Saskatoon real estate week in review: August 24-30, 2015

Good day!  After a two week break from the normal routine I’m back in Saskatoon. For anyone that may have missed it, Becky (my lovely wife) and I have been away in Peru on a very special project. I’ll look forward to telling you more about that later this week.

While it doesn’t appear that the bottom has fallen out of the Saskatoon real estate market while we were away, a quick perusal of recent sales suggests some softness has returned following a fairly brisk July. As of today, there are 297 residential sales that have been reported for the month of August compared to 374 for all of August last year. We have one more day of sales to include before we close the books on this month, and Monday is often one of our strongest days but it seems doubtful that we could make up more that half of the gap. August will be down from last year, as has been the case each month except July.

This, however, is the “week in review” so let’s talk about the past week.

Saskatoon real estate agents reported 88 firm residential sales this past week, up from 83 the previous week to fall short of numbers realized over the same week in 2014 when 100 homes traded hands. That’s the fifth consecutive week that sales have been softer on a year-over-year basis. Again, we see some July weeks showing annual gains, but weaker sales compared to last year has been the case most of this year.

Meanwhile, the number of new listings added to the Saskatoon multiple listing service®  came on pretty strong at 212, the highest number we’ve seen for any week since late June. Cancellations were also quite high at 102 so I suspect the majority of the “new listings” were actually already active under another MLS® number. In any case, 212 is up from last week when 198 homes were added to the system and a huge jump from the same week last year when just 153 homes were listed for sale.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

The total number of Saskatoon homes that are showing an active status remained stubbornly high showing little change from last week. As of this morning there are 2059 properties for sale here, down just one from last week, and well above the 1583 homes that were actively being marketed on the MLS® a year ago. Today’s totals show 1210 single-family homes up from 1000 at the same time last year. Condo inventory sits at 688 for an annual increase of 240 units.

A lack of activity at the upper end of the market brought our median sale price lower by more than 15K when compared to the previous week. That number came in at $334,450. The lack of upper end sales (and a couple of really low end sales (22K and 56K) brought the average sale price of a Saskatoon home way down to $334,191 for its weakest performance in months. This was enough to usher the six-week average down almost five thousand dollars to $357,049 to reach its lowest point since May. It closes the week down about $1200 from where it was a year ago. Meanwhile, the four-week median price still managed to grow to $348,850 for a weekly increase of nearly nine thousand dollars and an annual gain of close to 17K.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

It’s somewhat surprising to see that overbid sales are continuing, even as summer approaches its close. This week, eight sellers wrapped up a deal for more than they were asking with an average overbid of $8,088. On the other hand, 79 deals closed for less than asking price with an average discount of $10,195. One more closed at full list price.

Other notable real estate activity this past week included 112 cancelled and withdrawn listings (102 and ten respectively), 34 expired listings and 101 price changes.

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 Vidorra

Saskatoon real estate week in review: August 16-22, 2015

I’m away on a bit of a break this weekend so we’re giving you the shortened, commentary free version of this week’s Saskatoon real estate activity. Thanks very much for reading.

solds

actives

prices

stats

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

Saskatoon real estate week in review: August 9-15, 2015

I’m away on a bit of a break this weekend so we’re giving you the shortened, commentary free version of this week’s Saskatoon real estate activity. Thanks very much for reading.

sales

actives

prices

stats

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

It's been a very tough year for Saskatchewan already

492px-80_-_Machu_Picchu_-_Juin_2009_-_edit.2 (1)

Photo Credit: Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0

The day has finally arrived! After more than a year of anticipation, Becky (love of my life) and I head off to Peru for an experience that is sure to change our lives. We’ll arrive in Cusco tomorrow morning, and once we’re there, a seven-day experience of a lifetime will begin. Together with a group of 60 friends, we’ll trek through the Andes to Machu Picchu, the 15th century “Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments, and panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery.”

As we make our way through the Andes, on foot, we will be living without the modern conveniences that we have come to expect, and in fact, take for granted. No beds, no bathrooms, no showers, no phones, no Netflix, no email, no facebook, email, etc. Just a group of friends, with a common mission, enjoying some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, in our own human stinkiness. Haha. Relax, we have a ton of baby wipes, and as an old friend used to say, there are very few personal hygiene problems that can’t be solved with baby wipes. I expect that’s a stretch but we’ll be okay.

It’s my hope, and the hope of those that we’ll travel with that this trip will be life changing, not only for us, but for others in our community. This is no ordinary trek. It’s a trek with a mission. Together, we are on a mission to raise much needed money for women’s shelters that operate across Canada. As of this morning, our efforts have raised over $450,000 for these shelters, surpassing our original goal but putting us within reach of the half million-dollar mark, which would be just an unimaginable achievement.

Perhaps you’d like to help? I’d appreciate just a few minutes of your time to tell you a bit more about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it.

I realize that you’re probably a person who is conscious of the great needs that exist in our communities, and I’m sure that you have your causes that you support. I respect you for that entirely, so let me say this; if you can’t join me in this fight with a financial contribution you can help make a difference in other ways. Read on, please. I can’t let this moment pass without sharing with you the grave importance of the mission that we are on, this fight that we are in.

You see, in spite of the fact that we like to see ourselves as living in a pretty civilized society, all of the hard evidence suggests (No, it actually proves) that we as a society continue to undervalue women. A recent story in the Huffington Post reveals, more or less what we all know. A woman in Canada can expect to be paid less than a man for the same work. Sadly, women are still well under-represented in positions of authority. Check out the 41st Parliament of Canada where you’ll see almost three men for every woman who holds a seat.

