Saskatoon real estate bidding wars: How much is too much?

Saskatoon Real Estate bidding wars

If you’ve been shopping in the Saskatoon real estate market for longer than a couple of months I don’t have to tell you that the rules have changed this year, and they’ve changed dramatically.


At the close of 2006, resale inventory had dropped to an all time low of around 250 active listings and while we’ve started to see more homes being listed for sale they are getting snapped at a pace which hasn’t allowed inventory levels to rebound at all. Today, the Saskatoon MLS® system shows 244 active house and condo listings across all price ranges and in all Saskatoon neighbourhoods. 60-70% of those properties probably have offers pending and the majority of what remains are the laggards which most prospective buyers have passed on for one reason or another.


New MLS® listings are attracting attention and viewings quite quickly and in many cases they’re generating multiple offers resulting in a bidding war. Last week, almost 25% of the homes which were reported sold on the Saskatoon MLS® showed sale prices which were above the asking price. The amount of overbids ranged from a low of $10 over list to a high of close to $30,000 above list price. The average overbid in most areas was less than $5,000.


Nobody wants to pay too much for a home. One might look to the aforementioned sale which went close to $30,000 above list and ask, “Are those buyers’ nuts?” I’m going to suggest that they just might be a little sharper than you think. See, these folks now own an interest in some Saskatoon real estate. While the other 37 buyers who viewed this home continue to struggle to find a place in the market, these buyers have locked in and any gains that the market experiences over the coming months will be theirs. If you believe that the market is going to continue to grow at its current pace, you might feel okay about paying a bit too much today in an effort to avoid paying much more tomorrow.


I’m not suggesting for a moment that a $30,000 overbid will be the prudent thing to do in most situations, but you will likely need to think beyond what the home is worth today if you truly want to be the successful buyer in a bidding war. Try to give some thought to where you think the market is going for homes in your price range. Will prices increase 10-20% over the next few months? How many opportunities will come up over the next few months? How might rising prices and limited inventory affect your ability to secure a suitable home at an affordable price if you miss out on this one? Is the property you’re considering under priced for today’s market (some are)? Ask your agent for his or her thoughts on what price the home will sell for when all of the offers are in.

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.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

What’s really happening in the Saskatoon real estate market?

If you’ve spoken to a Saskatoon real estate agent lately, you’ve undoubtedly been left with the impression that the market is hot, and it certainly is. It’s very easy to lose perspective though, because we most often hear the exceptional stories repeated.


You might have the impression that all homes listed are attracting offers in excess of the listed price and that’s simply not true. I thought I’d give you a bit of an overview of the sales activity from last week to give you a truer picture of what’s going on.


The following chart shows the total number of residential sales in each Saskatoon area (geographic definitions below) followed by the number of homes which sold below the asking price, at the asking price and above the asking price.


The next chart shows the average list price, average sale price, and the average overbid where homes sold above the asking price.


Recent Saskatoon real estate activity

Even I was surprised to find that over 50% of residential listings are still selling below the list price, though marginally. Fewer than 25% are actually selling above the list price. It’s very clear that on average seller’s are receiving offers which are very close to the asking price but you can’t assume that you’ll need to pay more than list for every Saskatoon real estate listing.


See a Google map displaying the boundaries of Saskatoon real estate “areas” here
Data collection and calculation for our statistical reports

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.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Pleasant Hill land deal nets Patrick Wolfe $1.4 million

Over the past 16 years, Patrick Wolfe quietly purchased a block of decrepit residential properties, one at a time, in the Pleasant Hill area of Saskatoon. A wiser investor may have wondered what the hell he was up to. Few would have ever thought that his investment would by a key component in renewing the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood but last night his plan became clear as Wolfe saw his land sale proposal to the City of Saskatoon move forward in a deal which netted the savvy investor $1.4 million dollars, and a $365,000 donation receipt to boot. City Council approved a deal to purchase 29 properties from Wolfe with the intent to clear the land for use in a Pleasant Hill renewal project which will ultimately include a new housing development, a much needed elementary school, some green space, and a possible community group space.


Earlier this month, Mayor Don Atchison, Premier Lorne Calvert, and National Revenue Minister Carol Skelton announced the details of a cooperative initiative between the city, the province and the federal government to begin some much needed redevelopment in the Pleasant Hill area.  The renewal project will be funded through the Urban Development Agreement with $1.71 million coming from the City of Saskatoon. The province and the federal Department of Western Economic Diversification will each pick up $789,471 of the cost.


