Residential unit sales soften as market continues to correct: SRAR

The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) has released November’s statistics for the residential category along with the following media release.

The active residential listings number dropped slightly during the month of November. Buyers had 1495 properties to choose from at the end of November that number down from 1667 properties being available in October of this year.

Saskatoon REALTORS® listed 425 homes in November that number up 13% from November 2007 when 375 homes were placed on the market, Year to date 7,891 residential properties have been listed for sale.

The average selling price remained steady for November at $278,495.00 up 11% from November 2007 when the average selling price was $251,209.00. Year to date the average selling price stands at $288,807.00 up 25 % from 2007. These higher average sale price numbers indicate significant sales activity in the mid to upper price range.

181 residential properties sold in November that number down 43% from November 2007 when 316 units sold. The year 2007 was a unique year for sales activity. When measured against 2005 and 2006 the unit sales are down 22% when 230 units sold. Year to date 3,360 units have sold down 21% from 2007 having a total of 4,234 residential units sold. The 2008-year to date unit sales number is up 2% measured against 2006 when 3,276 residential units sold. When 2008 sales numbers are compared to 2005, unit sales are up 15% when year to date number stood at 2,861units sold.

Residential dollar volume year to date is on par with 2007 with REALTORS® having sold $970,392,000.00 of real estate. Year to date dollar volume in 2006 stood at $523,242,000.00.


The $300 to 400,000 price range has experienced the highest activity in 2008 followed by the $225 to 250,000.00 price range. Year to date 161 residential units have sold over $500,000.00.

The global economic slow down will in some way affect all areas of Canada. All indicators point to Saskatchewan being one of the best places to weather the storm. As indicated in the Canadian Real Estate Association news release, consumer confidence is being battered by downbeat headline news. Homebuyer sentiment has become very cautious, by contrast to the urgency to purchase in 2007.

There are fewer buyers and they are taking longer to shop, so the pricing environment is very competitive.

Unrealistically priced homes will sit on the market. Sellers are by and large under no distress to sell. Those who put their home on the market at an unrealistic price and are unwilling to cut it will likely take it off the market when the listing expires with a view to selling another day.

Canadians are definitely concerned by the economic news out of the U.S., and much of that news stems from distress in the U.S. housing market. Canadians should realize that Canada’s economy and housing market are both in better shape. This means the downturn in Canadian consumer confidence will pass and when it does, housing demand will rebound, especially when they realize the window of opportunity to buy at reduced prices and at low interest rates will begin to narrow once economic growth shows signs of rebounding next year.

My Closer Look at the Saskatoon Real Estate Statistics for November will follow in the next couple of days. That report examines sales and listing activity for condominiums and single-family detached homes.

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

October residential home sale market continues correction: SRAR

This is the release just issued by the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) for the October sales month. It covers sales in the entire residential category that includes single-family homes, condominiums, semi-detached properties, duplexes, vacant lots and mobile homes. Our “Closer Look” will follow by the end of this week and in it, we’ll take a look at October’s market for single-family homes and condos providing a thorough overview of activity in each category.

The Saskatoon housing market continued to soften slightly in the month of October with 215 residential units selling, that number down 23% from October 2007 when 280 homes were purchased. Year to date 3,182 homes have been purchased, that number down 19% from 2007 when 3,918 homes had been sold.  Year to date Saskatoon REALTORS® have sold $920,867,000.00 of residential real estate, that number up 2% from 2007. Total MLS® sales exceed 1.1 billion dollars down 1% from last year at this time

The average residential selling price for October remained strong at $285,310.00 that number up 12% from October 2007 when the average selling price was $255,739.00. Year to date the average price stands at $289,399.00 up 26% from last year at this time. The average price verifies significant activity in the mid to upper price range homes.

October 2008 inventory levels continued to provide buyers with excellent choice. Saskatoon REALTORS® listed 695 homes in October that number up 30% from October 2007 when 535 homes were placed on the market for sale. Year to date REALTORS® have listed 7,467 homes.  At month end, home buyers had 1667 homes to select from. This number represents more than double the properties available to purchase at this time last year.

