Saskatoon home sales through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) totaled 203 units in November, a 22 percent decline compared to the same month last year. By the end of last month, a total of 3,167 Saskatoon home sales had been recorded year-to-date, down 25% from the highs of 2014, and the lowest year-to-date sales number in ten years.
New residential MLS® listings have also been declining since 2015 when there were 9,411 Saskatoon homes listed by the end of November. This year, that number sits at 7,646 over the same period, a 12 percent decline from last year and down 19 percent from 2015. Total active residential listings fell to 1716 as November closed, 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 were selling at 96.2% of the asking price in November, it still took two months for the average Saskatoon home to sell,” he added.
The sale to new listing ratio is a useful measure to determine if it is a seller’s market or a buyer’s market. It is considered to be a balanced market when the ratio is at 50 percent (half as many sales as listings). Lower percentages identify a buyer’s market and higher percentages indicate a seller’s market. The sales to listing ratio in Saskatoon for November was 38 percent.
Typically, when discussing home prices, the focus is on the average price. The average can be misleading and is easily skewed. If there are more high-end homes that sell over a defined period, and fewer over another, the two periods can produce substantially different averages even if values are largely stable. For instance, the average sale price in November was $343,361. That’s up from $325,016 in October. No reasonable analysis would suggest that home values are up five percent in a month. The Home Price Index (HPI) provides a better indicator of what is happening with home prices. The HPI tracks value changes over time for well-defined benchmark homes. The value for the benchmark single-family home was at $310,900 in November. The measure has been modestly trending upwards all year, showing rare year-over-year gains over October and November.
“It’s important to remember that even in a buyer’s market sellers can be successful in realizing a sale on their home,” advises Yochim. “The most important step in selling is pricing to the current market conditions.”
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