My mid-month “closer look” pretty much always follows SRAR’s month end stats, but then SRAR pretty much always releases month end stats at the end of the month. Due to issues that arise from the way that SRAR normally reports the numbers, combined with the quirks of a new MLS system, those numbers are still not available. SRAR’s reluctance to release their numbers leave me feeling somewhat concerned, but I’ve gone through the data pretty closely and I believe these numbers are probably reliable (yes, that’s a disclaimer, and I have already updated them once so tread carefully). In any case, I’m throwing caution to the wind and releasing my numbers because I know that some of you are seriously thirsty for some monthly stats. So drink it up folks.
Please note that I’ve added a new column to our charts that provide the average price per square foot in each category. Hopefully this figure adds another bit of perspective as to what’s happening over the long term.
Starting with the “house and condo” category, we can see that the average selling price of a Saskatoon home reached a new high of $287,959 for the month of March. This number is up from $266,573 in February, and represents a 40% increase from March 2007 when the average came in at $203,605. Unit sales saw a small decrease from 388 units last year to 364 units this year. Given that inventory has increased substantially over last year, we can really only conclude that demand is also starting to soften somewhat. This is a natural effect of rising prices. As prices rise, fewer buyers can afford to buy.
The drop in unit sales is significantly deeper when it comes to single-family homes (houses). 233 houses sold during March of 2008, compared to 295 in March of 2007, a drop of 21%. On the other hand, prices went through the roof rising to an average of $326,633, up a whopping 57% year over year. Houses averaged $208,123 in March of 2007, and had risen to $310,533 through February of this year.
Unit sales in the condo category showed remarkable strength due to a better affordability factor. Sales actually increased over March of 2007 from 93, to 131 sales, a gain of 41%. The average selling price showed a weakness that is equally remarkable when compared to the tremendous gains in house prices.
The average selling price of a condo was up just 16%, year over year, from $189,275 to $219,173. This relatively small increase can be attributed to a number of condo conversion projects that offered small, entry-level units priced at $125,000 or less. There were enough of these units sold early this year to skew the numbers down. When I look to a specific condo development and compare sales from March 2008 and March 2007, I see differences that are closer to 40%. For instance, three level town homes in Lakewood were trading at a high of $190,000 in March of 2007. Sales from March of 2008 show comparable units selling for $265,000. These numbers are probably more reflective of what’s been happening with condos.
In any case, year over year gains have been far stronger in the single-family category, and this seems fitting, given the fact that condos saw far greater increases than houses through 2007. The prices in the two categories had just become too close.
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.
Royal LePage Vidorra