Negotiating the purchase of the only three properties on the block which are not owned by Wolfe is underway. Once complete, the wrecking ball will start to swing and some new life will find its way into the Pleasant Hill area.


Let’s hope that this new development provides an opportunity to rejuvenate a community which could really use a boost.


Congratulations Pleasant Hill residents.


Congratulations Mr. Wolfe.


More about the Pleasant Hill renewal project here.

A closer look at the Saskatoon real estate statistics for January 2007

The first month of 2007 showed signs that the Saskatoon real estate market will likely continue to feel pressure resulting from unusually high demand and a sadly low supply of good homes for sale. 233 houses and condos changed hands, up from just 134 units in December. In spite of the hectic activity, the average selling price of a Saskatoon home (condos and single-family detached houses combined) actually declined slightly from $186,389 to $183,971.

Saskatoon house and condo sales for January, 2007

All of the decline in Saskatoon’s average selling price can be attributed to the category of single-family detached houses which dipped to $190,652 in January from their peak of $199,255 in December. The decline doesn’t realistically serve as an indicator that prices are going down, rather an absence of a few larger high end sales which were present in the December stats.


Saskatoon house sale statistics for January, 2007

Condos, on the other hand took a massive jump forward on the price scale leaping from an average of $144,363 in December to $161,279 in January. This particular market is showing some real strength. It seems that consumers are feeling strongly that prices will rise and they’re willing to pay a hefty price in the condo market for what still feels like an affordable home. These units also appear to be a target of out of province investors looking to place money in Saskatchewan.


Saskatoon condo sale statistics for January, 2007

See a Google map displaying the boundaries of Saskatoon real estate “areas” here
Data collection and calculation for our statistical reports

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.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

CMHC's 2007 Housing Market Outlook misses mark for Saskatchewan

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Canada’s national housing agency has just released its “First Quarter Housing Market Outlook” forecasting what will happen in real estate markets across the country through 2007.


In an article titled, “Soft Landing for Housing Starts in 2007 and 2008,” CMHC predicts that housing starts will moderate in 2007, dropping to 209,500 from 227,395 units in 2006.


I read almost every report that CMHC releases and I’m not sure why, but most of them make me nuts! Perhaps it’s because they’re always wrong! Alright, I’m being a bit of a jackass here. They’re not always wrong, but they often fail to recognize what’s really happening in a market area.


I know as well as anybody how hard it is to predict the future and I have to come clean and admit that I have fallen flat on my face, at least once. J At the close of 2005, I predicted the following year would see a marginal drop in resale units, and more moderate price increases, “likely in the range of 4-5%.” In fact, resale unit sales increased 7% and prices went up close to 11%. My bad. What I didn’t see coming was a significant improvement in net migration. So, with that out of the way, here’s what CMHC has to say about housing starts in Saskatchewan for 2007 and 2008.

“In Saskatchewan, the improving net migration as well as the strong job market and robust income growth bode well for housing demand. Total housing starts are forecast to decline slightly from 3,715 units in 2006 to 3,600 units in both 2007 and 2008.”

Huh? Anybody else confused?

I can only say that I hope CMHC has missed the mark this time. The City of Saskatoon recently announced that they will attempt to prepare 2,192 lots for construction in 2007. There are hundreds of lots ready for homes in Martensville, Warman, Clavet and other communities. I’m hoping we’ll see close to 2,300 to 2,500 starts within 50 kilometers of Saskatoon.

2007 has the potential to be a great year for Saskatchewan but we must have homes to put people in. Here’s a comment I received the other day on another post .

“Hi, I have been looking on MLS for a suitable property for myself and my family in the Saskatoon area, there is a definite shortage of property and almost none that would be large enough for us. We were hoping to move to Saskatoon from the United Kingdom in the summer of 2007, but because of the shortage of suitable property we may be forced to look at another province entirely. This is such a shame as I know that Saskatchewan is trying to encourage people in at the moment.”


You’re right Lynn; this is such a shame.


There are 237 active resale listings on the Saskatoon MLS® system today. Half of those likely have sales pending on them. You almost can’t buy a house in this city if you wanted to. If I were a home builder I’d have no problem building spec homes as fast as I could find the manpower and the money to put them up.


Housing starts are not going to decline in Saskatchewan in 2007. I’ll meet you back here in early January for a review.

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.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate