Saskatoon real estate week in review: April 25-29, 2011

House and condo sales accelerated again for the third consecutive week to usher in the highest volume sales week this year. Saskatoon real estate agents reported ninety-four firm sales to the MLS® system, up eleven from last week, and matching sales volume generated during the same week last year.

New listings also surged higher as one hundred and eighteen home sellers placed their property onto the multiple listing service®. That number is up twenty-four from last week but well short of the number of Saskatoon homes listed during the same period last year when one hundred and thirty-nine homes hit the market.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

After taking a bit of a break last week, active Saskatoon real estate listings edged higher. The total inventory of residential listings grew by just a dozen properties to 1,310 up from 1,225 at this same time in 2010 for an annual gain of just seven percent. Over the course of the week, the condo category grew by twenty units while the single-family home inventory actually declined by five. Today, there are 753 single-family homes and 489 condominiums for sale on the MLS® system. At this time last year, there were 722 houses and 444 condos for sale.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Cancelled and withdrawn listings were practically even with last week at just twenty-two. Seventeen of those made a same day return to the system flagged as a new listing, most bearing a new and lower price. An additional sixty-seven price adjustments were recorded through this week’s activity.

The median price for the week slipped slightly lower falling just over $10,000 to $307,500. At the same time, nine sales with prices above the $500,000 mark pushed the average selling price for the week higher as it gained nearly $16,000 from the week before to reach $330,740. The six-week average price followed suit and gained six thousand dollars to finish the week at $310,709 to show an annual gain of about $14,500. The four-week median held firm at $309,000 compared against last week but ended the week sharply higher than it did for the same week last year when it was just $285,000.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Just five sellers had the good fortune of finding a buyer who was willing to pay more than list but the average overbid was substantially higher than it is most weeks at $10,680. It was skewed higher by one property in Nutana that drew a $42,000 overbid. Another fifteen sellers managed to close a deal at the full asking price while seventy-four of ninety-four sellers sharpened their pencil to close the deal giving up an average of $8,807 or about 2.6% of the asking price.

Click the image for a larger version of the chart.

Highlights from the news this week

In conversation with Don Campbell: Industry Insight – PropertyWire
Safe as houses? That loud knocking is falling prices – Globe and Mail
Consumer confidence rests on housing market – Globe and Mail
Selling house not just about highest price – Financial Post
How to break a mortgage and not pay a penalty – thestar.com
Canadians feel better financially but reluctant to spend – Marketer News
House price gains continue to ease for eighth straight month – Financial Post

    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.

    Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS® listings from all real estate brands with the most detail and information available anywhere. Check it out 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

    Home Staging – How to Give a Five-Star Showing

    Please welcome guest contributor to TeamFisher.com, Rachel Vanderveen, a Calgary real estate blogger and home stager who is writing an eight-part series of home staging advice for our blog. This is the final post in that series. Rachel’s previous home staging posts can be found here.

    So the table is set, the carpet is vacuumed, and the house is sparkling and geared toward all of your newly installed focal points. Your listing contract is signed and your Saskatoon real estate agent has told you that you’re going live tonight and to be prepared for your first showings!

    How do we make your listing stand out? We’ve done all the groundwork, but now the curtain is going to be lifted and the audience will soon be in your home to view the stage you have set. So, much of giving a five-star showing is about creating a mood, and that’s what we’re going to talk about here today.

    Let’s start with lights. For every showing we have, I want every single thing in your house that makes light to be turned on, and I mean everything:  every lamp, pot light, puck light, art-feature light, even the work light on the hood fan. (No, not the interior oven light. I had someone ask me that once, so I figured I better clarify). I want those lights up and running, even if your showing is happening at 9 am. This means that if you’re going to be at work all day, you need to switch them all on before you leave. I know, I know, Al Gore would read this and cringe, but you’ll see the benefits of it in the purchase price of your home. Maybe you can use the surplus to buy some carbon credits.

    Why is light so important? Because people who are looking to buy Saskatoon real estate love natural light. Light is something that you can’t often change. A house is either well-lit, or it’s not, and if it’s not, it’s often difficult to renovate in. Having all of your home lights on—especially in the middle of the day—gives the impression that there is bountiful light in the home, and therefore adds perceived value.

