River Landing penis no big deal

Saskatoon River Landing

Everyone’s talking about it, but apparently nobody is complaining about local artist Doug Taylor’s snow sculpture of a pair of magic mushrooms, one of which has a stem shaped like a penis.

Taylor’s sculpture is one of seven gracing the bank of the South Saskatchewan River at River Landing. They were carved last weekend from snow blocks weighing sixteen tonnes, and standing 2.5 metres tall.

I’m sorry to say that Star Phoenix reporter Darren Bernhardt has beat me to the best lines one could possibly come up with. Darren notes in his piece published Wednesday that the sculpture was, “erected over the weekend,” and that “It sticks out from the wholesome snow sculptures…like a…well, giant penis.”

Laura Hale, a Saskatoon artist who organized the display for the Meewasin Valley Authority told the Star Phoenix, “Some people around here have said ‘I don’t see it at all.’ I guess it’s how you look at it.”

Well Laura, those people either need an eye test or an anatomy lesson because this work of art clearly resembles a penis, though as my wife pointed out, “it’s hardly a giant one.”

River Landing is located in the Central Business District of Saskatoon.

Average selling price of a Canadian home up 264% over 25 years

Average selling price of a home in Canada up 264%

The average selling price of a Canadian home has appreciated 264 percent over the last 25 years, according to a new study.

That amounts to an annual increase of 5.3 percent, not bad given the fact that a home is an “investment” which brings the added benefit of shelter to owners. Of course, value gains on principle residences in Canada are tax exempt making a home that much more attractive as an investment.

The study, just released by Remax Real Estate examined increases in the average selling price of a home in 17 housing markets across Canada, including Saskatoon.

Lately it seems that everyone is talking about the heat of the Saskatoon real estate market so you may be surprised to see that Saskatoon showed the second smallest increase (148%) of all of the markets surveyed. This doesn’t strike me as a huge surprise. Over the long-term, Saskatoon has pretty much always shown slower growth than most other Canadian markets. Typically, we’re accustomed to gains in the range of 3 to 4 percent but that trend has started to change in recent years. In 2005, prices increased 9 percent. In 2006, the average price of a Saskatoon home rose 11%. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our current levels of low inventory and high demand could, and probably will bring increases which exceed those in 2007.

So what’s changing in this area? First of all, our whole provincial economy looks entirely different than it did 10 years ago when Saskatchewan was largely dependent on agriculture.

Today, we are quickly becoming a leader in natural resources with heavier production in oil and uranium. Some believe that diamonds will be the next big thing for Saskatchewan if Shore Gold continues to pull stones like they have been lately. Science has also played a pretty significant role in the Saskatchewan economy over the past five years. 15 years ago, our children had to leave Saskatchewan to find work. Today, a multitude of jobs and affordable housing is luring them back home.

My money says that we’ll see Saskatoon playing catch up with the rest of the country over the next few years.

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

Little white marketing lies?

Little White Real Estate Marketing Lies

Sharon, a real estate investor from Calgary, Alberta occasionally visits my blog. If I recall correctly, she contacted me after she read one of my little rants about poor quality images in real estate listings. From time to time, she forwards copies of listed properties which strike her as ridiculous in some way. She has no shortage of material to chose from so she uses her discretion in sending me those which are most fun.

Her latest email was this listing (no longer available), marketed by a Calgary agent who indicates on the listing that it is a “No Animal Home.” This image of the kitchen appears to show two food dishes on the floor in front of the kitchen cabinets. I’m thinking that these people either have a pet, or some pretty nasty eating habits.

Sharon asks, “What are they thinking!?”

Sharon, I think it’s safe to say that someone is not thinking very much. 🙂

International housing affordability survey says Saskatoon homes still among the world's most affordable

In spite of the fact that the average selling price of a Saskatoon home has risen over 50 percent in the past five years, Saskatoon remains one of the most affordable housing markets in the world, according to a recent study conducted by Pavletich Properties Ltd. and published in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey for 2007.

The survey measures median incomes for each market and compares them against housing prices to arrive at “median multiple.” The survey considers a home “affordable” if it costs less than three times a household’s gross income.

Saskatoon tied for 15th place with six American markets including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Syracuse, New York.

Topping the list of the “world’s most affordable” was Regina, our neighbour to the south which was tied for first place with Fort Wayne, Indiana. Quebec City and Winnipeg were the only other Canadian cities which were marginally more affordable than Saskatoon. Ottawa, Oshua and London also made the list of “affordable” places to buy a home, but just barely. Houses in Ottawa are 2.9 times the median income for the area while Oshua and London command prices which are 3 times the median income.

Houses in Montreal, St. Catherines, Edmonton and Halifax make the “moderately unaffordable” list.

Toronto and Calgary were classified as “seriously unaffordable.”

Vancouver and Victoria were rated as “severely unaffordable.” Vancouver came in as 13th in the world for “most unaffordable.” Expect to pay 7.7 times the median income in the area for a typical house.

According to the survey, Los Angeles-Orange County, California is the world’s most expensive markets. Typical houses cost 11.1 times the median income for the area.

Read the whole survey here.

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 @norm_fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Only $33,750,000 down and $587,250 per month

Hala Ranch, Aspen Colorado

I was checking out the Forbes list of the most expensive residential real estate in the U.S. this morning. I’m not really shopping for a new home but it’s sometimes fun just to see how the other .00001% of the population lives.

Currently, the most expensive home in the United States (listed since the Forbes list was released) is available for a whopping $135,000,000. My mortgage calculator doesn’t accept prices over $100,000,000 so I had to figure this one by hand, so please, don’t quote me on this. The last thing I need is to be chipping in for the monthly payments on your new estate. With only $33,750,000 down and monthly payments of $587,250 per month (not including taxes) this one could be yours.

Hala Ranch is a 95 acre estate tucked in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado. Owned by Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., it boasts a 56,000 square foot mansion with 15 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms. It’s listed with Joshua Saslove at Joshua & Co.

Just a touch out of your price range? Hey, I understand. Perhaps this property (no longer available) located in Palm Beach Florida and owned by Donald Trump fits the budget a little better. This lovely home offers a ballroom, conservatory, a 100-foot swimming pool and 475 of Florida ocean front. It’s a steal at only $125,000,000. The property is listed with Dolly Lenz and Geoff Thomas at Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Dolly Lenz is reportedly the number 1 REALTOR® in North America. Her dollar volume of listed properties far exceeds what I’ll sell in a lifetime, perhaps two lifetimes. I’m sure she doesn’t need any advice from me. I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about the value of decent photographs both in quantity and quality so I couldn’t help but notice what a poor presentation the Trump property gets online. I mean, two photos and practically no information whatsoever.

If I were “the Donald,” I think I’d be saying, “you’re fired!”

Read also: A Compelling Case for More Photos on Your Home Listing and If A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, What Are the Photos of Your Home Saying to Prospective Buyers.

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