City Park Local Area Plan adopted by City Council

City Hospital over Kinsmen Park

The 175-page document known as the City Park Local Area Plan was adopted by council at last night’s meeting, the first major step towards implementation of 38 recommendations which were developed in consultation with community stakeholders including area residents, business owners, and property owners.

Traffic, circulation and parking issues top the list of concerns in Saskatoon’s most densely populated community. In addition to the highest number of dwellings per acre of any Saskatoon neighbourhood, City Park is also home to City Hospital and various attractions along the river’s edge that draw Saskatoon residents to this treasured community.

Read the City Park Local Area Plan here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

City Council chickens out on Willowgrove resident’s request

Chickens have great personalities, according to one Willowgrove resident who petitioned council to allow her to raise a few in her yard, but they won’t be living amongst us anytime soon.

In an 8-2 vote, council voted in favour of receiving Debbie Johnston’s three-page request as information instead of referring it to city administration for a formal report.

According to a Star Phoenix story published this evening, Councillor Gordon Wyant warned that allowing people to raise chickens could only lead to bigger things. With that, Mayor Atchison declared the matter put “to bed once and for all” and Ms. Johnston left the meeting “pissed off.”

The idea of raising chickens in the city isn’t a new one. David Hutton reports that Vancouver is considering a proposal to allow residents to keep up to four hens in their yard. “Several marches” have occurred in Calgary to try to get the city to lift bylaws banning it there. A facebook page titled “Raising Chickens” has been “liked” more than 500 times.

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

Confederation Mall finds new anchor in Canadian Tire

Walmart‘s move towards free standing outlets has left some gaping holes to fill in shopping centres across the country. Confederation Mall was faced with the prospect of filling 130,000 square feet of retail space when its longstanding anchor tenant built a new store in the Blairmore Suburban Centre and moved earlier this year.

The Confederation Park area mall announced yesterday that a new anchor tenant has been secured. Canadian Tire, a nationally recognized retailer will grab the space and set up shop by early 2011.

Speaking to the Star Phoenix, ICR Commercial Real Estate agent Ron Ritchie said, “We’re going to see improvements to the whole mall – basically upgrading it and getting it up to date so it’s going to compete in the marketplace with everybody else.”

Saskatoon real estate week in review: April 19-23 2010

Saskatoon real estate sales continued to push towards the high end of the range of unit sales that we’ve been seeing lately. Eighty-eight single-family homes and condominiums traded hands through the course of the week, seven fewer than last week, but right on par with the same period last year.

After posting two consecutive record weeks for this calendar year, new listings of Saskatoon homes took a tumble and fell to their lowest level in the past five weeks with just one hundred and thirty-six properties offered for sale, a decline of thirty-two units compared to last week, but still exceeding the number of houses and condos listed during the same week in 2009 by four.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

In spite of strong sales and weaker listing activity, the inventory of Saskatoon residential listings continued to grow gaining thirty-four units over the previous week to finish at 1,214. Still, total active listings sit roughly two hundred and fifty units lower than they did at this time last year. This week, the majority of the gains were counted in the condo category, which moved from 416 to 436, while single-family homes picked up just ten units over the week to finish at 717.

2008 and 2009 numbers provide little insight into what we might expect this year as the two could hardly be more different. The inventory started to grow late in 2008 and didn’t peak until September. The following year, we see inventory taking off earlier but peaking at lower numbers in early May. This year, inventory began to grow early like it did in 2009 but the growth line is clearly sharper and looking quite a bit more like 2008’s line.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Cancelled and withdrawn listings amounted to thirty, but as usual, the majority of them (twenty-four) came back on the market during the same week bearing a pretty “new listing” banner with days on the market reset to zero. Additionally, a whopping seventy-one price changes were recorded with sixty-five of those moving lower and six edging higher. The inventory that saw increases were mostly new condos in the low $200’s, and two single-family homes priced in the mid $400’s.

The average selling price of a Saskatoon home pushed slightly higher on a week-over-week basis gaining thirty-two hundred dollars to $299,399 and picking up gains of fifteen thousand dollars compared to the same week last year. The six-week average inched up just eight hundred dollars from last week and finished twenty-seven thousand dollars higher than it was at this time last year to close the week at $291,153. The four-week median selling price of a Saskatoon home was $279,900, lower than last week by two grand but twenty-thousand dollars higher than the number recorded during the same week in 2009.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

After an unusually large spike in overbid activity last week, above list price sales took a dive and accounted for just three of the eighty-eight sales reported. The average overbid went in the opposite direction increasing by close to four times to $19,112. It was driven higher by one sale that went over by $45,000. Given that it was a new home, on the market for close to one hundred days I expect that the price probably included additional improvements that were not included in the asking price. Ten sellers managed to get their full asking price. Seventy-five negotiated with their buyer to the tune of $7,410 on average.

Click the image for a larger version of the chart.

Highlights from the news this week

Entry-level housing project abandoned (local)
Is there a housing bubble in Canada?
Mark Carney signals interest rates to rise
Canadians may be hit with a half point rate rise
Canada’s economy will lead G7 growth: IMF
New twist in competition watchdog’s battle with Realtors
In a heated market, some advise buyers to step back
Bank of Canada expects economic growth to slow
Possible rise in mortgage rates pitting couples against one another
Inflation rate falls to 1.4%
Prosperity comes to the Prairies

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Five cheap and easy earth friendly home improvements

You don’t have to be an environmental activist to understand that reducing your use of energy at home is good for the earth, and it’s good for the pocketbook. Even small changes can have a significant impact if everyone chips in.

Perhaps you’re already well on your way down this path, but if not, here are five cheap and easy steps that you can take at home to get you started in the right direction, courtesy of the Whole Home Quiz from National Geographic.

Caulking and Sealing

Air leaks in your home can increase heating and air conditioning costs by as much as ten percent. Caulking and sealing them is cheap and easy, and doing it can cut your carbon footprint by as much as 865 pounds per year.

Set your water heater to its optimal heating temperature

Lowering the temperature of your water heater prevents scalding and reduces carbon emissions by up to 480 pounds per year. Temperatures in the range of fifty degrees Celsius tend to be about the right number to maximize savings.

Check your furnace and air conditioner filters monthly

Checking air conditioner and furnace filters monthly to be sure they’re clean improves the efficiency of your systems and can save you anywhere from five to fifteen percent on utility bills.

Lower your home’s temperature by as little as one degree

You can shave more than five percent off of your energy bill for every degree that you lower your thermostat below twenty-one degrees in the winter and two percent for every degree above twenty-two in the summer. Make it automatic and easy by installing a programmable thermostat.

Install low-flow toilets

Flushing generally accounts for more than one third of home water use. New and improved high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush, approximately sixty percent less than older models.

Are you interested in more ways that you can contribute to a healthier environment? Check out National Geographic’s Green Guide for Everyday Living.

Have a happy Earth Day Saskatoon!

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