Residential sales activity improved slightly on a weekly basis and fell modestly when compared to the same week a year ago as Saskatoon real estate agents reported 65 firm deals to the MLS®. That’s up four from last week and down three from the same period last year.
New listing activity fell significantly this week with just 142 Saskatoon homes being added to the multiple listing service®, putting the week among the softest listings weeks for the calendar year. That number marks a weekly decline of 78 and an annual drop of 35.
The inventory of MLS® listings available to Saskatoon home buyers moved lower for the third consecutive week to settle at 2037 by this morning for a weekly decline of 30 homes. Inventory remains up on a year-over-year basis showing gains of 134 from a year ago. Active listings levels are moderating at about the pact they did last year, but more quickly than they did in 2015. If the current trend continues for a couple of more weeks we’ll be out of that “highest inventory ever for this particular week” thing soon. Today’s totals show 1191 single-family homes for sale, down from 1220 last week and up from 1040 a year ago. There are currently 733 condominiums showing an active status on the MLS®, down just two from a week earlier and up from 690 at this time last year.
A good showing of home buyers purchasing above the $400,000 market drove the weekly median and the average sale price of a Saskatoon home higher this week. This weekly measures came in a $350,000 and $340,312 respectively. After falling thirteen thousand dollars over the previous two weeks the six-week average price turned upwards. It finished the week at $340,446 for a weekly increase of roughly 2K but it remains lower than it was a year ago by fifteen thousand dollars. The four-week median price took its fifth consecutive drop and fell to $305,900. I had to go way, way back to April of 2012 to find a week where it came in lower. It seems to me, that more than anything this sudden and sharp drop is attributable to a big decline in upper-end sales. In the past four weeks only 16 residential sales in Saskatoon have topped the $500,000 mark. These buyers are clearly standoffish.
For the second week in a row, not a single buyer offered to pay more than the seller’s asking price. On the other hand, 62 of 65 sales reported this week show a price below the listed price with an average discount of just $11,446.
We are clearly operating in a market where buyers have considerable advantages at the negotiating table. This does seem to be pushing prices lower, but by how much is a big question. The recent Royal LePage House Survey release shows declines of a few percentage points over the past year (in two very popular housing types), while the MLS® Home Price Index shows gains, a claim which seems remarkably unbelievable given the disparity between supply and demand. In any case, it’s interesting to note that regardless of the market, there rarely seems to be a big spread between asking prices and selling prices. You may have noticed that average discounts don’t change a whole lot from one week to the next. When prices do move lower, it almost always starts with the listing price. Buyers tend to respond with reasonable offers on the homes that they perceive to be priced for the market. Of course, there is the odd exception to that rule, but for the most part, we see this at play in both buyer’s markets and seller’s markets. I thought you might find it interesting to see an actual comparison of list prices from the past week and the sale prices that those same homes achieved. Here is this week’s list.
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