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April house sales jump 18 per cent in Saskatoon regio

April housing demand in the Saskatoon region was the strongest in three years, as sales jumped 18 per cent over the same month of 2018.


The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) reported 513 sales on the MLS® system, up from 433 last April and 414 in 2017. Those sales generated a dollar volume of $169.6 million, up 12 per cent from last year’s $152 million and 14 per cent from $147 million in 2017.


Year-to-date, sales are up seven per cent to 1,440, as compared to 1,342 in 2018 and 1,368 in 2017. Dollar volume is up three per cent to $460.2 million from last year’s $447.8 million. The spring market usually brings an increase in listings, and April followed that tradition. Listings rose four per cent to 1,295, although year-to-date listings are down slightly to 3,971 from 3,989.


Compared to the 4,475 properties posted in the first four months of 2017, however, listings are down significantly.

“People came out of hibernation and said, it’s time,” said Jason Yochim, CEO of SRAR. “We’re seeing the beginning of a spring market, which is nice.”


Other factors potentially influencing the market include stable interest rates and lower prices, he added.

“There’s less inventory and people are buying what they’re finding on the market,” Yochim said. “It’s feeling more like it’s time to make that move.”


In the city of Saskatoon, the number of properties brought to market actually fell two per cent in April to 774, down from 787 last year and significantly down from the 842 listed in April, 2017.

Year-to-date, 2,511 homes have been listed, down three per cent from 2,594 in the same period of 2018. Listings in 2017 were considerably higher, at 3,024.

April sales in the city proper came in at 380, up 14 per cent from last year’s 333 and generating a 16 per cent increase in the dollar volume, to $130.4 million. That figure is up from both 2018 and 2017, when $112.7 million and $113.6 million in sales were recorded, respectively.


So far this year, Saskatoon sales are up seven per cent to 1,047, up from 978 in 2018.

The average selling price in the city increased one per cent to $343,121 in April, up from $338,438 last year. Year-to-date, the price remains down by two per cent at $327,995.


The region surrounding Saskatoon, including towns and cities such as Warman, Martensville and Dalmeny, saw a whopping 25 per cent increase in dollar volume to $31 million on 105 sales, up 36 per cent from 77 last year. The average price was down eight per cent to $295,780.

Active listings in Saskatoon as of April 30 were down three per cent to 1,778 from 1,834 last year, and up four per cent in the region, to 1,083.


Stronger sales activity was reflected in Saskatoon’s sales to listing ratio, which at 49 per cent is considered a balanced market.

“It’s an encouraging sign,” said Yochim. “A balanced market offers a good equilibrium, with a good balance of buyers and product from sellers. Depending on how long it lasts, it helps slow the decline in pricing.”

New housing starts are down considerably, which is also affecting the market. March, for example, saw a 33 per cent drop in single family home starts and a 70 per cent fall in multiple units. It will take some time before the rising demand spurs more building, because there is always a lag between an improvement in sales and starts, Yochim said.

Prince Albert and region also recorded improved home sales, which rose 25 per cent to 60 units, up from 48 last year. Dollar volume jumped 26 per cent to $12.2 million from $9.7 million last April. Listings were up a marginal two per cent, to 168 from 165. In the city itself, sales were up 41 per cent to 38.

“That’s encouraging for P.A., because the market was quite depressed for a number of months,” Yochim said.

Activity was less robust in the Battlefords region. Sales rose 17 per cent in April to 35, up from 30 last April, but dollar volume dropped 35 per cent to $5 million from $8 million. Listings, however, fell seven per cent to 138.

Every market, including the strengthening Saskatoon market, comes with its own challenges for buyers and sellers, noted Yochim.

“If you want to know how the recent changes in the market affect your individual home and needs, it’s best to contact a SRAR member. They have the knowledge, experience and objectivity to help you make good decisions about your personal circumstances.”

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February listings drop, sales rise in Saskatoon region

Despite the very cold temperatures in February, Saskatoon and region home sellers found a little warmth as new listings dropped seven per cent and sales rose six per cent. The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) reported 731 homes were listed, down from 783 in the same month of last year, while sales rose to 296 from 280. The dollar volume of homes sold through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) rose four per cent, to $95.8 million from $92.4 million. Year to date, listings dropped seven per cent to 1,591, sales were up one per cent to 570, and the dollar volume was down a marginal one per cent to $180.8 million.