But, this mission isn’t about pay equity…or politics. It’s about something even more important than that. It’s about life, security, and safety.

This mission is about the fact that Canadian women are still being beaten and killed by their domestic partners at an alarming rate.

That’s a fact! In a typical year, more than 60 Canadian women will be killed by the person who they share a home with, the person who is supposed to care for them and love them.

This is a problem that is worse in Saskatchewan than it is in any Canadian province. This year is no exception. It’s already been a very tough year for Saskatchewan.

Consider for a moment, Latasha Gossling, the Tisdale woman who died in April, along with her three beautiful children, at the hands of a man who she had been in a relationship with for three years.

Then there was Celeste Yawney, a 33-year old Regina woman who had dedicated her life to the protection of women in her community, killed in May. An “ex-boyfriend” has been charged with her brutal murder.

Most recently, 47-year old Lisa Strang had her life taken in her McLean area home just weeks ago, her husband charged with her murder.

Most people, I believe, have no idea how terribly common this is. In a story published on Global News, Amy Stenrud of the Regina YWCA had this to say about domestic violence in Saskatchewan.

“You never expect it to happen to someone you care about, however the stats tell us something else. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of all the provinces, the only rate higher is in the territories, of intimate partner violence.”

It’s all too common. In fact, 67 percent of all Canadians personally know of a woman who has been either sexually or physically abused. Did you know that one in three young women report having experienced “dating violence”?

These women are our mothers! They are our sisters! They are our daughters, for crying out loud!

The very sad reality is that every single night in Canada more than 3,000 women and children seek help at a shelter when they finally gather the courage to say, “enough” and that’s not easy, because the perpetrators of this type of violence wear their victims down emotionally to the point where you’re actually scared to tell the people you love what’s going on.

The first line of defence in this important fight is to ensure that they have help when they finally reach the “enough” moment, but it’s not always easy. Last year, in Saskatoon, the YWCA Crisis Shelter provided help to 950 women in our community. According to their website, they “had to turn away more than they could serve.”

This is not right…not here…not in Canada.

These women are our mothers! They are our sisters! They are our daughters!

No woman should have to feel unsafe in her own home, and when she does, we need to support her, and that starts with providing a safe place where she can go for help.

So, I’m going to ask you to do three things, four if you’re a man.

  • If you can, go to TeamFisherTrekForShelter.ca and make a donation, please. Whatever you can afford will go to good use right here in Saskatoon at the YWCA Crisis Shelter and Saskatoon Interval House.
  • Keep your ears open for off hand jokes that involve violence against women and speak up when you hear them. There’s nothing funny about slapping a woman. Nothing!
  • Watch for signs of abuse in your own circles and encourage woman who are suffering to seek help at a shelter. Let them know that there is hope, that there are people who want to help.
  • If you’re a man, treat the women in your life with the respect that they deserve, every day. If you lose your cool and adopt a threatening tone in an attempt to scare, you’ve already gone too far. Stop it!

Until we reach a point where women are safe from violence in their own homes, we’ll have huge problems as a society. We have got to put and end to it. We can. We will.

Becky and I would like to express our thanks to the many people who have already chosen to support our fundraiser, financially or otherwise. For the record, each participant on this trek looked after his or her own travel expenses, so your contribution is not underwriting a vacation. In fact, every dollar you donate will make it to a local shelter where it will go to work helping abused women and their kids.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and learn about what we’re doing.

Let’s put an end to domestic violence and make home a safe place for everyone.

We’re off to catch a plane.

Norm Fisher

P.S. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is a registered charitable foundation. The administrative costs of the foundation are underwritten by Royal LePage so every dollar raised goes directly to helping the more than 30,000 women and children who are served each year by the shelters and the support programs we fund. Since its inception, the Shelter Foundation has raised more than $20 million and currently supports 200 local women’s shelters and national partners

CMHC announces new rules making it easier to purchase homes with secondary rental suites

Finally! A rule change by CMHC that actually puts less resistance on the borrower. Effective September 28, borrowers aiming to purchase properties with legal, secondary suites, will have a bit of a boost qualifying for their purchase.

A release from CMHC said, “Many municipalities across the country now formally recognize secondary rental suites as a source of affordable housing. Rents in secondary rental suites are often lower than those for apartments in purpose-built rental buildings.”

These changes will allow homeowners to count more of the income from a property’s secondary unit when qualifying for a loan. Previously, 50% of a secondary unit’s rental income would be eligible to use for qualification. Canada’s largest mortgage insurer has now indicated that they will consider up to 100 percent of the gross rental income from (the subject property of a loan application) two-unit, owner-occupied properties.

CMHC has suggested this would target two unit owner-occupied homes and would likely include basement rental units, in-law apartments and garden suites known as laneway homes. They generally classify secondary units as “self-contained with separate kitchen, sleeping and bathroom facilities.”

The legality of the secondary suite is a key component. CMHC only recognizes units that are legal or conform to local municipal standards. The Crown Corporation says that it’s up to lenders to exercise judgment, when it comes to borrowers proving the units are legal.

Homeowners with less than a 20 per cent down payment and borrowing from a regulated financial institution must get government backed mortgage default insurance. Even financial institutions not regulated by Ottawa, like credit unions, must abide by CMHC rules to be covered by the government backing.

Questions? Call me at 306-341-3539. I’ll be happy to help.

Tawny Bley
OneSt Mortgage (Assoc #316137)