The paradox of price

Saskatoon Real Estate Prices

The Paradox of Price: When the ‘price is right’ buyers get involved quickly and sellers gain a competitive advantage. Use the paradox of price to your benefit. If you have the will to set a compelling price, the reaction of the marketplace will benefit you.

These wise words come from Toronto’s Real Estate Intelligence in an excellent post titled, The Price is Righteous. Check it out here for some smart insight into pricing your home properly.

Even in a hot real estate market like Saskatoon is experiencing proper pricing is an important element to obtaining top-dollar offers early on in the listing period. Homes which remain on the market longer than the average selling time are viewed suspiciously by buyers and agents, who usually conclude that the property is overpriced, or has some other problem which is preventing it from selling. Of course, if prices are rising or falling at a rapid pace, price trends need to be given serious consideration as you review comparable sales and competitive listings.

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

Guess who’s runnin’ back to Saskatoon

Running Back to Saskatoon

I suspect by now you’ve heard that people are returning to Saskatchewan in a fairly big way. Stats Canada recently reported that some 3,700 families moved to Saskatchewan from Alberta between July and September of last year. The most recent labour figures tell a bigger story. There were 9,800 more people employed in the city of Saskatoon in November, 2006 as compared to the previous year.

While we’ve assisted families from pretty much every province with a move there’s no question that the majority of those who are returning to Saskatoon are coming from Alberta. Escalating housing costs, quality of life and increasing crime rates seem to be the primary motivators which are causing them to feel homesick.

Lori Coolican writes an interesting story in today’s Star Phoenix and speaks with a number of families who’ve decided to make Saskatoon their home base again.

Read Running Back to Saskatoon here

Expect to see continued pressure on housing inventory levels and prices in the Saskatoon real estate market.

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

A compelling case for more photos on your home listing

Saskatoon real estate agents have known for years that home buyers who are shopping for homes online are very interested in viewing photos. As far as they’re concerned, the more photos an online ad offers the better. Survey after survey places photos at the very top of the “what’s important to you” list. It makes sense. Life is busy for all of us and the more information we can receive in advance of making an inquiry, the greater our ability to qualify properties saving ourselves time in the process.

However, until now, most of the evidence has been purely anecdotal without any solid statistical support. I suppose that’s why I found a recent post titled, “The Most Important Number in Listing Marketing,” by Point2’s COO Brendan King so interesting. Point2 is the largest real estate network in the world hosting hundreds of thousands of property listings in their database which are displayed to millions of viewers at Point2Homes each month. They are in a position to deliver definitive answers on the viewing habits of home buyers and that’s exactly what they’ve done with this fascinating study.

Over a thirty day period, Point2 observed the viewing habits of people that visited their website and concluded that “views” of listings and “leads” generated by those listings increased significantly as the number of photos available on a listing increased. On the following graph, the vertical axis represents the number of photos on a listing and the bars represent the number of viewings on a listing, followed by the number of leads which were generated as a result of those views. Clearly, we see properties which feature just one photo generating approximately 5 views and 1.37 leads, while listings displaying 21 or more images received over 77 views and close to 11 leads.

Brendan King's Graph on Photos

One serious question remains unanswered in this study; in spite of overwhelming evidence that listing photos are a major benefit to both buyers and sellers, why do agents typically under deliver in this area? With today’s technology it costs nothing to capture more images. Granted, there is a time investment required in capturing, processing and posting the images but it seems marginal to me in light of the potential benefits for both the seller and the seller’s agent.

If you’re thinking of selling your Saskatoon home, why not make the number and the quality of photos part of your selection criteria when choosing an agent? It will pay dividends.

Related Posts: 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

Tips on hiring a contractor to renovate your home

Renovate your Saskatoon Home

I’m hearing that more people are considering renovating their Saskatoon homes as a result of the limited selection of properties available in our new and resale real estate market so this seemed like a timely post.

An interesting video clip appears on New York broker Barbara Corcoran’s blog. “Dump to Dream House” features Barbara on ABC’s Good Morning America and chronicles one home owner’s quest to turn their dump into a dream home and it provides some good tips on how to hire a contractor for home renovation projects.