Excluding the region, new Saskatoon listings were down 8.6 per cent in February to 478 — the fewest since 2013 — while sales held steady with last year, rising by one to 211. Months of inventory dropped to 6.7 from 7.5 last February. City homes listed to date in 2019, at 1,033, are at their lowest level in nine years. February statistics indicate a change in a market that has been declining for four years. “Sales have stabilized somewhat, and inventory levels are coming down,” said Jason Yochim, CEO of SRAR. “As an optimist, I believe and hope it will continue. However, people have to be confident that the economy is improving before committing to the purchase of a home.”


He noted that while some sectors of the economy, such as potash mining, are doing well, others are less robust.

“It’s not that people aren’t working; they are. But they won’t upgrade unless they have confidence in their situations.”

The average price in Saskatoon also recovered slightly to $338,268, up 2.3 per cent from last February. Yochim cautioned that average prices can be misleading, because the basket of sales in any given month can be very different from another. For example, if two or three high-priced homes sell, that can significantly skew the average.

A better gauge, said Yochim, is the Home Price Index (HPI), which tracks prices over time based on a benchmark determined 15 years ago.


Saskatoon’s overall HPI, including apartment-style condos, was $282,600 last month, down three per cent from last year. The most expensive category, two-storey single-family homes, was down one per cent at $356,000.

Saskatoon remains a buyers’ market, with a sales-to-listing ratio of 44; but the ratio has risen from 34 in January, for a year-to-date ratio of 40. A ratio of 50 is a balanced market, while a ratio of 60 denotes a sellers’ market.

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Home Sales Soften in November

The total number of residential home sales for the month of November in Saskatoon on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) totaled 203 units. This represents a 22% decline compared to the same month last year. The highest total for sales to the end of November was in 2014 reaching 4,203 transactions. This total has been steadily declining since with year to date sales at the lowest in ten years. At the end of last month there was a total of 3,167 residential MLS® transactions in the city, this is a 25% decline from the high of 2014. 


Total new residential MLS® listings has also been declining since 2015 when there were 9,411 by the end of November. The total number of residential MLS® listings for Saskatoon as of November 30thwas 7,646, a 12% decline compared to last year and a 19% decrease from 2015.  Total active residential listings at the end of last month was 1,716, comparable to the five-year average and slightly higher than the 10-year average of 1,388. At the current rate of sales, it would take just over 8 months to liquidate the current active listing inventory. “The months of inventory has been steadily increasing from 3.8 months in November of 2012.” comments Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR). “Even though homes in November were selling at 96.2% of the asking price, it still took two months for the average home to sell in Saskatoon” he added. The sales to new listing ratio helps to determine if it is a sellers or buyers’ market. It is considered to be a balanced market when the ratio is at 50%, a lower percentage than this is considered a buyers’ market and above, a sellers’ market. The sales to listing ratio in Saskatoon for November was 38%, favoring buyers. 


Typically, when referencing home prices, the focus in real estate is often on the average price. The danger in this is that the average can be misleading and is easily skewed. Case in point, if there are more, higher priced homes that sell in a certain period than another comparable period, the average will be higher. The opposite could occur the following month resulting in a lower average. A better indicator of what is happening with home prices is the Home Price Index. The Home Price Index establishes attributes for a typical single-family home with a base value in 2005. From that starting point, changes in value are recorded over time to get a better sense of what is happening to pricing and where prices may be trending. The value for the typical single-family home in January of 2005 was $140,400. This value reached its peak in May of 2015 at $329,500. Currently this value is at $310,900. Even though this is up 0.8% from a year ago, it has been trending downward in the past 6 months very slightly. For more information on HPI go to contact a member of the SRAR or visit saskatoonrealtors.ca 

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Number of Listings Declining