    Next, music. I like to make sure that every time there is a showing happening you have music playing in the home. The best source is often using the music stations on your digital cable because you can choose by genre, it’s never-ending, and it’s often non-descript. You also don’t have announcers coming in and out. I don’t like local radio stations as they can be a little too in-your-face and a little too personal, when we are aiming for neutral. Buying a CD and playing it on repeat can often work. But music selection is paramount. I like instrumentals the best. Stay away from things with vocals. The type of music you choose really depends on what you’re trying to sell. If you’re selling a renovated townhouse in Saskatoon’s more trendy areas, go for some instrumental light jazz. If you’re selling a luxury home in an older more established area go for light classical. If you have a house that overlooks water, find one of those CDs that have flutes playing with ocean noises in the back. It’s all about creating the mood. The music should be loud enough so you can hear it, but not so loud that you couldn’t have a comfortable conversation if you were standing right near it.  You may want to consider playing music on every level, but try to play from the same source. If there are different songs playing everywhere you’re going to have the feeling of confusion in areas where you can hear it all playing.

    Finally, there is etiquette. You never want your Saskatoon real estate shopper to feel rushed. For that reason, if you get a call from your Realtor to book a showing from 3-4. You should be totally gone from the house from 2:45-4:15. This gives your buyers all the time they need to be able to show up and explore. No, you may not stay home for any showing. No, you may not wait in the garage, backyard, shed or whatever wild idea you come up with. You and your family must be totally gone from the property. Otherwise you have totally spoiled your scene.

    In addition, the only acceptable excuse for declining a showing that your Realtor requests is the following: you or an immediate family member is dead or dying. No other excuse is acceptable. If you want to sell your home, you’ve got to be serious about it. If you decline a showing, you’re giving the message that you don’t really care if you sell or not, and that does not inspire people to write offers. Additionally, nine times out of ten, if the buyer’s agent can’t book a showing on the first try, they won’t attempt to rebook, and you may have just lost an offer or a multiple offer.

    You’re at the end of the road here. Reaching this point in the process of selling your home means you’ve done most of your work already! Now all you have to do is maintain that sparkle in your home, and trust your Realtor to bring an offer. So kick up your feet and relax! You’ve staged your home to sell!

    Until Next Time…

    Blessings

    Rachel Vanderveen is a Calgary Christian Realtor specializing in Calgary condos for sale, South Calgary Real Estate, Calgary home staging , McKenzie Towne Real Estate, and Auburn Bay Real Estate.  But more importantly, she is a mother to four adorable children, a lover of Auburn Bay Realty, and an avid writer of Calgary Real Estate blogs. For more information on Calgary mls.ca, or searching mlslistings.ca, visit her website here.

     

    Saskatoon real estate week in review: April 18-22, 2011

    Sales of houses and condos saw a second consecutive weekly gain as Saskatoon real estate agents reported eighty-three firm sales to the local MLS®, up six from the previous week, and falling just a couple of units short of the high volume week for the year. Still, total sales came in below levels recorded during the same week of 2010 when eighty-eight Saskatoon homes changed hands.

    While sales levels rose on a weekly basis, new MLS® listings plummeted dropping thirty-six units compared to the previous week to just ninety-four, the smallest number of new listings for any week this year. The year-over-year decline was even sharper. One hundred and thirty-six new listings were added to the MLS® system during the same week last year.

    Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

    Stronger sales and weaker listing activity brought the first decline in active listing inventory that we’ve seen this year, however slight it was. The total number of residential properties that are currently available on the Saskatoon multiple listing service slipped by just one unit from last week to 1298. On a year-over-year basis, total active MLS® listings were up just 7.5 percent, continuing the trend that we’ve seen in recent weeks as annual gains have declined significantly. There are currently 758 single-family homes and 469 condominiums offered for sale on the Saskatoon multiple listing service®. At this time last year, these two housing categories stood at 717 and 436 respectively.

    Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

    Cancelled and withdrawn listings dropped to just nineteen this week with fourteen of those properties returning to the system the same day with a new MLS® number and in most cases, a lowered asking price. An additional thirty-nine listings had a price adjustment while eight others expired without a sale.

    Sales activity continued to favour the upper end of the market and the weekly median price took another increase to $318,000. The average sale price for the week also pushed higher gaining more than ten thousand dollars on the previous week to finish at $314,914. The six-week average sale price gained over five thousand dollars on the week to close at $304,885 to mark a year-over-year gain of nearly fourteen thousand dollars. The six-week median sale price was up sharply, also gaining fourteen thousand from last week to reach $309,000. Last year at this time the six-week median was just $279,900.

    Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

    Overbid activity tripled from the previous week as six lucky sellers found a buyer willing to pay more than list price by an average of $3,509. Another four received a full price offer. Seventy-three of eighty-three sales closed at a price that was below asking by an average of $8,569 or a percentage discount of roughly 2.7%.