The significant increase in listing inventory is due to several factors. The market frenzy of 2007 saw much speculation with many investors purchasing numerous properties to renovate and flip. Many individuals built several new homes to sell. Local investors and builders also stepped up to the plate and purchased homes and apartment blocks for conversion to condominiums.

Some local buyers, who traditionally would have sold their current home and then bought a new one, bought a new one but did not sell their existing home speculating that the market would go up. These and other reasons are why so many properties have been placed on the market at this time. It will take a few months for this inventory to return to a more normal level. In the interim some property owners are renting their homes with the intention of placing their homes back on the market in spring.

Home sale numbers and prices will soften for a short period of time during this correction period and will likely begin to increase again in 2009 at a much slower rate than experienced in the last two years.

As we go through this correction period, home owners will have to recalculate their expectations when pricing their homes and expect a longer period of time for their home to sell.

Consumers should be reminded that markets are cyclical.  When we look back at markets that we have been through, we can look at the late 1980’s when we had roughly the same number of properties on the market. We had fewer buyers as our population at that time was only around 185,000 people. We also had roughly the same number of REALTORS® in the industry.

An additional factor to consider during the 80’s was we had double digit interest rates versus single digit interest rates that we enjoy today. For example in the 80’s a $50,000 mortgage at 19¾% had a $934.00 PIT payment. Higher interest rates made servicing the debt somewhat difficult.  Markets are cyclical and we are again going through a correction period and following that the market will resume, maybe not at the exact same level but it will rebound again.

Saskatoon and all of Saskatchewan will be impacted by the recent global financial situation but when compared to other areas in Canada or North America going through this period of time in our history, Saskatchewan is likely to be one of the best places to live.

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

All indicators point to sustainable market activity in future: SRAR

The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® released its housing statistics for September today, accompanied by this release.

Saskatoon REALTORS® assisted 246 home buyers to fulfill their home ownership dreams in September, this number is up slightly from last month. Year to date 2969 residential units have been purchased, that number down 18% from last year at this time when 3,638 had been purchased.

The average selling price for the month of September was $297,836.00 up 23% from September 2007 when the average selling price was $242,729.00. Year to date the average selling price remains strong at $289,657.00 up 27% from last year at this time when the year to date average was $227,942.00.

September inventory levels continued to provide buyers with excellent choice. Saskatoon REALTORS® listed 825 homes in September, up 54% from September 2007 when 535 homes were placed on the market for sale. Year to date 6,773 properties have been placed on the market for sale.

Year to date total MLS® REALTORS® sales exceed 1.1 billion dollars, up 1% from last year at this time. Residential year to date volume stands at $859,992,000.00 up 4% from 2007.

Much is being said in the media these days speculating that the Canadian mortgage market and economy will experience the same stress as the USA. Although we will see some slowing in the housing market, to compare Canada to the U.S. is way off-base as quoted by the Mortgage Group Canada Inc. in a September 25th, 2008 Special Update on Canadian mortgages.

The report indicates that Canadian mortgage markets are fundamentally healthier than the U.S. The report looks at debt growth over the full cycle and gives examples of how debt-to-income ratios could be misinterpreted. The full report is available at http://www.marksmortgages.ca/news.asp

The Saskatoon and Saskatchewan economy is very strong. All indicators point to significant economic growth for our area. SREDA recently reported corporation and business commitment to invest in excess of ten billion dollars in the Saskatchewan resource sector and general economy over the next ten years.

Labor shortage continues to be the greatest challenge for corporations and businesses verifying the need for skilled workers all of which require housing. At present our market is going through a correction stage with all indicators pointing to steady sustainable market activity in the future.

Our “Closer Look” at the Saskatoon real estate statistics will follow early next week.

