Residential listing inventory took a pretty good slide this month in both the house and condo categories. Total active listings of Saskatoon houses for sale fell to 882 from 990 at the close of October, and 1,053 the month before. Condo listings landed at 493 units, down from 530 the month before. Sales also weakened in both categories as house sales fell to just 132 units, down from 162 the month before and way off of the 223 properties sold in November 2007. Saskatoon condo sales slipped to 38 units, down just a smidge from October’s weak performance when 40 units traded, but off by 50% compared to November 2007 when 77 condos changed hands.
The price of a Saskatoon house saw marginal declines according to all four value indicators through the month of November. Average selling prices slid to $302,508 from $305,021 in October but remained significantly higher than the $257,491 recorded in November of 2007. The median house price slid $5,000 for the second month to settle at $285,000 and the three-month average showed it’s fifth consecutive monthly decline down by just $1,000 compared to the previous month.
All but one of the five major trading areas experienced a decline in the price per square foot on houses that traded. Area 5 managed a gain from $239 in October to $244 in November. Area 4 took the biggest dive falling from $196 in October to just $162 in November. On average, across all areas, the average price paid per square foot on houses declined from $247 last month to $242 this month. That’s just a 2% decline on a month-over-month basis but a 15.5% decline from its peak in May when the average price per square foot of a Saskatoon house was $280.
In the Saskatoon condo market, the numbers are not quite as simple but a close look does provide some clues. First, the average selling price inched down slightly, falling just over $2,000 from $224,970 in October to $222,834 in November. The median selling price shows a small gain from $210,000 to $214,000 and the three-month average is more or less level with the previous month at $230,812. On a month-over-month basis those don’t look like big changes, but year-over-year we see a pretty significant downward trend. In November 2007, the average selling price of a Saskatoon condo was 8% higher at a whopping $241,339.
The price per square foot number for Saskatoon condominiums provides a clearer picture of how condos have been affected over this period of correction. Again, area 5 manages to produce a gain on just three unit sales but the numbers tumble in areas 1 and 2. With average selling prices fairly stable, we can see that buyers are clearly buying larger units for roughly the same amount of money. Overall, the average selling price of a Saskatoon condo, on a price per square foot basis fell roughly 6% over the month from $231 in October to just $217 in Novem
The gap between the price of a Saskatoon house and a condo continues to widen. We are finally seeing pretty substantial differences (30-35%) between the average price of these two types of properties and the cost per square foot measure has grown slightly larger as well. Last November, house prices were not quite 7% higher than a condo. Prices on a cost per square foot basis were actually higher for condos than houses at $234 and $225 respectively. This was just one of the strange imbalances that occurred in our real estate market through 2007 which has managed to sort itself out.
Condos are starting to look far more realistic at their current price point, perhaps even reasonable given the huge rents that they’re generating. I can’t help but wonder if future prices changes won’t be a little closer to what houses have been experiencing. Entry-level apartments that came close to $200,000 through the spring are now available in the $160,000 range and a decent townhouse can be had for as low as $210,000. I wonder how long it will be before renters facing constant increases start to look to these properties as a solid option. From a seller’s perspective, renting a condo is now an option that may be as good as selling it. I guess it all depends on where you think prices are headed and when this correction will end.
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Royal LePage Vidorra