You could actually know more about Saskatoon real estate, faster.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I’m not sure I get the “Twitter” thing.

I first signed up to use this “social media” tool a little more than a year ago. I think I gave it a fair shot (96 tweets and a lot of listening) but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m not that comfortable sharing the minor details of my life with others.

On the other hand, I am kinda crazy about sharing real estate stuff with those who are into it. If you’re into that, and you’re into Twitter, well, you might want to check out my Twitter stream here.

You probably won’t find out where I am, or what I had for dinner, but if you were checkin’ it out you’d know how many Saskatoon homes sold today, and what the average selling price was. You’d know that a property sold above a million bucks yesterday, and that another one picked up a sold sign today at just shy of a million. Heck, you’d even already know the average selling price of a Saskatoon home for March 2009.

So, hit me up on Twitter, won’t ya?

I’m over here, by myself, at the moment. ☺

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 @Norm_Fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

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

It was a pretty strong week for Saskatoon real estate, at least when compared to the softer activity that we’ve seen in recent months.  Unit sales showed further signs of life and new residential listings eased off from last week, finishing substantially lower than they did during this same week last year.

Forty-six single-family homes and eighteen condominiums pushed unit sales to sixty-four this week, up from fifty-eight last week but still well below the ninety-four homes that sold during the same week last year.  Six additional sales in the duplex and semi-detached categories pushed total residential unit sales in Saskatoon to seventy and produced the second highest sales week this year giving some sellers and agents hope that a spring market might be lurking somewhere around the corner.

New listings of houses and condos fell to just one hundred and thirteen properties, down twenty from last week, and well below the one hundred and sixty-four units that were offered for sale during the last week of March 2008. In spite of stronger sales and weaker listing activity, total residential listings managed to continue to grow, gaining twenty-nine units over last Friday’s close to finish at 1,422 including eight hundred and seventy-seven houses and four hundred and fifty-nine condos.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Sixty-five sellers adjusted their asking price using an old fashioned “price reduction” while another seventeen introduced a new price point by canceling and re-listing their home.

Prices gained some steam over the previous week in all three of our pricing measures, but year-over-year price drops became a little more pronounced as we finished our second week of “down from last year” stats. The average selling price of Saskatoon houses and condos came in about $15,000 higher than last week at $275,978. The six-week average picked up just a few hundred dollars to finish at $268,575, down from $281,070 for the same week last year. The four-week median gained $5,500 over the previous week but fell short of last year’s number by more than $10,000.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

It came as a surprise to nobody that the vast majority of sellers who managed to bag a deal gave up some dollars off of their asking price to make a sale go. The average underbid grew slightly to $11,907, up from $11,363 last week. Calculated as a percentage of list price the average discount was nearly identical to last week at 4.2%. For the most part, our underbid chart looks a lot like last week’s with about sixty-four percent of sales completing within $10,000 of the asking price. The larger discount categories did manage to steal a point here and there pushing the percentage of sales closed with a discount greater than $20,000 to eleven percent, slightly more than double last week’s number.

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 (March 16-20 2009)

Signs of spring life finally brought a little hope as Saskatoon real estate agents reported fifty-eight firm sales to the local MLS system, up nearly twenty percent over the previous week but still shy of the eighty-six unit sales of houses and condominiums produced during the same week last year. Still, it was nice to see that fifty-unit barrier broken. With any luck we’ll be seeing a lot more of this range through the spring months.

New listings of Saskatoon houses and condos came on equally strong this week as 133 properties were brought to the market, not including the twenty-four homes which were canceled and re-listed.  Ninety-two single-family homes and forty-one condos were offered for sale over the course of the week. Total active residential listings continued on an upward path growing by fifty units to finish the week at 1,394 properties including 857 houses and 453 condominiums.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Some of you have been watching the price graph wondering if we’d see an eventual intersection of lines, and if so, when. This was the week that it happened as prices showed year-over-year declines using all three value measures. The least significant is the weekly average, which often spikes around. It slid $20,000 below last week’s number to finish at $260,953. The six-week average moved nearly $7,000 from the week before to finish at $268,144 down about $4,500 from the same week last year. The four-week median saw similar changes sliding $6,500 from the previous week to $253,500, down from $260,750 for this week in 2008. All of the gains for 2008 are now but a memory, a sad reality for some and a hopeful sign for others who may have wondered if the ship had sailed without them.

Some have suggested that a rally is nearly imminent and that prices will be pushed to record highs in the months ahead. I have to say that it would be one heck of an impressive thing to see, and almost certainly the biggest adrenaline rush of my lifetime to participate in.