Barbara had a new tip I hadn’t heard before which I thought was an excellent idea. She suggests that you walk the contactor back to his truck as he leaves your home and take note of its condition. “If it’s a mess, the job he’s going to run will be a total mess. You have to appreciate that the truck is that contractor’s office and how he manages his truck is exactly how he’s going to manage your job.” Good one Barbara!

Barbara also points to the importance of asking good questions. You might want to check out CMHC’s tips as well which provides a list of questions and other items you should be thinking about when you hire a contractor.

Check Barbara’s appearance on Good Morning America here. (no longer available)

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

Saskatoon home builders make case to city council for more lots

Alan Thomarat, Executive Director of the Saskatoon and Region Home Builders’ Association made an impassioned plea before city council on Monday for the availability of more serviced lots in 2007.

Before a full capacity council chamber, Thomarat argued that while Saskatoon has consistently ranked in the top three Canadian cities for economic growth in recent years, we are under performing miserably as far as new home starts are concerned, ranking last in the country behind Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

Thomarat, on behalf of his association and a chamber full of local builders donning white hard hats as a show of their support, made the following recommendations:

  • The city approves servicing plans for 2,000 units of single family and multi family serviced land for 2007.
  • Once approved, the city must act quickly to prepare and post appropriate tender calls.
  • That builders be offered the opportunity to develop theme oriented neighbourhoods in city owned subdivisions.
  • That the city considers releasing lots to builders prior to servicing if required so that they might be able to work with their customers.
  • That the city work with existing developers in Stonebridge, Rosewood and Blairmore to mitigate delays, expedite approvals at all levels and ensure that the private development community is not hindered in its effort to serve their builders and customers.
  • That the city assesses the retail value of long held inventory and discount these properties to levels that are market appropriate to satisfy the need for more affordable lots.
  • That the city work with the industry, community associations, the fire department among others, to develop an aggressive neighbourhood revitalization strategy that includes existing housing stock, enforcing safety requirements, conducting inspections on marginal rental properties, and working with industry stakeholders to develop meaningful infill, core area housing strategies.

Speaking in support of those recommendations, Harry Janzen, Executive Director of the Saskatoon Real Estate Board, provided a statistical overview of the resale real estate market presenting evidence that many consumers wishing to purchase Saskatoon homes are “settling” for homes in outlying communities as a result of low inventories within the city. He reinforced the general belief in the resale industry that many more families are interested in moving to Saskatoon, and many already have, using figures from Statistics Canada which indicate 3,700 families have moved to Saskatchewan since June of last year.

I also had an opportunity to speak in support of our home builders and I expressed the following points to council:

  • The current lack of resale listings is tied more to increased demand than it is to a low supply. Listings taken through 2006 by Saskatoon REALTORS®, though down slightly from 2005, were actually above the five year average.
  • That the five year average of unit sales in our “bedroom communities” was up 31% over the previous five year average indicating that more and more buyers are considering these areas because of low housing inventory in Saskatoon.
  • That many of these people will work and access services in Saskatoon, utilizing our infrastructure while paying property taxes in a different municipality.
  • That a lack of new housing inventory is putting pressure on the resale housing market spurring price increases which are far exceeding income growth in the province. The average price of a Saskatoon home increased over 50% in the last five years while income growth has likely been somewhere below 20%.
  • That Saskatoon is poised to see even larger increases in coming years if new housing opportunities are not fully explored and exploited.
  • That many prospective home buyers, particularly those at the entry level are displaced and forced into substandard housing if resale property values are permitted to “skyrocket.”
  • That the current challenges in meeting increased demand can only be met through the development of more land and the construction of new homes. Simple math would indicate that if more families wish to reside in Saskatoon, we’ll need more homes to accommodate them.

Finally, Pearl McNevin, an employee of North Ridge Development Corporation delivered an emotionally charged address on the impact that the current land use policies are having on employees of local builders and their families.

Political will to bring more lots to the market seems to exist. Mayor Don Atchison and a number of Councillors are clearly in favour of capitalizing on this opportunity to grow Saskatoon. Let’s hope that the Land Bank bureaucracy can rise to the challenge and deliver the goods.

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