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.