The total number of new residential listings in Saskatoon on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) year to date totaled 7,111. This represents a 12% decline when compared to the same period last year with 8,065 properties listed. The total number of residential listings for Saskatoon and region year to date is 10,929, a 10% decline from last year. The individual month end totals for new listings in 2018 was down each month as well compared to 2017 totals. This decline in new listings has contributed to lower inventory levels for available properties in Saskatoon. At the end of October there was a total of 1,808 active residential properties for sale in Saskatoon and 1,095 in the regional market surrounding Saskatoon. The five-year average for active listings in Saskatoon is 1,806 while the ten-year average is 1,487. “Since 215, the Saskatoon market has experienced higher inventories of active listings, this puts downward pressure on pricing and often upward pressure on the sales to new listing ratio.”  comments Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®. The median price of a home in Saskatoon has declined as well since 2015 as has the average price. The average residential price was $332,000 at the end of October, down 4% from a year ago and $20,000 from two years ago. Although much focus in real estate is on the average price, the average can be misleading and is easily skewed. A better indicator of what is happening with home prices is the Home Price Index. The Home Price Index establishes attributes for a typical single-family home with a base value in 2005. From that starting point, changes in value are recorded over time to get a better sense of what is happening to pricing and where prices are trending. The value for the typical single-family home in January of 2005 was $140,400. This value reached its peak in May of 2015 at $329,500. Currently this value is at $312,600 virtually unchanged from a month earlier. The Benchmark price for a typical Townhouse style property in Saskatoon was $222,900 last month, for apartment style properties, $180,100 in October. For more information on HPI go to saskatoonrealtors.ca.


Year to date, the total number of residential sales on the MLS® system in Saskatoon was 2,964, down 2% from last year. For Saskatoon and region the total number of sales was 4,074, a 1% decline from 2017. Total MLS® sales of 285 in Saskatoon for October was unchanged from the same month last year and but down 9% from October 2016. “It s encouraging to see home sales at a comparable level to last year in spite of economic challenges and the “stress test” changes to financing earlier this year.” Comments Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®. “It would seem that sellers are recognizing the importance of expert advice from our REALTOR® members in pricing to the current market.” he adds.

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Increase in July Home Sales 

The month of July saw a significant increase of over 25% in the year-over-year Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales activity with a total of 390 unit sales in the month. This compares with 310 transactions in July of 2017. Total MLS® transactions for Saskatoon year to date was down 3.3% with 2,082 home sales compared to 2,152 to the end of July 2017. 


“Although one month does not constitute a trend, it is very encouraging to see such a significant increase in activity during a month when many buyers typically leave town on vacation” comments Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®. Other positive indicators are a decline in the number of new MLS® listings coming on to the market. 


A total of 710 new MLS® listings in July represented a decrease of 10% over last year and well below the five year average of 830 listings. Fewer new listings combined with an increase in sales reduced the number of active listings from 2,109 in June to 2,048 at the end of July. The five year average for active MLS® listings is 1,977 units. “Lower inventory levels will help move the market from a buyer’s market towards balance and stabilize home prices.” adds Yochim.

MLS® sales below $200,000 totaled 57 transactions in July, 55% higher than July of 2017, while year to date sales increased by 26% with 307 transactions. Homes that sold between $300-400,000 on the MLS® in July showed an increase of 27% over the previous July while year to date the number of sales in this price range totaled 1,229, a decline of 5%. Home sales in excess of $400,000 totaled 540 transactions year to date, a decline of 12% over the previous year.

The Home Price Index (HPI) Value for single family residential home sales in Saskatoon took a slight decrease in July of 0.1% to $315,400 compared to $315,800 at the end of June. The HPI measures the change in value over time for a typical single family home with a standard set of attributes. This rate of change reports similar to the Consumer Price Index and is the most accurate indicator of home pricing.


The HPI value for townhouse style residences continued on its upward trend, increasing by 1.2% for the month to $234,400. For more information on HPI go to saskatoonrealtors.ca . Year-to-date, the average sale price was $334,676, a 4.1% decrease from the same period last year. Average prices can be misleading as outlier sales can skew the average sale value one way or the other over a short period of time. This is why the median price of HPI value is a better indicator of the market.

Last month, the average home in Saskatoon took 49 days to sell in Saskatoon last month. The five year average for days to sell in the month of July is 48 days.
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Home Listings Down Year to Date

  

Fewer home owners seem ready to put their home on the market this year compared to last. In May, a total of 943 properties were added on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Saskatoon representing a 9% decrease from last May. Year to date there were 13% fewer homes listed year to date in Saskatoon.

 

The total number of active listings in Saskatoon at the end of May was 2,001, just slightly above the five year average of, 1,945 units. “Typically we see the highest number of active listings between May and September.” comments Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®, “It’s the most active time in our market largely due to favorable weather.” He adds. Inventory levels for active MLS® listings reached an all-time high in July of last year with 2,210 homes for sale in Saskatoon. At the current rate of sales it would take five and a half months to liquidate the current stock of active listings. 