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 returns to more normal stable market environment: SRAR

The average selling price of a residential property in Saskatoon slid for the second consecutive month to land at $279,366 down from its peak of $310,386 in June of this year.

Here is the news release issued by the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors yesterday.

Saskatoon REALTORS® listed 805 properties in the Month of August that number up 17% from August 2007 when 686 properties were placed on the market. Year to date 5,947 homes have been placed on the market for sale that number up 41% from August 2007 year to date numbers.

Unit sales were down 44% from August 2007’s frenzied market with 224 residential units selling as compared to 397 homes being sold in August 2007. Unit sales numbers are more on par with 2003 to 2005 sales numbers indicating a return to a more normal stable market environment.

The average residential selling price in August was $ 279,366.00 up 11% from August 2007 when the average selling price was $252,268.00. Year to date the average price is holding its own at $288,918.00 that number up 28% from August 2007. Year to date REALTORS® have sold $786,725,000.00 of residential real estate 4% ahead of August 2007 when $753,279,000.00 of real estate was purchased.

The average residential price is derived by taking the month’s dollar volume of homes sold and dividing that number by the unit sales number. The percentage of change should not be used unilaterally as prices vary from area to area. Consumers wishing an accurate estimate of value for their home should contact a REALTOR® member to do a comprehensive market evaluation.

Similar market activity was experienced in those areas in and around Saskatoon. Inventory levels increased with 331 homes being listed for sale up 66% from August 2007 when 199 homes were placed on the market for sale. The average selling price remained stable at $242,864.00 up 24% from August 2007 when the average selling price was $195,490.00.

Unit sales in areas around Saskatoon were down by 13% with 81 properties selling as compared to 93 in August 2007. Year to date 690 homes have sold that number down 13% from 2007.

Increased inventory levels are common place across Canada. Saskatoon continues to experience strong employment numbers with many corporations and companies seeking to hire skilled labour all of which require housing. Market activity is expected to remain the same in the coming months as the market goes through a correction.

The Star Phoenix story related to this release is here.

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

Average price of a Saskatoon home drops in July 2008

According to numbers released Friday by the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors, the average selling price of a Saskatoon home dropped in July, falling below the $300,000 mark for the first time since March 2008. Average prices through the month came in at $292,428 for all units sold in the residential category, down from its peak of $310,386 reached in June 2008 and just above the six month rolling average of $289,902. Year-over-year gains fell to 20% compared to July 2007 when the average selling price was recorded at $244,327.


The decline in prices can almost certainly be credited to increased competition amongst sellers. The average asking price of properties that sold in July was just $300,608 compared to $317,735 in June. Total active residential listings hovered between 1,400 and 1,500 units through most of the month, settling at 1,497 by month end. These are numbers that are near double the record highs that I’ve experienced over a near 15-year real estate career in Saskatoon.


The active listing inventory did show some signs of stabilizing increasing just 57 units through the month of July following sharp increases for three consecutive months. Inventory grew from just 470 units at the end of April to 1,440 units by the close of June, an average of 323 units per month.


Total unit sales finished the month at 348, down 18% from July of last year when 422 units traded hands, but up from the previous year when 337 units were marked sold. Buyer interest seems to remain strong if we can get by comparing overall performance to 2007, which produced unit sales well in excess of the norm. To me, strong levels of demand provide some evidence that the Saskatoon real estate market is experiencing a correction, as opposed to a crash.


Sellers can expect competition to remain strong in the coming months. They can take some comfort in knowing that demand remains strong but they must be aware that everything matters when buyers have an abundance of options. Take the time to prepare your home for sale by addressing potential negatives with respect to property condition and pricing errors.


By the middle of next week, I will follow up with our “Closer Look” which will provide an overview of activity and prices for single-family homes and condominiums in each of the five major real estate areas of Saskatoon.


Read also: Star Phoenix – Saskatoon house prices fall

Read also: SaskHouses Blog – Average Asking Prices Drop in July


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