,811 when compared to the previous week but it continues to show gains of nearly $30,000 compared with the same week last year when it was just $251,804. The four-week median price fell $5,500 from last week, reaching $259,000, a gain of $17,000 compared with the same week last year.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

How is it that prices still appear to be fairly strong on a year-over-year basis? Is the average Saskatoon home still fetching $30,000 more than it would have during the same week last year? Technically, yes. Were prices actually up in January over the previous January as the real estate board stats suggest? Absolutely not and this is where “averages” can be misleading. The “average price” is certainly higher but it’s important to note that different types of homes are selling. In January 2008, condominiums accounted for a full 40% of all residential sales. In January 2009, condo sales accounted for just 20% of all residential sales. If you remove all of the “other stuff” like vacant lots, mobile homes, duplexes, etc. and just look at the ratio of houses and condos, you’ll see that condos account for 45% of sales in 2008 and just 20% in 2009. Let’s do a little math here to demonstrate the point. To make this exercise as simple as possible, and to demonstrate how this kind of a condo to house sale ratio can skew the averages, let’s assume that prices are roughly the same in January 2009 as they were in January 2008. We’ll use $290,000 for single-family homes and $220,000 for the condos.

You’ll note that the “average sale price” increases more than $17,000, or approximately seven per cent in this example on a year-over-year basis. In fact, everyone that bought a house paid $290,000 and everyone who bought a condominium paid $220,000 in each of the two years. Prices did not change at all. This is precisely the case for Saskatoon homes. As the “Closer look” for January suggests, the price of a Saskatoon home is pretty close to what it was at this time last year. While the average sale price is seven per cent higher this year, prices have not increased seven percent since January 2008.

The average underbid came in much lower this week at $13,438, compared to $17,018 the week before. Still, buyers paying a price within $10,000 of the asking price fell to fewer than 50%, a rare occurrence even in this tough buyer’s market. The seven percent of buyers lost in these categories moved directly to the big underbid categories with the $15,001-$20,000 category growing from 12% to 17% and the $20,001-$25,000 category growing from 2% last week to 5% this week.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Asbestos in the home

Citizens of Canada’s are no strangers to asbestos problems. Used throughout the 20th century as a prominent building material and insulator, health hazards related to asbestos has affected millions worldwide. Highly regarded for its qualities as heat and fire resistant, homes, buildings, and other products built before 1980 could still contain asbestos materials.

If you are a potential homeowner or are seeking to remodel an older home, exposure can cause many health concerns for you and your family. If you are interested in living in a safe, healthy environment, free of health damaging materials, here is some information to get you on that track.

Asbestos exposure can cause a debilitating lung ailment known as mesothelioma. This asbestos-related illness is one of the hardest for physicians to diagnose for a variety of reasons. The disease typically has a latency period lasting anywhere from 20 to 50 years when it has already reached its later stage of development. Its symptoms also resemble many of other less serious conditions. Mesothelioma treatment is usually limited to a handful of procedures and results vary from patient to patient. If your home or jobsite has had asbestos removed, exposure may have occurred previously and receiving a medical checkup is of the upmost importance.

Health Canada offers assistance and information in the prevention, disposal and removal of asbestos. They are federally responsible for helping citizens maintain and improve health at home and the work place. Homeowners should not disturb any suspected asbestos themselves as this makes its fibers airborne. The inspection and removal of toxic substances must be performed by licensed abatement contractors who are trained in handling dangerous materials. They work under provincial and federal regulations to ensure no health concerns arise from improper removal.

Once the area is asbestos free, environmentally sustainable materials should be considered including cotton fiber, cellulose and lcynene, water based spray polyurethane foam that can reduce energy costs annually. With the constant growth in technology, there is absolutely no need for health damaging materials such as asbestos.

Click for a larger image displaying potential problem areas for asbestos in the home.

A qualified home inspector can often detect the presence of asbestos and other potentially dangerous products that may have been used in home construction over the years. Put “healthy living environment” for your family at the top of your “wants and needs” list when shopping for a new home.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

A closer look at the Saskatoon real estate statistics for January 2009

The Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors recently reported January 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 213 properties across all of these property types, and an average sale price of $278,545. Let’s have a look at how houses (single-family detached homes) and condominiums did in comparison to the entire residential category.

Following four consecutive months of declines, single-family home inventory showed an increase of four units, month-over month, closing January with a total of 688 properties available for purchase. While the active inventory of “houses” for sale is four times higher than it was last January when it fell towards record lows and reached just 169 units, some chatter can be heard within the industry that there just isn’t much to show, especially if a buyer isn’t interested in buying new.

Single-family homes sales were strong through the month of January finishing at 164 properties, up from 109 in December, and nine units higher than the 155 unit sales recorded in January of 2008.

Condominium inventory continued to decline through January, falling modestly to 363 units, from 381 the month before, but substantially higher than the 142 units which were available for purchase at the close of January 2008. There were no complaints heard from agents about any shortage of available product. ☺

Sales of Saskatoon condos showed marginal declines over December 2008 falling four units to 40 properties. If that doesn’t seem too bad to you, have a look back to January 2008 when 123 condos traded hands and you’ll get some appreciation for how much the condo market has changed. In hindsight, my recent thoughts that the “condo market is showing promising signs” may have been ahead of their time.

Following an amazing plunge in December when the average selling price of a Saskatoon house reached its low for the year at $274,521, prices rebounded nearly $19,000 to finish January at $293,079. Year-over-year, the average remained slightly higher by just over $3,000. In spite of a strong monthly average, the three-month average sale price continued to slide for the seventh consecutive month reaching $291,222, down approximately $4,000 compared to last month, but remaining about $21,000 higher than it was during the same month last year. The median price pushed higher to $277,450, up from $264,000 in December, and sharply higher than $255,900 in January 2008.

All but one of the five major trading areas experienced an increase in the average price per square foot through January. Area 3 saw the largest jump rising to $251 from $221 in December, and up $14 from the same month last year. Area 5 was the only area to record a decline. The average price per square foot came in at $237, down from $239 the month before. Across all five areas, the average price per square foot was up to $246 from $231 in December, and $10 higher than January 2008 when it reached $236.

In the Saskatoon condo market, the average selling price moved in the opposite direction falling over $16,000 from $236,986 in December, and reaching $220,406 over the first month of 2009. That number is up just $1,200 from the average recorded in January 2008. The three-month average slid to $227,590, down from $229,082 in December, and $229,056 last year. The median price for a Saskatoon condo remained stable month-over-month at $219,500, which represents a decline of $4,500 compared to January 2008 when it was $224,000.

The price per square foot number for Saskatoon condominiums continued on its downward trend reaching $213, down $6 from December and $9 from last January. Area 1 showed an increase month-over-month rising to $215 from $201 the month before, but down from $225 in January 2008. Area 3 showed the sharpest decline falling a whopping $36 to $223. You may recall that there were a couple of Spadina Crescent condo sales in December that pushed the average higher by $53 over the previous month. Still, year-over-year averages were down sharply in area 3, falling from $250 to $223. Area 2 showed the bleakest year-over-year numbers as the average price per square foot fell to $221 from $270.

The gap between the price of a Saskatoon house and a condo widened significantly through January. At times over the past two years, these numbers have gotten too close so it’s encouraging to see that gap widen some.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate