Saskatoon home buyers ease off fearing economic downturn: SRAR

A media release from The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) regarding February, 2015 residential real estate sales in Saskatoon and area.

Please note that the association’s comments often touch on “year-to-date” numbers, and some of their comments may touch on sales within the association’s full trading area. The charts that you see on these posts , as always, reflect data for activity within the city if Saskatoon on a month-to-month basis over the past five years.

Year-to-date, the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) experienced a 22 percent reduction in the number of sales along with an eight percent increase in the number of properties listed for sale. This has resulted in an overall increase in inventory levels of 13 percent. The greatest increase in inventory is within the city limits where the increase is 26 percent over 2014. The number of multi-family units is on the rise representing almost 40 percent of the Saskatoon inventory. In 2014 new housing starts for multiple units exceeded single family starts by 65 percent. Many of these units are now complete and added to the resale inventory to increase supply. The sale-to-listing ratio in Saskatoon is currently 37 percent which is the lowest level since last January.

"Stories of oversupply, slower sales, cooling economy, and bursting real estate bubble do have a psychological effect on the behaviour of consumers. To be sure there are real economic impacts as a result of low crude oil prices however speculation based on negative outlooks has an even bigger impact in my opinion," comments Jason Yochim, CEO with the SRAR. "I heard it once said that 'the economists have accurately predicted five of the last two recessions'. Two points here, firstly, no economist knows for certain what the future may hold and secondly if the media is full of speculation that an economic apocalypse is inevitable, then it is to be expected that a decrease in consumer confidence will result in reduced spending and investment in real estate," adds Yochim.

In spite of higher inventory and lower sales, the average sale price year-to-date is up three percent. The number of properties selling over $500,000 was consistent with last year’s numbers with two sales in excess of one million dollars. Home sales in all price ranges were down compared to 2014 with a notable 32 percent decrease for sales in the $450,000 to $500,000 range.

Facts worth considering are that Saskatchewan has a strong and diverse economy, people are still moving into our province and the housing needs of families change as they move through the various stages of life. Homes and condominiums will continue to be bought and sold to meet the demands of these changes. It is important to realize that housing supply and demand can vary significantly depending on area, condition and pricing compared to competing properties in the market. The largest source of market specific data is in the hands of a professional REALTOR® who can not only provide the data but also interpret it and make specific recommendations for each situation. "This is critical for a seller who wishes to sell within a certain time frame or a buyer who is interested in getting fair value for their money," Yochim comments.

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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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

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