Can this market turn on dime? I suppose it’s possible, but frankly, it seems fairly improbable. It seems far more likely we will be facing our little period of year-over-year downs that has found most real estate markets around the world. We have some near impossible numbers to beat to avoid it. Last March, the average selling price of a property in the residential category was $289,440. This year, were sitting at $255,455, month to date. If the magical real estate fairies brought us another hundred unit sales at the highest weekly average we’ve ever seen ($332,000) we’d still finish March below last year’s number. Take comfort in knowing that we are rapidly moving back towards healthier market conditions, a market in which an average Saskatoon family can afford to buy an average Saskatoon home, and one in which an average Saskatoon homeowner can find a buyer for their home in sixty days or less. This is the spot we should be hoping to find again. It’s a pretty happy place in the real estate world.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

This week’s average underbid grew in dollar amount and percentage of list price to $11,363 and 4.2% respectively. The percentage of sellers who bagged an offer within $5K of their asking price remained steady at thirty-five, while the $5,001-$10,000 category slid slightly from thirty-five percent last week to twenty-nine. The following two categories ballooned, nearly doubling over the previous week, while the two categories representing the largest discounts saw just five percent of sales, nearly one-third of the number seen the previous 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 (March 9-13 2009)

New listings activity declined by fourteen units over last week as Saskatoon real estate agents introduced a total of 126 residential listings to the local MLS including 121 single-family homes and condominiums (85 houses & 36 condos). Following eight weeks of gains in new listings on a year-over-year basis, this marks the second consecutive week in which new listings have been down fairly significantly over last year. Still, total active residential listing managed to grow by thirty properties to finish the week at 1,343. There are currently 827 single-family homes and 431 condominiums offered for sale within the city of Saskatoon, compared to 274 and 112 respectively for the same week last year.

New listing activity may have been off, but sales also remain sluggish for March. A total of 49 houses and condos were reported firmly sold to the Saskatoon MLS, the same volume that traded hands last week, but nearly half the number that sold during the same week last year. I had every expectation that sales levels would be lower than those recorded through March of 2007 and 2008, but I am a little surprised that we are falling short of that fifty-unit mark in what is traditionally one of the strongest months of the year for residential real estate.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Following two weeks of back-to-back drops, the average selling price of a Saskatoon home bounced back from its 2009 weekly low of $232,035 and reached $280,210 by the close of business Friday. The six-week average continued to decline for the fourth consecutive week recording a loss of about $1,500 compared to last week and showing a year-over-year gain of just under $10,000. The four-week median fell over $8,000 from the week before to finish at $260,000, just $9,000 ahead of the same week last year. Looking back to 2008 our graph shows the six-week average and the four-week median going through a pretty major growth spurt for the next number of weeks. Given the rather substantial change in the supply and demand picture, it seems more likely that both of these numbers will slip below those recorded last year within the next couple of weeks.

Sixty seven price changes were recorded over the course of the week, and sixteen of thirty-three canceled or withdrawn listings came back to the MLS system for another go, most at a new price.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

The average underbid for the week increased slightly from $10,577 last week to $10,929. Given the significantly higher average sale price this week, the discount actually amounted to 3.8% of the asking price, down from 4.1 last week.

The percentage of sellers who managed a deal within $5,000 of their asking price increased from 18% last week to 35%, while the $5,001 to $10,000 category got a little smaller falling from 45% to 35%. The $10,001-$15,000 category fell to just 8% from 21% the week before and the $15,001-$20,000 category moved in the same direction falling to 8% from 12%. The $20,0001-$25,000 underbids category saw some big gains growing to 10% from just 4% the week before. Four buyers managed to negotiate an accepted offer with a discount greater than $25K.

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

Just how big a problem are subprime mortgages in Canada?

A story titled, “Canada’s dirty subprime secret,” appears in today’s Globe and Mail and claims that Canadian leaders are simply wrong about the extent to which the subprime mortgage mess will affect Canadians. According to the Globe’s report, it’s a bigger problem than we might have expected and its effects are already being felt in British Columbia and Alberta where “lenders are foreclosing on the homes of overextended borrowers at an alarming pace.”

Since the subprime mortgage meltdown in the United States, Canadian leaders have assured the public that a similar tidal wave of foreclosures can’t hit here. They have cited the prudence and market dominance of Canada’s five most prominent banks, the conservatism of Canadian consumers and the tiny, 7-per-cent market share of subprime lenders, which is much lower than their 22-per-cent market share in the United States. Just four days ago in a speech, Prime Minister Harper said: “We have avoided the extreme of the unregulated, or barely regulated, financial and mortgage industries that has caused such grief around the world.”

However, The Globe’s investigation shows that while Canada’s real estate sector hasn’t suffered as much as its counterpart in the United States, the Prime Minister and others have grossly underestimated the impact of that small portion of subprime lenders. Until recently, companies who touted their low standards with slogans such as “We Say Yes When The Banks Say No!” and “No Income Verification” proliferated here.

Read the Globe and Mail story here.

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