One third of homes for sale in Saskatoon are vacant, fewer than half owner occupied

Earlier today, I was speaking with one of my colleagues, Bruce Claggett, who raised the question, “I wonder how many of the homes for sale in Saskatoon are vacant?” Our new MLS system didn’t provide a method of searching by occupancy, so I dropped SRAR an email and suggested that this would be a valuable search field to add. By the end of the day, Harry made it happen.


Here’s what I learned.


At the close of business today, there are 666 active property listings in the residential category (I know, kind of spooky). 🙂


225 of those properties are vacant.


Tenants occupy another 130 of these listings.


A closer look at the vacant property listings reveals the following.


93 are condos.


104 are single-family homes.


The balances are semi-detached homes, duplexes, mobile homes, vacant lots and other properties that have not been categorized for reasons unknown to me.


94 of the vacant homes are new, or near new.


57 of the new or near new homes appear to be owned by builders. Some are still under construction.


Individuals own 37 of the new or near new homes.


Of the 225 vacant listings, 93 are condominiums.


21 of these vacant condominiums are new, or near new.


10 are in the Rumley building representing additions to the housing stock.


About two-thirds of the remaining 62 are conversion units.

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

Obligations and rights of tenants and landlords when ending a tenancy in Saskatchewan

You may have read the Star Phoenix story in yesterday’s paper regarding two tenants of the Barry Hotel who successfully appealed their eviction notices allowing them to continue to reside there until May 31. It’s important for tenants and landlords to understand their rights and their obligations when it comes to the termination of a tenancy. Here’s a quick look at the legislation as outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act.

Under Section 60 of the new Residential Tenancies Act:

A landlord may end a periodic tenancy respecting a rental unit if:


(a) the landlord enters into an agreement in good faith to sell the rental unit;

(b) all the conditions on which the sale depends have been satisfied; and

(c) the purchaser asks the landlord, in writing, to give notice to end the

tenancy on one of the following grounds:

(i) the purchaser is an individual and the purchaser, or a close family

member or friend of the purchaser, intends in good faith to occupy the

rental unit;

(ii) the purchaser is a family corporation and an individual owning

voting shares in the corporation, or a close family member or friend of

that individual, intends in good faith to occupy the rental unit.

A landlord may end a periodic tenancy respecting a rental unit if the landlord has all the necessary permits and approvals required by law, and intends in good faith, to do any of the following:


(a) demolish the rental unit;

(b) renovate or repair the rental unit in a manner that requires the rental unit to be vacant;

(c) convert the residential property to condominiums pursuant to The CondominiumProperty Act, 1993;

(d) convert the residential property into a continuing housing co-operative as defined inThe Co-operatives Act, 1996;

(e) convert the rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager or superintendent of theresidential property;

(f) convert the rental unit to a non-residential use.

Also under Section 60:

(8) A notice pursuant to this section must comply with section 63.

(9) A tenant may dispute a notice pursuant to this section by applying for an order pursuant to section 70 within 15 days after the date the tenant receives the notice.

(10) If a tenant who has received a notice pursuant to this section does not apply for an order pursuant to subsection (9), the tenant:

(a) is deemed to have accepted that the tenancy ends on the effective date of the notice; and

(b) must vacate the rental unit by that date.


Regarding proper notice, Section 63 states:


To be effective, a notice to end a tenancy must be in writing and must:


(a) be dated and identified as originating from the landlord or tenant giving the notice;

(b) give the address of the rental unit;

(c) state the effective date of the end of the tenancy;

(d) state the grounds for ending the tenancy; and

(e) when given by a landlord, be in the approved form.”


Additional Tenant Rights

Having received a notice of a termination of the tenancy, a tenant has the additional right to end the tenancy earlier by giving the landlord at least 10days written notice and paying the proportionate amount of rent.


In the event that the landlord does not carry out the intended purpose stated in the Notice, a tenant may seek compensation for having moved.


A form which is approved for use can be found here on the province’s Justice and Attorney General website.