In May there were 364 home sales, a decrease of 13% from last May. Year-to-date sales for Saskatoon are down 7% with a total of 1,345 residential MLS® home sales. Home sales so far this year have declined in every price range with the exception of homes under $200,000 which saw a 30% increase for a total of 203 sales. The price range with the greatest decline in sales were homes priced between $450-500,000 with a year-to-date total of 85 sales, a 17% drop from last year. Homes selling between $750,000 and $1M are on par with last year at 19 sales. Homes in excess of $1M however are off sharply with three MLS® sales year to date. In 2017, there were three home sales in May alone over $1M and nine year to date.

The sales to listing ratio has decreased from 43% in April to 39% in May. The sales to listing ratio is a comparison of the number of sales for a period of time to the number of new listings. “Saskatoon remains a buyer’s market. However, homes that are priced to market and in good condition will still command great interest and in some cases competing offers.” comments Yochim. Last month, the average home in Saskatoon took 47 days to sell in Saskatoon last month, this is the lowest time to sell so far this year.

Year-to-date, the average sale price was $334,449, a 4% decrease from the same period last year. Since averages can be misleading, a better reflection of the market is the median. The median home sale price year to date is $320,000. The five year average for median residential home sale prices in Saskatoon is $341,980.

The Home Price Index Composite Benchmark Price (HPI) continued in an upward trend for most home types (except apartment style) again in May. The HPI is the most accurate indicator of where home prices are trending. For more information on HPI go to saskatoonrealtors.ca .

REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are dedicated to developing professional standards and continuing education in the real estate profession. This is not the case for those who sell real estate in the province and who are not members of an association of REALTORS®.

 

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Spring Home Sales Show Positive Increase 

Residential home sales in Saskatoon were 6.7% higher than April of last year with 335 units selling last month. This represents a third of home sales in Saskatoon so far this year. Although the year to date sales for the first four months of 2018 is down 4.8% over the same period in 2017, last month’s increase in sales helped to close the gap. The increase in April sales also was a welcome reversal of a two month trend of declining sales for February and March. Unit sales for April showed increases for homes priced under $350,000. Of the 202 sales in April under $350,000, 73 were condominiums. Homes that sold between $400,000 and $450,000 showed a 30% increase in sales in April over the same month last year with 39 sales. Homes that are properly priced in that entry level have been seeing competing offers in many cases.

Also of note, year to date there have only been two residential sales over $1M in Saskatoon compared with six for the first four months in 2017. The number of active residential properties for sale in Saskatoon at the end of April was 1,834 units. This is consistent with the five year average of 1,830. This is largely due to a decrease in the number of new listings brought to the market. The number of new listings for the first third of 2018 was 2,594 compared to 3,024. This represents more than a 14% decline year over year.

The sales to listing ratio increased to 43% from 37% a year ago. The sales to listing ratio is a comparison of the number of sales for a period of time to the number of new listings. Although the sales to listing ratio is moving towards balance,  we are still in a buyer’s market. The increase in this ratio in April was largely due to the 6.5% reduction in new listings and the comparative 6.7% increase in sales. Last month, the average home in Saskatoon took 53 days to sell compared with the five year average of 47 days. 

The average sale price saw its first increase this year by 1.75% to $318,729 in April. For the first quarter of 2018, the average home sale price in Saskatoon was $333,826. Since averages can be misleading, a better reflection of the market is the median. The median home sale price increased slightly from March to $320,000. The five year average for median residential home sale prices in Saskatoon is $332,650. 

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Slight Downward Pressure on Home Prices 

At the end of the first quarter the number of MLS home sales was 723 units or a 1% increase over last year. The number of properties listed for sale year to date was 2,193, just 2% lower than the first three months of 2016. “Although the first quarter unit sales are comparable to 2016, pricing seems to be slipping slightly” comments Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® “The median price of $320,000 is down 4.3% from a year ago and the average price of $342,100 is down 1.5%.” he adds. The Home Price Index (HPI) published by the Canadian Real Estate Association indicates a downward trend in pricing as well. The composite price, an aggregate of all home types, for Saskatoon has been trending downaward since August of 2016 when the benchmark value was $309,500 compared to $297,900. This composite value reached its peak of $313,800 in July of 2015. The HPI is based on a benchmark value of $133,400 established in January of $2005. This value is indexed every month thereafter representing the changes to that base value. The downward pressure on pricing is likely to remain until there is a decrease in the current inventory of just over 1,850 active listings or an increase in demand.  