    Click the image for a larger version of the chart.

    Highlights from the news this week

    How home prices have changed in the last year – Globe and Mail
    Why renting is beginning to look like a good deal – Globe and Mail
    Bank of Canada feels the heat as consumer prices spike – Globe and Mail
    How StatsCan determines shelter costs – Globe and Mail
    Investors drive up U.S. home sales – Globe and Mail
    U.S. housing starts jump 7.2% in March – Globe and Mail
    City built for growth – Star Phoenix

    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.

    Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS® listings from all real estate brands with the most detail and information available anywhere. Check it out 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

     

     

     

     

     

    Home Staging – Setting the Stage

    Please welcome guest contributor to TeamFisher.com, Rachel Vanderveen, a Calgary real estate blogger and home stager who is writing an eight-part series of home staging advice for our blog. This is part seven in that series. Rachel’s previous home staging posts can be found here.

    Now that we’re in the final steps of staging our home, we need to get to the heart of un-decorating. Why is it that all of us stagers seem to want to take your house apart and make it so plain? Well, the answer you’re looking for is right there in the name of the job we do: staging. We’re setting a stage for buyers. Think of what you see when you go to the theatre. It’s not often that you see ornate sets and backgrounds. Even shows like the Phantom of the Opera have fairly minimal backgrounds. There’s not a lot to look at. The background just sets the scene; it doesn’t tell the story. The actors tell the story. I happen to have seen Rent on stage a few times, and when I think about the actors in that show, they sparkled. At one point, Mimi—clad in bright blue sparkly tights—actually flips her hair and a poof of sparkles actually releases out into the air. You hardly notice the iron rails she is dancing on when she herself is taking up so much space.

    “Ok, Rachel, we get it; you’re a theatre geek, what does this have to do with selling a home in Saskatoon?”  The point is that the actors are the ones who have to fill the stage with whatever story they want to tell, and those who want to buy a home in Saskatoon, are the actors on the stage you’re setting. So what happens when you’ve left your story all over the stage? Well the result is confusion, and unsettledness. It would be like walking onto the set of The Lion King and trying to tell the story of Showboat. It doesn’t work. People need to be able to imagine their story unfolding on your stage, so our chief concern today will be making that stage interesting, inviting, and yet neutral and ready for any story that needs to be told. This is done mainly by de-personalizing. It’s hard to imagine raising your kids in a certain real estate listing, where you can see the photos of the children who live there, and the marks of the owners who are raising them. That’s not a blank stage. Saskatoon MLS shoppers will feel more like guests in someone else’s home, rather than being able to enter a residence and truly try it on for size.

    So what needs to stay, and what needs to go? Well let’s start with all of the personal photos. Everywhere. Wedding photos, graduation photos, the whole nine yards. Gone.  “But, Rachel, I had my wedding photos professionally shot by an up-and-coming avant garde photographer; they’re really more art than personal!” Nope, sorry, those are personal, and in some ways they may even be worse than wedding photos taken in a studio. The problem we have with personal photos—no matter how well they were photographed—is that now we have someone who is honestly looking to buy Saskatoon real estate in your home, and they’re not looking at your home; they’re looking at your wedding photos! They’re ooohing and they’re ahhhhing, and they’re pulling their husband significant other away from looking at the home, in order to look at your photos. Once you have that happening, in many cases, you’ve lost them. This isn’t a home for them anymore. This is your home, and they’re just visiting.  So junior’s baseball championship photos, all of his trophies and ribbons, everything needs to come down to make room for the new junior who happens to be into soccer and math.

    Most people who have made achievements in university or higher education like to post their certificates, degrees and diplomas in their study. This is a no-no. Not only is it pulling people out of the blank stage mentality, but it is also giving them cause to give you a stinky low-ball offer on your home. “Ohhhh, so this seller is a doctor? Reeeeaaaally? Well, then I guess he has gobs of money, and he doesn’t need to get his asking price on this property. They can afford to give me a few thousand dollars off.”

    Then there is art work that may not have personal photos in it, but it’s pretty loud all the same. Your artwork should not draw attention to itself. Your artwork is in place to compliment the space and to reinforce your focal points. I once staged a home where a bachelor homeowner had a medieval sword hung above his bed. Is the sword cool? Yes. Is it a totally different approach to decorating? Yes. Is a sword appropriate to hang over the master bed for the purposes of staging? NO. That gives the opposite message that we want to give off. The whole scene of a “come-hither” environment is spoiled by such a hard image which calls up thoughts that are the last thing we want Saskatoon homebuyers thinking about when stepping into your master bedroom.

