The Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors recently reported December sales and prices for the entire residential category including single-family homes (houses), condominiums, semi-detached properties, duplexes, mobile homes and vacant lots. Unit sales totaled 162 properties across all of these property types, and an average sale price of $266,411. Let’s have a look at how houses (single-family detached homes) and condominiums did in comparison to the entire residential category.
Month end expired contracts pushed total active residential listings down at the end of December settling at 1,127 properties, and reaching their lowest levels since April of 2008. Still, the total inventory of Saskatoon homes was sharply higher than last December when available properties fell to just 346. Single-family homes took a sharp dive falling from 882 units at the end of November to close the year at 684. Available Saskatoon condos followed a similar trend falling from 493 to 381 in one month’s time.
House sales slowed as they always do in December losing 23 units compared to November, and falling short of December 2007 sales which topped 140 mark. 109 Saskatoon houses changed hands last month. Condos bucked the typical trend and showed an increase of 6 units from November with a total of 44 reported sales through the month of December, off 12 units from the previous December. If you’re looking for the silver lining, December sales of condos and houses did manage to exceed numbers recorded in all previous years. All things considered, this strikes me as a fairly remarkable change from our more recent months. It will be interesting to see if lower interest rates, and softer prices motivate buyers to enter the market as we move towards spring.
Indeed prices were softer in December as Saskatoon houses took a significant beating and showed losses in all four of the value measures we’ve been tracking over the past two years. The average sale price took the biggest thump losing well over $25,000 as it fell from $302,508 to just $274,521 and reaching it’s lowest level since December 2007 when the average house price was recorded at $267,342. The median sale price dropped $21,000 to $264,000 on a month-over-month basis and was actually slightly lower than last year’s number of $264,900. The three-month average fell close to $14K compared to last month landing at $295,956, down about $35,000 from it’s peak of $331,630 in June, but remaining up by almost as much when compared with the same month last year.
It’s certainly worth mentioning that the houses sold in November were larger than those sold in December. In November, Saskatoon home buyers purchased an average of 1,252 square feet, compared to 1,186 square feet in December. Using our average price per square foot number for the month, about half of the massive slide in the average selling price could be attributed to this factor. Two of the five major trading areas managed an increase in the price per square foot on houses that traded. On the heels of an unusually large slide in November, area 4 rose from $162 per square foot last month to $173 in December while area 1 saw a marginal increase from $254 to $257. Area 3 took the largest slide, losing about $23 per square foot to finish at $221. Across all Saskatoon real estate trading areas, the average price per square foot for a Saskatoon house dipped $11 from $242 in November to $231 in December.
Saskatoon condos produced surprises this month beyond stronger unit sales showing price gains in three of our four value measures. The average sale price increased $14,000 compared to the previous month and finished at $236,896, or about $2,600 higher than the same month last year. The median fell short of last year’s number finishing at $219,500, but was up about $5,500 from November. The three-month average slipped from $230,812 last month to settle at $229,082, or about $7,000 lower than it was in December of last year. A small handful of well appointed luxury type condos in areas 2 and 3 take at least some of the credit for the gains.
The price per square foot number for Saskatoon condominiums saw an overall increase of $2 over the previous month, rising to $219 in December. Still, it sits about $15 lower than it was in December 2007 and at its second lowest point since May of 2007.
The gap between the price of a Saskatoon house and a condo closed considerably through the month of December, at least on a price per square foot basis as house prices came down and condos edged slightly higher. Higher end sales pushed the average price per square foot in area 3 up by more than 25% to $259, and area 2 saw gains of about half as much rising from $217 last month to $243 in December. Area 1 continued to slide falling from $216 to $201. Area 4 remained stable as a result of no condo sales for the fifth consecutive month. Area 5 shows a large slide from a bizarre previous high of $255, falling through the floor to just $179. I should point out that area 5’s number is based on just two sales so a large change is not at all surprising.
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Norm Fisher Royal LePage Vidorra