You could actually know more about Saskatoon real estate, faster.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I’m not sure I get the “Twitter” thing.

I first signed up to use this “social media” tool a little more than a year ago. I think I gave it a fair shot (96 tweets and a lot of listening) but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m not that comfortable sharing the minor details of my life with others.

On the other hand, I am kinda crazy about sharing real estate stuff with those who are into it. If you’re into that, and you’re into Twitter, well, you might want to check out my Twitter stream here.

You probably won’t find out where I am, or what I had for dinner, but if you were checkin’ it out you’d know how many Saskatoon homes sold today, and what the average selling price was. You’d know that a property sold above a million bucks yesterday, and that another one picked up a sold sign today at just shy of a million. Heck, you’d even already know the average selling price of a Saskatoon home for March 2009.

So, hit me up on Twitter, won’t ya?

I’m over here, by myself, at the moment. ☺

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 @Norm_Fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Saskatoon housing affordability deteriorated again in 2008: Demographia

Some call it a report on the obvious, while others see it as big news.

No matter how you view the Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s International Housing Affordability Survey, you’d be hard pressed to make a convincing argument that housing affordability hasn’t suffered a serious blow in Saskatoon over the past couple of years. In fact, you’d have to be a fool to even try. When the average selling price of a home nearly doubles in two years time you’re going to see some pretty serious deterioration in affordability. Most of us didn’t need an “international study” to tell us that the cost of home ownership has skyrocketed here but some might be a bit surprised to learn that no other city in Canada has seen affordability deteriorate to the same extent as Saskatoon. According to the study, Saskatoon is now among the ranks of the “seriously unaffordable.”

I suppose the greatest value of this kind of study, if you feel you can trust the methodology and actual statistics, is that it provides a bit of a benchmark as to how we’re doing locally compared to other markets around the world. The Demographia study looks at 265 housing markets and determines housing affordability for each assigning a “median multiplier” as its affordability measure. The “median multiplier” shows you how many years of median household income it takes to buy a home priced at the median in each market.  We’re not quite sure which median income measure was used, or how a “house” is actually defined, but let’s assume that these measures are consistent from one survey to the next and see how things have changed in relation to some other Canadian markets. Here’s a quick look at the changes over the last three survey periods.

Recent price declines would suggest that Saskatoon might have already bottomed out as far as affordability is concerned, at least for now. I haven’t been able to make sense of the “median price” that the Demographia study has used for Saskatoon, but I can say with certainty that the median price of a Saskatoon house has been $21,250 lower over the past 90 days compared to the third quarter of 2008, the period that is measured for the study. It’s down $38,000 from its peak in Q2 when the median price of a Saskatoon house hit $315,000. Things are starting to look up for affordability. With any luck, we’ll be back in the “moderately unaffordable” category soon, and even that has a nice ring to it right now.

See the latest Demographia Affordability Study here
A copy of the 2008 study is here (data from Q3/07)
A copy of the 2007 study is here (data from Q3/06)
See the Star Phoenix story on this study here
And another Star Phoenix story 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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

U.S. Federal Reserve to tighten lending rules

CNN: The Federal Reserve is expected to overhaul lending rules on Monday in an effort to prevent another mortgage crisis.

Good idea Ben! It would be foolhardy to encourage a second mortgage crisis while you’re busy dealing with the first one.

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

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

Saskatoon leads nation for increases in new house prices in 2007

Saskatoon leads nation for increases in new housing prices in 2007The cost of building a new home in Canada increased 6.2%, year over year, according to the New House Price Index Report (no longer available) released today by Statistics Canada.

“Regionally, prices again rose at the fastest pace in Saskatoon, which led the nation with an annual price increase of 45.1%. On a month-over-month basis, housing prices rose 1.0% between November and December in Saskatoon. A number of factors were behind the gain, including increased costs for concrete and drywall, as well as higher land development costs reported by some builders,” says the Statscan report.


Windsor, where the cost to build a new home decreased by 1.1% from December 2006 was the only Canadian market to experience a decline over the last year.

Price increases across Canada came in as follows:


Regina – 25.9%

Calgary – 6%

Edmonton – 21.5%

Winnipeg – 15%

Vancouver – 6.4%

Victoria – 1.6%

Toronto – 3.4%

Thunder Bay – 5.9%

London – 3.1%

Hamilton – 2.8%

St. Catherines-Niagara – .3%

Montreal – 4.1%

Halifax – 10.4%

St. John’s – 7.9%


Thanks to Jedi who posted this link to the CBC coverage.

Thanks also to St. John’s blogger Stephen Winters for sending me this link to the Globe’s coverage.

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