School’s out for Saskatoon Briarwood residents

They expected schools and playgrounds would eventually occupy the vacant space that sits at the center of Saskatoon’s Briarwood neighbourhood and some paid a premium for the opportunity to be close. Now that those plans have been scrapped by both school boards there are some lingering questions about what will become of this land.

North Ridge Development Corporation and Boychuk Construction Corporation are both proposing a rezoning of that land to accommodate residential development. North Ridge would like to develop 17 lots in the northeast corner of Briarwood Park and Boychuk has their eye on a parcel across the park for 27 new homes.

Residents seem most concerned that the city takes some measures to soften the blow of the lost schools by insisting that the development takes into account the fact that many of these homes were constructed to enjoy a park view, and not the backyards of neighbouring homes.

They’d like to see some green space to provide a bit of a buffer between the new and existing homes. The Municipal Planning Commission seems to be somewhat onside and has sent a memo to city administrators saying they won’t support the plan without changes which include adjusting North Ridge’s proposed orientation of the new homes and incorporation of linear or pocket parks.

Proverbial poo hits the fan in Nutana, Saskatoon

New Sewage Lift Station Proposed for Nutana Saskatonn

You might say that residents of Saskatoon’s Nutana area have their “shit in a knot” over proposed plans to build a new sewer lift station in Rotary Park and who could blame them. The idea of dealing with raw sewage in your back yard isn’t exactly appealing to anyone. City administrators are recommending council approve plans for construction of the new lift station near the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge in Rotary Park.

It seems that there are concerns about the ongoing viability of the existing lift station located across the river in Victoria Park. It’s been in operation for close to a century and the underwater pipe which transports sewage across the river hasn’t been inspected since 1911. City administrators favour the new location because the estimated cost comes in about $600,000 lower on that side off the river. The annual cost of operation will also be lower by approximately $15,000.

The new lift station would include public restrooms and the city plans to landscape to prevent the station from becoming an eye sore. Odour control equipment would be installed in an effort to minimize foul smells but it’s doubtful that it could be eliminated totally.

Councillor Charlie Clark who represents the area on City Council says he will not support the move.

Councillor Pat Lorje who represents Riversdale where the current lift station operates is fully behind the change. “Words fail me,” she said. “I understand the ‘not in my back yard’ syndrome….when you have professional engineers recommending a specific location, they’re not doing it for frivolous reasons…I don’t think it will have that large of an impact on the neighbourhood.”

I could go either way on this, as long as they keep it operating in a public park. 🙂 Sheesh!

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