Average Saskatoon house and condominium prices by area for 2006

I have completed my updates to the TeamFisher’s neighbourhood pages for 2006. Each neighbourhood page includes details on sales of houses and condominiums in the area including the low sale price, the high sale price and the average sale price for 2006.

I did something a little different this year in that I also included the average selling price of houses and condominiums for the last six months. I plan to update those numbers on a monthly basis so that a more accurate reflection of what’s happening in the Saskatoon real estate market, and within your neighbourhood can be seen at any time. With the sharp increases our market experienced through 2006, the annual average from the previous year was almost useless as we approached the close of the year. The averages shown didn’t really give an accurate picture of current Saskatoon real estate values.

We get a lot of visits from people who live outside of the province, who are considering a move to Saskatoon so these updated profiles are helpful in determining which areas meet their price objectives.

Another feature which will be added soon (hopefully before the New Year) is a graph which shows the change in average selling prices for each area over a ten year period. I have the data put together and we just need to prepare and post the graphs.

Do you know someone who is moving to Saskatoon? Why not refer them to our website? They’ll find it a great resource in their search for Saskatoon real estate.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

Merry Christmas Mr. Hinitt

They say, “all good things must come to an end.” However sad, it’s true. On the front page of this morning’s Star Phoenix, an image of the smiling Mr. Hinitt appears with the headline, “Bob Hinitt Hangs up His Hammer. (story now removed)”

The announcement marks the end of what became a Saskatoon Christmas tradition. For the past 59 years, Bob Hinitt gave us all a gift that brought us joy year after year. Thousands have driven by his Adelaide Churchill area home to enjoy the fabulous Christmas displays which he has constructed on his front lawn faithfully since 1947. A Bug’s Life, 101 Dalmatians, The Lion King, Winnie the Pooh and 54 other magnificent displays of this man’s magical spirit of giving all brought a smile to our chilled faces as we stood and marveled at their brilliance; his brilliance.

According to the Star Phoenix, Mr. Hinitt, who is 80 this year, realized that he could no longer manage this challenging project following a knee replacement surgery this year. “I’m depressed and blue, because, to me, that’s what Christmas was” he is quoted as saying. “What I feel bad about is that (the organizations) won’t have that money this year. The animals need that. They need someone to fend for them.” Mr. Hinitt’s yard display always contained kettles for voluntary donations which were contributed to the Saskatoon Zoo and the SPCA. Last year, he managed to raise $3,000 for the two organizations; another year saw $12,000 land in the kettles.It occurred to me this evening that a donation to one or both of these fine causes would be a beautiful gift to Mr. Hinitt; kind of a fitting way to say “thank you for what you’ve given us.” Can you find a few dollars to give in Mr. Hinitt’s honour? I think I can.

Mr. Hinitt, thank you for all you’ve given this community. Merry Christmas sir!

Saskatoon Zoo Society

Saskatoon SPCA

Norm Fisher

Royal LePage Vidorra

Saskatoon earns designation as a smart city

I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Saskatoon is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with when it comes to leading edge work in natural and applied science fields. There’s the National Research Council’s Plant Biotechnology Institute, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research centre, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, and of course, the Canadian Light Source. All of these exciting ventures promised to give Saskatoon a reputation as an outstanding “science city.” It seems that those promises are being delivered on.

A report released this week by the Scotiabank Group shows that Saskatoon has the strongest annual percentage growth in its science workforce so far over the last ten years. Only KitchenerWaterloo managed to match the growth seen here. The report, Smart Cities: High-knowledge Industries and Regional Prosperities shows that Saskatoon is in fact ahead of the national average when it comes to the percentage of the workforce which earn their income from natural and applied sciences. In 1996, only 4.4% of Saskatoon’s population worked in science related fields. Today, 7 % of our population or 8,900 people do just that.

You’ve got to hand it to Saskatoon people. They can typically be counted on to do things with a sense of pride that yields positive results.

Norm Fisher

Royal LePage Vidorra

Average house price rises in Saskatoon and Regina – Royal LePage House Price Survey

SASKATCHEWAN, December 14, 2006 – Strong in-migration from the Western provinces lead to tight inventory levels in the major markets in Saskatchewan, causing average house prices to rise, year-over-year, according to a year-end report released today by Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

Saskatoon

Low inventory levels continued to pressure prices upwards in Saskatoon, where buying activity remained brisk throughout the quarter. Accurately priced properties that showed well continued to attract multiple offers and often sold above list price, with the average time on the market falling to below 30 days.

Of the four markets examined in Saskatoon, the average price of a standard condominium experienced the greatest increase compared to other housing types surveyed, rising by 15.3 per cent to $124,000, year-over-year. Standard two-storey homes increased by 13.3 per cent, to $205,000, while the price of a detached bungalow rose by 14.2 per cent to $188,500, year-over-year.

Saskatoon has continued to experience an increase in in-migration – a population who is accounting for a large portion of the activity within the housing market. People have been moving to the city to take advantage of the affordable cost of living and excellent job opportunities, as many businesses in a variety of sectors are expanding.

“Saskatoon has experienced an increase in in-migration, and inventory has not been able to satisfy demand which has resulted in continued double-digit increases in average house prices,” said Norm Fisher, sales manager, Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate. “Moving into 2007 we should see some reprieve from the shortage of inventory as some current building projects are completed, helping to free up inventory for the resale market.”

Demand for condominiums has seen continued to grow in the fourth quarter, as an increasing number of entry-level purchasers have been turning to condominiums when they are unable to find a home that is affordable. Luxury homes priced above $300,000 have also seen an upswing in activity, largely attributable to out-of-province purchasers.

In Saskatoon North, the average price of a standard two-storey home rose by 14.0 per cent to $212,000, year-over-year. Detached bungalows rose by 13.4 per cent, to $195,000, while the price of a standard condominium rose by 14.3 per cent to $128,000 over the same period in 2005.

In Saskatoon West, the average price of a standard two-storey home rose by 13.4 per cent, to $178,000, while the average value of a detached bungalow also increased, rising by 13.5 per cent, year-over-year, to $164,000.

In the East End, the average price of a detached bungalow rose by 15.6 per cent, to $200,000, year-over-year. The average price for standard two-storey homes also increased, rising by 11.9 per cent from the same period last year to $225,000.

In East Central, the price of a standard two-storey home rose by 13.9 per cent to $205,000, while a detached bungalow rose by 14.0 per cent to $195,000, year-over-year. A standard condominium also appreciated by 16.5 per cent compared to the same period last year to $120,000

Regina

Of the markets examined in Regina, the average price of detached bungalows experienced the greatest increase compared to the other housing types surveyed, rising by 6.9 per cent to $150,375, year-over-year. Standard two-storey homes increased by 3.1 per cent, to $146,500, while the price of a standard condominium rose by 2.1 per cent to $96,500, year-over-year.

“Demand for all types of housing remained strong during the fourth quarter, as affordable interest rates and strong consumer confidence continued to drive buyers into the market, placing pressure on already tight inventory levels,” said Mike Duggleby, manager, Royal LePage Regina Realty, Regina. “In some cases, we have seen the lack of available inventory result in purchasers deciding to wait until the new year to make a purchase as they have become frustrated by the limited supply.”

Activity in the upper end of the market has seen an upswing of activity in the fourth quarter, driven by purchasers from the Western provinces, seeking out a lower cost of living and the excellent employment opportunities that the city offers. Windsor Park and Wascana are popular areas located in the southeast of the city, while the bedroom communities of Emerald Park and White City have seen strong activity in the fourth quarter.

Regina’s housing market is expected to maintain its strength throughout the upcoming year, with tight inventory levels limiting the number of units sold. For the year ahead, purchasers can expect average property prices to rise by 5.9 per cent to $144,000, according to the 2007 Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast, while the number of property transactions is expected to increase by 1.0 per cent to 2, 970 units sold.

In 2007, move-up buyers are expected to account for a larger portion of activity than they have in previous years. Out-of-province buyers are expected to remain active, sustaining strong activity within the upper end of the market.

Added Duggleby: “New developments in the southwest and the northwest of the city should help to relieve some of the pressure on inventory levels next year, however, seller’s market conditions are expected to persist for all of 2007.”

In Regina North, the average price of a standard two-storey home remained stable, year-over-year, at $132,000, while the average price of a detached bungalow increased by 6.8 per cent to $146,750, while standard condominiums remained steady at $85,000, year-over-year.

In Regina South, standard two-storey homes showed the largest gains, rising by 5.7 per cent, year-over-year, to $161,000. The average price of a detached bungalow rose by 3.2 per cent, to $154,000, year-over-year. The average price of standard condominiums in the area rose by 3.8 per cent to $108,000, compared to the same period last year.

Lack of residential lots pressures Saskatoon real estate market

The Saskatoon and Region Home Builders Association is arguing that the City of Saskatoon is not making enough new lots available for single family detached homes and that argument rings true to my ears.

Alan Thomarat, executive director of the association points out that while housing starts in 2006 are clearly ahead of last year (37%) they remain 15% lower than those achieved in 2004. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reports 1,384 housing starts including 886 single-family detached homes for the Saskatoon region over the first 11 months of the year. Thomarat says that the Saskatoon area should be able to build 2,000 homes a year and that the market could handle as many as 2,500 to 3,000 per year “within the decade” if the land is available.

City land branch manager Rick Howse expressed skepticism that Saskatoon could support 2,000 lots saying, “Any CMHC report I’ve seen doesn’t indicate that kind of growth.” However, he did explain that the city fell short of its lot servicing objective for 2006 due to wet weather in the spring and a lack of capacity for Saskatoon construction companies to meet objectives.

Thomarat points to the fact that 35% of new single family home starts are now happening outside of the city as an indication that the city is not making enough lots available. Significant residential developments are currently underway in Warman and Martensville; others are planned for Corman Park and Clavet. Are people actually turning to bedroom communities because of a scarcity of lots in Saskatoon? It is apparently so. November saw 91 new starts for each Saskatoon and Regina. In the Saskatoon area, only 52 of those starts were within city boundaries while Regina captured 76 of the 91 starts in that area.

Thomarat links the lack of city building lots to the increasing prices of existing residential real estate in Saskatoon. “These price increases will have the largest impact on entry level homes, reducing affordability for populations within Saskatoon that can least afford it.”

It’s hard to argue with his logic. Resale prices have risen as much as 15% in some neighbourhoods over the past year and resale inventory continues to shrink. As of today, there are 309 active residential listings available within the city limits. 265 of those are single family homes and 44 are condominiums. This is the lowest number of listings which I have seen in 14 years of business. At the same time, demand continues to remain strong and you don’t have to be an economist to understand that these factors together mean increasing prices for Saskatoon real estate. Without more development in new housing, resale inventories are likely to remain low, pushing prices higher. People are not going to sell their existing homes if they don’t have a place to go.

Meanwhile, the Saskatoon economy is strong with many small business owners indicating an appetite for expansion. The only real problem is finding people to help manage the growth. My colleagues and I have a sense that the people want to come home but we’ve really got no place to put them. I can’t help feeling that Saskatoon isn’t in an ideal position to fully capitalize on a growing interest in our fine city. Somebody, find us a way to build some houses or hang the no vacancy sign.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra