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

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

Saskatoon home prices see significant rise in January 2007

January is not normally one of the biggest months for real estate. We’ve just been through the holiday season, blown a wad of cash and on top of all that, it’s damned cold. Normally, only the most motivated buyers manage to get out and look at homes. This January, they were out and the numbers indicate that most of them were motivated!

Sales statistics just pulled from the Saskatoon Real Estate Board’s MLS® system show a 60% increase in dollar volume for resale homes traded in January, 2007 as compared to the same month last year. There were 219 homes which traded hands, up from 173 the year before. The average selling price of a Saskatoon home jumped 27% from $149,922 in January of 2006 to $190,037 this past month.

Total active residential listings stand at just 272 homes. That’s 46% fewer properties available now as compared to last year at this time. Look for more increases to come as buyers continue to fight for a place to live.

I’ll share a couple of real examples which I think give a pretty good indication of what occurred through the month of January.

Shorebird Watch is a condo complex which is being marketed in Lakeview. They offer 2 bedroom units of approximately 870 square feet. These units hot the market in May and were priced around $80,000 at that time. A series of small increase occurred through out the coming months and they reached $90,000 by the end of the year. January brought two $5,000 increases to boost asking prices for these homes to just over $100,000.

Consider next, Pine Creek, a Jastek project in the Lakewood area offering town homes of approximately 1,150 square feet. They’re very nice two-storey homes with open basements and the units which are selling today are scheduled to be completed in November. On January 13 these units were priced at $153,400 for a base model with no extras. On January 14 the prices rose to $158,400. Today, the same unit is selling for $169,400, an increase of over 10% during the month of January.

Of course, not all housing units will be affected to the same degree. Properties priced below the average selling price often go up quicker as entry level buyers scramble to try to firm up a deal before they get priced out of the market.

Make no mistake, it’s a hot market! My advice to buyers? Be prepared to pay a little too much today at the risk of paying far too much tomorrow. You must be prepared to write an attractive offer if you have much hope of seeing it fly.

My advice to sellers? Make darned sure that if you sign an MLS® listing that the home actually makes it to the MLS® system. Additional reading below.

Premium Saskatoon Houses Sell While Market is Still at Work

Deceptive Agent Practice Could Cost Sellers Money

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

City of Saskatoon slates 2,192 residential lots for development in 2007

The City of Saskatoon has approved plans to make 2,192 residential lots available to home builders and consumers who wish to build homes in 2007, provided that the manpower required to install water and sewer services can keep up with demand. The current plan has over 1,600 of those lots slated for single-family homes. In 2006 there were fewer than 900 single-family homes constructed within the Saskatoon city limits.

Council will vote Monday on a plan to allow the Builder’s Initiative Group, a coalition of some of Saskatoon’s largest builders to directly purchase 100 lots from the City. The remainder of them would be sold through a single-pick land draw process.

Alan Thomarat, executive director of the Saskatoon Region Home Builder’s Association has worked hard to lobby City Council and to gain support from other stakeholders in the Saskatoon real estate business, effectively arguing that the city can easily find willing buyers for 2,000 lots per year. No doubt, he’s pleased by this decision but he is cautious in his optimism noting that builders need some assurance that they can count on the city to move this policy forward in coming years. Contractors will need to feel confident that they’ll have work before making commitments to substantially build their labour force.

This is good news from my perspective. A quick check of the MLS® system today shows fewer than 250 active residential listings in Saskatoon across all neighbourhoods and price ranges. Last year at this time, there were more than twice as many homes on the market, and even then, selection seemed very limited for prospective buyers. Low inventory levels are putting heavy pressure on the price of Saskatoon homes. Hopefully, this new land development policy will be effective in restoring some needed balance to 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