Saskatoon real estate market on its way to full recovery: Remax

Remax released it’s 2010 Market Trends Report today stating that “healthy levels” of inventory and demand that is gaining momentum are moving the Saskatoon real estate market towards a “full recovery.”

Other tidbits from the Saskatoon section of the report include the following:

  • While sales are still off of last year’s numbers average prices continue to edge up.
  • Balanced conditions characterize the market overall.
  • Rising demand could create a “tightening of supply” in the single-family home inventory.
  • Multiple offers have re-emerged in prime “hot pocket neighbourhoods” but remain the exception.
  • First time buyers account for the “lion’s share” of activity.
  • A “good selection” of condominiums still exists.
  • Buyers remain cautious, as do developers
  • Speculation is virtually “non-existent” in the Saskatoon market.

The report provides market opinions provided by Remax brokers in 16 major Canadian markets including Remax Saskatoon. Read the full report 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.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Saskatoon real estate week in review: February 15-19 2010

Saskatoon real estate sales cooled off this week as just fifty-one house and condo sales were reported to the local MLS, a drop of thirteen units compared to the previous week, but ahead of sales for the same week last year when just forty-five homes changed hands. Reports of multiple offers continued, especially in the $250,000-$350,000 range, though buyers are clearly proceeding more cautiously than in past years as evidenced by the relatively small number of overbid sales. Most agents would probably tell you that the lower number of sales is related to a shortage of inventory in this key price range. While the lion’s share of the buying activity for single-family homes occurs below the $350,000 mark, about fifty-five percent of the houses that are currently for sale are priced above that.

New listings remained steady on a week-over-week basis with ninety-seven new listings coming on the system, but fell sharply compared to the same week in 2009 when 121 properties were offered for sale. This week’s listings included seventy-five houses and twenty-two condominiums.

Total active listings inched up again climbing above the eight hundred mark for the first time in a few months. Listings sit at 801 today, up for 766 at the close of the previous week and down from 1,242 for the same time last year. Most of the growth we saw this week was in single-family homes, which moved ahead thirty-six units over last week to 449. Available Saskatoon condominiums were fairly steady moving higher by just two properties to 309 units. Last year at this time there were 753 houses and 409 condos showing an active status on the Saskatoon multiple listing service.

Cancelled and withdrawn listings came in low at just fourteen units. Eight of those immediately re-entered the system as a new listing, most at a new lower price. Ten sellers took the shorter route by simply reducing their asking price.

Slower sales and a slightly higher inventory didn’t hold prices back as the average selling price of a Saskatoon home surged ahead to reach its highest point since the week of September 15-19, 2008 at $312,362. That’s nine thousand dollars higher than last week’s number and roughly eighteen thousand dollars higher than the same week last year. Higher sale prices over the past two weeks pushed the six-week average to a six-week high of $286,421 gaining nearly seven thousand dollars over the previous week and about three thousand over the same week in 2009. The four-week median also moved higher reaching $286,995 up nearly eleven thousand compared to last week and twenty-one thousand dollars higher than the number recorded for the same period last year.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

The number of overbid sales fell again as just four units traded above asking price by an average of $7,503. Four more sellers got what they asking while fifty-one settled for a discounted price that averaged 2.6 percent of the asking price, or $8,470.

Highlights from the news this week

As games begin, real estate is all uphill
Canada housing prices may fall, David Dodge tells Globe and Mail
Dodge suggests Feds should cool housing market
Flaherty tightens mortgage taps
Flaherty sets stricter mortgage rules
David Rosenberg took your questions on housingNational resale activity edges down in JanuaryHousing market strong but cooling
Real estate set for rise ahead of new rules

A map displaying the boundaries of Saskatoon real estate areas is here.
An overview of data collection and calculation practices for our statistical reports is 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.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

New Canadian mortgage rules effective April 19 2010

Insisting that Canada is not facing a housing bubble, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a tightening on mortgage lending rules, which he says will “help prevent negative trends from developing.”

Effective April 19, 2010 the following changes will take effect.

Home buyers must qualify for their mortgage using the five-year fixed mortgage rate, regardless of the term that they chose to finance their home.

Refinance loans will be limited to ninety percent of a home’s value.

A twenty percent down payment will be required to finance government backed mortgage insurance on investment property.

Do these changes go far enough to cool the Canadian housing market?

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.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Mortgage lending requirements in Canadian banks about to get tougher

Photo of Flaherty by Joshua Sherurcij

Canada’s Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty will announce this morning a change in lending rules that will further limit the amount of cash buyers can borrow to finance a home according to a report on Globe and Mail.

Stimulus cash, and historically low interest rates have created an enticing environment for Canadian home buyers who have flooded the market to produce near record sale numbers across much of the nation. The average selling price of a Canadian home gained nineteen percent in a year while the economy was largely stagnant, prompting talk of a housing bubble and concern that some buyers may not be able to service their current debt levels when rates return to historical norms.

There is general consensus in the financial community that raising interest rates is not the right answer to cool what some see as an overheated housing market. Bringing this beast under control without mucking things up for the economy in general is a delicate dance. Some are speculating that the rule changes will bring tougher qualification rules, and perhaps a reduction in the maximum allowable amortization period to repay a mortgage. The Canadian government reduced the maximum allowable amortization period from 40 years to 35 years in July of 2008 following a massive run up in home prices across Canada.

Flaherty will address reporters in Ottawa this morning at 8:00 AM Eastern.

Update: New Canadian mortgage rules effective April 19 2010

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.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Microsoft's Bing moves mapping beyond simple directions and street views

One of the most exciting on-going developments in technology has to be mapping. Today, maps are moving to new levels that go far beyond simple directions and street views. Data that is location specific and appropriately tagged with geo-coordinates is flowing onto the web at a rapid pace finding its way onto maps, and changing the way that we view the world.

Street level, three-dimensional images provide a close-up view of any location, flickr images contributed by users around the globe provide a glimpse into the past and in some cases, streaming video may open a window into the present. If that’s not enough to blow you away take a walk indoors or gaze towards the heavens for an astronomically complete representation of the sky above.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas, a Microsoft architect presented new developments to their Bing Maps at the TED 2010 conference happening in California showing us how various technologies and bits of data are being integrated into their mapping software to change the way we can interact with maps and data. This eight minute video is a must watch for any tech geek.

Imagine the possibilities for real estate.

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.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate