Saskatoon real estate week in review: March 25-31, 2012

Saskatoon home sales spiked higher this week making a rare appearance above the 100-unit mark for the first time since early September of last year. Local agents reported a whopping 113 single-family home and condominium sales to the Saskatoon multiple listing service® for a weekly gain of 48 homes, well up from the 71 properties that traded during the same week last spring.

Meanwhile, new listing numbers slipped by 15 when compared against the previous week to 115 homes, down about 20 from the numbers registered during the same period a year ago.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

The total inventory of residential properties that are currently offered for sale on Saskatoon’s multiple listing service® took an unusual turn for the season we’re in and slipped by 38 units compared against the close of the previous week to finish at just 1031, about 185 units lower than levels seen a year ago, even breaking below 2009’s weaker levels for the first time. Today, we see just 609 single-family homes and 336 condominiums showing the active status. Looking back a year ago, those numbers stood at 693 and 446, respectively. Single-family home inventory is down 12 percent on a year-over-year basis while condo inventory has slipped lower by 25 percent.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Weekly price measures can be misleading, when examined by themselves. A large number of sales at either the upper end, or the lower end of the market can skew them severely. That certainly happened this week as the average sale price of a Saskatoon home reached the highest level that I can ever recall seeing at $364,183. Higher end buyers were on the move as the weekly median grew by more than $60,000 from the previous week to $332,500. There were 14 sales above the $500,000 mark this week and a pretty good handful that broke $400K. The six-week average price moved higher by thirteen thousand dollars on a weekly basis reaching $331,206 for an annual gain of more than thirty thousand dollars. The four-week median price pushed higher by twelve thousand dollars to $312K to finish ahead of last year’s number by twenty thousand dollars.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

For the most part, buyers found a seller willing to negotiate, at least a bit, as 91 of 113-recorded sales closed at a price that was below the asking price. The average discount registered at $9,624. Five lucky sellers got a bit more than they had asked for finishing their deal up by $4,730. An additional 17 Saskatoon home buyers stepped up and delivered a full price offer on the home that they ended up purchasing.

Other notable Saskatoon real estate activity this week included 39 cancelled or withdrawn listings, just 16 expired listings, and 41 price adjustments.

Click the image for a larger version of the chart.

Highlights from the news this past week

Some positives in budget for housing market – Star Phoenix
Canada’s economic growth slows – Star Phoenix
City moves Kensington plan forward – Star Phoenix
Rates are rising! Oh wait, scratch that – Globe and Mail
Banks can absorb a hit to the housing market – Financial Post
Maybe we aren’t too indebted – Financial Post
Ottawa to tighten CMHC oversight – Financial Post
More Canadians chipping away at their debt – Star Phoenix
Home affordability uncertain for many with small rate hike – Globe and Mail
Saskatoon’s economy ‘red hot’ – Star Phoenix
Home prices keep climbing, though gains are slowing – Financial Post
Saskatoon’s growth to lead nation: Conference Board – Star Phoenix
Mortgage rates in Canada have nowhere to go but up – Financial Post
Regina led nation with 6.1% GDP growth in 2011 – Leader Post
Extra costs of buying a house can surprise first-timers – Star Phoenix
Province poised for growth – Star Phoenix
Moody’s puts odds on soft landing for Canadian housing – Financial Post
Echoes of the boom: European immigration is back – Star Phoenix
Supportive factors in place for Canadian housing in 2012: TD Economics

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.

Get the most current market intelligence with our FREE Market Snapshot including prices of homes recently sold in your area. Get it here, now.

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

Lots in Kensington, Saskatoon’s newest residential neighbourhood available this fall

As lot sales in Saskatoon’s Hampton Village wrap up, the city of Saskatoon is pushing forward plans to get its newest neighbourhood, Kensington, underway ahead of schedule. We’re told that we can expect to see an initial residential lot draw in the fall, with construction beginning soon after.

Bounded by Highway 14 on the south, to the west of Confederation Park and Pacific Heights the Kensington area concept plan calls for a 473-acre neighbourhood with a central village style layout, similar to Willowgrove and Hampton Village with two schools and a commercial area that should be easily accessed by pedestrian traffic. The city’s plan envisions 1600 single-family homes, 689 townhomes and 821 apartment units to house approximately 8300 residents by the time that development in the area winds down. Just under thirty-acres of public park space is provided for in the plan.

Read more: City moves Kensington plan forward – Star Phoenix

Read more: Kensington Neighbourhood Concept Plan – Municipal Matters

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.

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

Canadians can expect greater oversight of CMHC in the future

We were warned earlier in the year that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) would be backing fewer Canadian home loans moving forward, but little seems to have changed on the ground.

Now, the new federal budget is planning for greater oversight of the federal crown corporation, which was founded to provide insurance on Canadian mortgages where buyers are unable to produce a down payment of 20 percent or more.

“The government will propose legislative amendments to strengthen oversight of CMHC and to ensure its commercial activities are managed in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system,” the budget said.

Banks are required to insure mortgages that don’t meet the minimum 20-percent down payment threshold. Apparently, in recent years, banks have been insuring mortgages that are eligible to be processed without the insurance. Given that purchasers bear the burden of the insurance cost, it’s no wonder that this approach seems attractive to lenders. No additional cost to them – substantial decrease in potential risk of loss.

Three years ago, CMHC reached the ceiling for mortgages that it was allowed to insure, by law, at $450 billion. That number was adjusted to $600 billion at that time. By the end of 2011, CMHC was insuring $541-billion in Canadian mortgage loans.

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.

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: March 18-24, 2012

Like Saskatoon real estate prices lately, home sale numbers are showing some pretty strong ups and downs over the past several weeks. This week was a down. The number of houses and condos reported as sold to the MLS® system slipped 17 units compared against the previous week to just 65 homes and fell short of the number of sales reported during the same week a year ago by 19 properties. Still, a strong start to the year and a few very robust sales weeks put total units sold so far this year ahead of last year by a little more than eight percent.

Meanwhile, new listings are showing an increase of just two percent compared to last year having grown to 1440 from 1408. This week, Saskatoon real estate agents brought 130 houses and condominiums to the multiple listing service®, up two from the previous week and ahead of the same week in 2011 by 19 homes.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

The total number of residential properties offered for sale on the Saskatoon multiple listing service® continued to make some gains, but at a slower pace than might be considered typical for this time of year. On a weekly basis, the numbers rose by just 17 to close the week at 1069, down more than 100 units from levels seen at the same time last year when 1173 properties were for sale. At present, there are 636 single-family homes and 349 condominiums showing an active status on the system. Last year at this time, those categories stood at 669 and 435 respectively.

In theory, stronger demand and softer supply is shifting the market to favour sellers. That’s bringing about a bit of hype and excitement amongst real estate agents and prospective buyers and sellers, but at this point, it seems to be more hype than substance. That said, there’s no denying that conditions have gotten tighter for buyers. Multiple offer scenarios are becoming a bit more commonplace. Agents scheduling showings are often finding many of the homes that they’d like to show are already under contract. Prices are clearly higher than they were a year ago, but not much higher than they were through the back half of last year. There isn’t a lot of over the top bidding wars like some markets have been reporting, but if you’re shopping for a home in the $250,000 – $350,000 range there’s a good chance that you’re running up against other buyers that might take a crack at it as well. Still, the largest majority of Saskatoon homes sold are still trading at, or below the asking price. It will be interesting to see what happens in the weeks ahead of us.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

A strong showing of entry level buyers pushed the average sale price of a Saskatoon home sharply lower this week to make a somewhat rare appearance below the $300K mark, at $288,165. That’s the lowest weekly average price that we’ve seen since the first week of April, last year. The weekly median price followed along and slipped to $271,000. The six-week average price held its ground losing just five hundred dollars on a weekly basis to finish the week at $318,077 for an annual gain of about twenty-two thousand dollars. The four-week median slid lower by sixteen thousand from last week to close the week at an even $300K for year-over-year growth of roughly $15,000.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

As I mentioned earlier, overbid activity wasn’t exceptionally strong, even though changing conditions in the market seem to favour sellers. Lately, we’ve been counting some overbids as “at list” sales, when it’s clear that something different has occurred with the listing (a new home that has been on the market 80 days sells for $40,000 over list because the final contract included basement development, which had never been factored into the list price). Taking those types of situations into account, just two Saskatoon home sellers closed a deal for more than their asking price with an average overbid of $12,200. Another 13 buyers stepped up to write a full list price offer while 50 of this week’s 65 sellers settled for a firm contract that was below their asking price by an average of $8,400.

Other notable Saskatoon MLS® real estate activity this week included 27 cancelled or withdrawn listings, just 12 expired listings, and 41 price adjustments.

Click the image for a larger version of the chart.

Highlights from the news this past week

Housing to stay moderately overvalued – Globe and Mail
Is turning a profit as a landlord realistic? – Star Phoenix
Home buyers: Beware market sucker punch – Globe and Mail
Low mortgage rates skew sense of affordability – Financial Post
Skyrocketing house prices bound to come down: BMO head says – Globe and Mail
Are Canadian house prices dangerously overvalued – Globe and Mail
Tax break for rental construction unveiled – CTV News
New take on household debt: Families have large cushion – Globe and Mail
Budget 2012: Business gives enthusiastic reception to apartment plan – Leader Post
Canadian housing market still hot – Financial Post
Flaherty wraps banks on lending stance – CBC News
Remax expects heated sales this spring – CTV News
Government in no rush to tighten mortgage rules – Canadian Real Estate Magazine
Canada’s mortgage body moves to slow booming housing market – Globe and Mail
Banks tighten condo lending amid bubble fears – Financial Post
Home price growth slows in Canada – Globe and Mail
Household debt fears grow as rates appear set to rise – Financial Post
Home prices rise in February but pace slows – Globe and Mail

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.

Get the most current market intelligence with our FREE Market Snapshot including prices of homes recently sold in your area. Get it here, now.

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

Saskatchewan government delivers on affordable housing in 2012-13 budget

The government’s plan to reduce corporate income tax on profits generated through the development of new rental properties are being met with praise from the real estate industry. The 2012-13 provincial budget will provide a ten percent tax break to builders who construct multi-family projects of eight or more units over the next ten years.

From yesterday’s Regina Leader Post:

“We think the government is ‘bang on’ here,” said Alan Thomarat, CEO of the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. “Any of the money that they’ll have forsaken with respect to revenue collection from taxation, they’re going to get back at least threefold as far as we’re concerned — in job creation, in the consumption taxes and the project development and in our ability to continue to make sure that there’s housing for the growing labour force we need here.”

“Rental housing now starts to make sense — where it hasn’t in the past,” said Al Didur, chair of the government affairs committee of the Association of Saskatchewan Realtors, who called the program “exciting” and said developers can “stack” it onto other incentive plans.

The budget makes additional allowances for affordable housing including;

• a $2 million funding increase for the Rental Construction Incentive and Affordable Home Ownership program;

• $10.2 million in new expenditures by Saskatchewan Housing Corp., including $1 million for Habitat for Humanity build homes for 20 low-income families;

• $9.2 million for the Rental Development Program to develop an additional 200 rental units in communities with long-term housing needs;

• the previously announced Saskatchewan First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit, which provides a tax credit of $1,100 for an eligible home purchase.

Read: Government expands plan for affordable housing – Government of Saskatchewan
Read: Tax break for rental housing construction unveiled – CTV
Read: Budget 2012: Business gives enthusiastic reception to Sask. apartment plan
Read: Apartment plan ‘bang on’ – Leader Post

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.

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