Multi-family sales of 220 units was up year to date by 18% compared to 187 unit sales last year. The number of single family sales of 510 units was a slight decline of just over 4% year over year. The federal changes to mortgage qualification introduced in October of 2017 no doubt have had an impact on some who found it harder to qualify for a single family home. These changes increased the number of multi family transactions due buyers qualifying at a substantially lower purchase price. This is reflected in a 5% increase in sales between $200,000 and $350,000 in the first quarter. During this same period, homes priced from $350,000 to $600,000 saw a 13% decline in unit sales.  

There is currently enough existing inventory to last almost six months based on current sales activity. This is slightly higher than the five year average of 4.84 months. For the homes that do sell, currently on average it takes 47 days. This is two days more than the five year average. These homes are selling at just under 98% of the asking price. This is a reflection of the “intelligent buyer” that we see in today’s market place. “Today’s consumer has access to detailed information at their fingertips and know very well what the true market price of a home should be. Sellers are equally informed and when they are able to think objectively, they price to market and the result is a quicker sale with the sale price tight to list.” according to Yochim. The problem lies in most of us unable to be objective even in the face of raw data. The mindset of many home sellers is that their home is worth more than the one down the street because they used ‘heavy duty’ nails in the construction or similar rationale. “This is one of the most critical reasons for enlisting the advice of a professional REALTOR® in pricing your home.”  

Activity in the area surrounding Saskatoon has experienced a decline of almost 17% in the number of sales for the first quarter of the year with 167 total sales. A positive here though is the average price is up 9.2% and the days on market is 64 days compared to 70 for last year. Martensville and Warman have not been affected the same way in the past three years. The city of Martensville experiences 38 sales and 153 listings so far in 2017. By comparison, in the first quarter of 2017 Warman recorded 57 sales and 144 new listings. In the first three months of 2015 Warman had 81 sales compared with 26 in Martensville.  The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® has a membership of just over 600 licensed and knowledgeable REALTORS® who can provide sound market advice. REALTORS® also subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are dedicated to developing professional standards and continuing education in the real estate profession.  

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For many the average sale price is used to benchmark where the market is at. Year to date statistics reinforce why that is not a sound practice. As of the end of September, a total of 2,936 unit sales were recorded, a 7% drop from the same period in 2015. By comparison, the average sale price of $351,835 remains virtually unchanged from one year ago. Furthermore, the average sale price for September 2016 was 6% higher than last September. The reason, an increase in the number of properties selling at the higher end of the price range coupled with a decline in more affordable home sales. More specifically, year to date the number of units selling between $300,000 and $500,000 declined by 12% while the number of units selling above $750,000 increased by 20%.

 

The Home Price Index (HPI) tool was created by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) as a way to more accurately reflect changes in home pricing and predict pricing trends. The HPI uses a starting point of January of 2002 and establishes a “benchmark” value for a typical property type. This value is then indexed over time to reflect changes in the market. The composite benchmark value for a home in Saskatoon in January of 2002 was $115,000. Currently the composite benchmark price is $308,600. This index has changed very little since January when it was at $305,400. This would indicate little change in value over the first nine months of the year and has remained virtually unchanged since June.  New listings for September were down 20% compared to September of 2015. 

 

“A reduction in new listings has a positive impact on the overall inventory levels in Saskatoon which have been elevated since the spring of 2015”. comments Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®. “Ideally we would like to see the number of active listings around 1,500 units” he adds. At the end of September, the number of active listings was 1,841, the five-year average is 1,625 units. The high water mark for active listings was 2,081 in June of 2015.

 

The number of sales for September was 324 units which is a 9% reduction from last year. Year to date the total unit sales was down 7% compared to 3,167 units a year ago. The average time to sell a home in Saskatoon is currently 51 days, the five-year average is 41 days. These homes have been selling for 97.4% of the asking price. “The key element in the sale of a property is proper pricing, buyers are more educated today than ever before,” adds Yochim. 

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