    So what’s the main thrust here? You need to set a stage that looks like the “best life.” The kind of life we all hope to live, and isn’t really possible in reality….but darn it, we just keep trying!  Don’t know what that looks like? Pick up an issue of Canadian Home and Garden, that’ll start to give you a good idea! You don’t need to worry about spending the money on all of the expensive furniture and accessories, just take note in those pictures of what you don’t see, rather than what you do see: no mess. No personal photos. Blank stage.

    Good Luck! We’ll see you here next week for my final blog on how to give a five-star showing!

    Until Next Time…

    Blessings

    Rachel Vanderveen is a Calgary Christian Real Estate Agent specializing in Calgary condos, South Calgary Real Estate, Calgary home staging , McKenzie Towne MLS Listings, and Auburn Bay Real Estate.  But more importantly, she is a mother to four adorable children, a lover of Auburn Bay Realty, and an avid writer of Auburn Bay Community News blogs. For more information on Calgary mls.ca, or searching mlslistings.ca, visit her website here.

    Saskatoon real estate week in review: April 11-15, 2011

    Following two weeks of declining unit sales, Saskatoon real estate trades bounced back but remained lower than those recorded during the same week last year. Local agents reported seventy-six firm deals to the Saskatoon MLS® system, up fourteen from last week, but trailing last year’s number by nineteen.

    At the same time, new listings of single-family homes and condominiums slid lower with 130 properties being added to the multiple listings database, eighteen fewer than last week and significantly lower than the 168 that were listed during the same period a year ago.

    Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

    Total active MLS® listings continued on a seasonal upward trend as the number of Saskatoon residential listings grew by nearly forty units from last week, falling just short of breaking the 1300 mark at 1299. That number is up from 1180 at the same time last year, the smallest year-over-year gain that we’ve seen in months at just ten percent. Inventory levels were thirty percent above the previous year’s numbers as we entered 2011. The increase has been declining steadily since that time. Most of this week’s growth can be attributed to the single-family home category, which grew from 717 to 754 over a one-week period for annual growth of forty-nine homes. The current condo inventory sits at 475, up just six units from the close of the previous week for a year-over-year gain of almost sixty units.

    Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

    Cancelled and withdrawn spiked to forty-eight properties with thirty-nine of those immediately returning to the system with a new MLS® number. An additional fifty-eight homes recorded a price adjustment this week, almost all of them lowered.

    Fewer entry-level sales, and strong activity above the $400,000 mark pushed the weekly median sale price higher by more than forty thousand dollars to $314,950. The average price for this week’s house and condo sales followed suit, though not as sharply, gaining just under seven thousand dollars for the week. The six-week average sale price slipped just a few hundred dollars from last week, and settled at $299,555 for a year-over-year gain of just over nine thousand dollars. The four-week median price bounced higher by eight thousand dollars this week and finished at $295,000 for an annual gain of thirteen thousand dollars.

    Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

    Overbid activity remained low with just two sales reporting a final sale price that was greater than the list price, with an average overbid of $8,550. An additional five sellers found a buyer willing to pay the asking price. Sixty-nine of seventy-six deals closed with an average discount of $9,011.

    Click the image for a larger version of the chart.

    Highlights from the news this week

    Underwater mortgages: When is it okay to walk away – Financial Post
    Strong March sales despite 19 percent decline in listings – National Post
    New housing in Saskatoon goes extra mile – Star Phoenix
    IMF warns of Canada’s growing debt burden – Globe and Mail
    Signs point to severe housing correction in Canada – Globe and Mail
    IMF boosts Canada’s outlook – Financial Post
    Strong loonie casts shadow over recovery – Globe and Mail
    Home prices to ‘creep up’ this year – Globe and Mail
    No rate hike imminent (and don’t expect much of a raise) – Globe and Mail
    Parties silent on housing bubble – National Post
    Canadian lessons from Fannie and Freddie – National Post
    Parcel Y becomes temporary parking lot – Star Phoenix
    Pricey property surge drives average up – Financial Post
    Saskatchewan homes sales up slightly year-over-year – Star Phoenix
    Vancouver boom cited for home price surge – Globe and Mail
    Average house sale in Saskatchewan $251,997 – Star Phoenix

    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.

    Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS® listings from all real estate brands with the most detail and information available anywhere. Check it out 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