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

Forbes list of Canada’s most expensive homes

Forbe's List of Canada's Most Expensive Homes

Forbes recently released their list of Canada’s Most Expensive Homes. As far as I know, this is the first time that Forbes has compiled a list of prestigious Canadian homes, so we’ll take it as a positive sign for real estate in the Great White North.

The list consists of 10 properties, currently offered for sale which range from a low of $10.9 million to a high of $38.3 million US. Seven of the homes are located in British Columbia and three are in Ontario. That’s right, not a single Saskatchewan home made the grade. L It must be the weather.

You might look at this list and think, “wow, I can’t believe people actually spend this much money on a home” but I was impressed by how affordable a high end Canadian home really is (not for me of courseJ). I recently wrote a post on the most expensive homes in the US.

Number one came in at $135,000,000. In reviewing the Canadian list, I found that you could actually purchase 9 of the 10 most expensive homes in Canada for less money than the home which tops the list in the US. Cheap!!

Read the Forbes story here

Surprise! It’s a baby! Saskatoon couple finds newborn on doorstep

Surprise! It’s a Baby!  Saskatoon Couple Finds Newborn on Doorstep A Saskatoon couple got a huge surprise when they opened the back door of their Lawson Heights home on Saturday. Apparently, the family dog was barking continuously so Ed Anderson went to investigate and found a newborn baby girl wrapped in towels and a sleeping bag on the doorstep.

Born just minutes before she was discovered and still sporting an umbilical cord, the girl was “red and wrinkled” and “her little hands were like ice,” said Lee Anderson who happens to be a registered nurse. The temperature was close to -30C (-22F) on Saturday morning.

According to the Globe and Mail, the couple called 911. Mr. Anderson explains, “After I said that we had a crying baby at our house, the operator said, ‘So what’s the problem with that,’ well, it’s not mine. I found it abandoned by my back door.”

An ambulance arrived at the scene within minutes. The baby is in fine condition and in the custody of the Department of Community Resources.

Saskatoon Police used dogs to try to track the person who dropped the child off but had no luck. They spent the balance of the day canvassing the area looking for clues as to how the child ended up at the Anderson’s home.

Police remain concerned about the child’s mother and they are encouraging her, and anyone else who may know what happened to come forward.

The Globe reports that the Anderson’s had planned to shop for a new car on Saturday, which just goes to show you that you never really know what the day is going to bring.

Read the story here

Early bird tickets for 2007 Juno Awards in Saskatoon go on sale

Saskatoon Juno Awards

Early bird tickets for the 2007 Juno Awards, which will be hosted in Saskatoon on Sunday, April 1st, go on sale this morning at 10:00 am. Anticipating a quick sellout of only 500 packages being made available, orders will be taken by phone (938-7800 or 1-800-970-7328) or they can be ordered online through Ticketmaster at The packages will sell for $197.25 with a limit of four per person. Each package includes entry to three events; the awards show (standing room), the JunoFest band showcase which will be presented on March 30 and 31 at various Saskatoon nightclubs and the Songwriter’s Circle happening April 1.

Individual tickets for the awards show go on sale February 10 at 10:00am through Ticketmaster and will range in price from $80 to $150, with a limit of four being made available to each person.

This year’s Juno Awards is hosted by Nelly Furtado. Confirmed performers include rockers Billy Talent and Three Days Grace.

Pleasant Hill area of Saskatoon scores funding for area renewal

Saint Mary Community School in Pleasant Hill, Saskatoon

Until now, it has been just rumour and speculation that something fairly big was about to happen for the Pleasant Hill area of Saskatoon. Now, it’s official.

Mayor Don Atchison, Premier Lorne Calvert , and National Revenue Minister Carol Skelton have finally 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.

The plan involves leveling 29 properties, including commercial buildings on 20th Street between Avenue O and Avenue N, and the homes located on the 300 and 400 blocks of both of these avenues. Some cash will be invested in improving the infrastructure through out the entire neighbourhood to bring it up to today’s standards for commercial and residential development.

Once the land has been cleared it will be sold to Saskatchewan Housing for $1 so that it can be developed for affordable housing. Mayor Atchison estimates that new development could pump $20 to $30 million into the Saskatoon economy.

There was no further word on much needed improvements to St. Mary Community School, the venue for this special announcement; however Premier Calvert did bring hope that a result may not be far off. “I know full well that there are plans in the works for replacement of the school.” The land which is being redeveloped surrounds the school and community leaders are hopeful that a “community centre” can find a place in the plan.

This is the second major initiative undertaken in the Pleasant Hill area by the three levels of government. Last year, they funded demolition of an old strip mall and a warehouse. The three parcels of land which were liberated through the project will eventually become home to Station 20 West , a multi-purpose development which is expected to be home to a public library, a grocery store and various other area amenities.

Both of these initiatives will be great for Pleasant Hill home owners who haven’t seen nearly as much growth in property values as most other areas in Saskatoon over the last decade. In 2006, the average selling price of a home in the area was under $70,000, while the average for Saskatoon topped $170,000.