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

Rental construction initiative on Saskatoon City Council agenda

Saskatoon city council will consider recommendations being brought forward by its Administration for a “New Rental Construction Land-Cost Rebate Program” at the next council meeting on Monday April 7, 2008.


This forwarded to me by a reader from the “Council Agenda in Brief.” (no longer available)


“City Council will receive a report from Administration recommending that they adopt, in principle, the New Construction Land-Cost Rebate Program and that Administration prepare an implementation plan by June 30. The program proposes a land-cost rebate to all developers of new rental units in Saskatoon, provided these units are constructed within 18 months and they remain rental units for 15 years. A further requirement is that 20% of these units be targeted as entry-level housing, and would also be eligible for an additional land-cost rebate. The rebates would be between 50% to 75% of land costs in return for an expedient delivery of new rental units. The program target is the construction of 1,000 new rental units within a two-year period. During the past twenty years, Saskatoon has had little investment in new rental unit construction, and this proposed one-time incentive is required immediately to break the inertia on new rental unit construction.”

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

How rent controls in Saskatchewan can do more harm than good

There’s a bit of a debate occurring on another post about whether or not Saskatchewan needs to implement rent control legislation.


Few would disagree that this market is extremely tough for renters and it would be difficult to make a case that Saskatoon renters don’t need some help right now. Is rent control the right way to do that or does such legislation ultimately lead to greater harm in the rental market?


Here are some points gleaned from a policy paper written by William Tucker, author of “The Excluded Americans: Homelessness and Housing Policies. Please refer to the complete document to examine the evidence in support of his position.


  • Rent controls cause frustrated property owners to sell and redirect investment dollars to a multitude of other investment opportunities that exist in the free market, ultimately reducing the supply of rental housing.

  • Rent controls produce excess demand, which further reduces the stock of rental housing for those who need it most.

  • Rent controlled housing tends to come off of the market and stay off of the market forever. Renters just don’t move.

  • Rent controls create closed communities, which excludes newcomers from entering the market.

  • Rent controlled housing tends to fall into the hands of middle-class professionals, not the poor.

  • Rent controls provide an incentive for landlords to neglect property and tenants.

  • Historically, vacancy rates are significantly lower in rent controlled areas than they are in free and open rental markets.

  • Median rents tend to be higher in areas with rent control than in areas that aren’t controlled.

  • Rent controls reduce the quality and quantity of housing available to renters.

Standard supply-and-demand theory predicts that any price controls, including rent controls, will produce an excess of demand over supply–an economic “shortage.” There is virtually no disagreement on this premise. In a survey of 75 of the world’s outstanding economists, J. R. Kearl and his colleagues found nearly unanimous agreement on the proposition: “A ceiling on rents will reduce the quality and quantity of housing.”


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 Milroy Apartments tenants offered first crack at converted units

Tenants of the Saskatoon Milroy Apartments received offers to purchase their units from the developer yesterday. Two of them kindly dropped me a note and I thought you might be interested in the details.


A tenant living on the 12th floor writes, “We got a package in the mail last night with the price and upgrades they are doing. Ours is priced at $315,888.09 – we have 30 days to buy and if we buy before April 10 we save a whopping 2000. This includes a surface parking spot as well. Sounds a little (alright a lot) steep for this place. They are planning on “gutting” the suite – replacing plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, flooring, windows and appliances and upgrading the electrical service to the building and each suite. Replacing the air chiller, moving to in-suite laundry and upgrading the elevator(s).”


I love the .09 cents thing.


According to another tenant residing of the 17th floor, it will set you back considerably to move up five floors. He states that his unit is offered to him at $351,502.32.


Let’s assume that the gentleman on 17 is interested in purchasing this property and he coughs up a 10% down payment and mortgages the balance. At 5.1% over 25 years, and assuming condo fees of roughly $290 per month and taxes of $200 (a guess, but probably somewhere close), he’ll have monthly payments totaling $2,385.13. An annual income of $95,000 will be required to qualify. Thankfully, we have 40-year mortgages that allow him to qualify with just $82,000 in annual income. 🙂


Average annual income of a Saskatchewan resident – $38,636.

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