Licensed in 1993, Norm brings a wealth of experience to TeamFisher. He has worked in every imaginable capacity including sales agent, office manager, team leader, broker and now, broker/owner. Norm has written a weekly review of the Saskatoon real estate market for more than 650 consecutive weeks which may make him the most consistent industry blogger in the world.
Norm is known for his passion for technology and can most often be found exploring and experimenting with the next big thing in real estate marketing. He was the first Saskatoon real estate agent to promote a home online and has been an early adopter of new technologies ever since. “Everything about this business has changed over the past 20 years, and it will happen again in the next ten. An open mind and a curious attitude are all that’s needed to continue to find new ways to serve our clients by delivering a faster, smoother, worry-free transaction,” says Norm.
In his spare time, Norm enjoys Crossfit and cycling, some years accumulating over 2,000 kilometres on the road. He’s a strong supporter of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and enjoys raising funds by joining fun, fitness-related initiatives like the Grouse Grind for Shelter. In 2015, he trekked the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu. In 2017 he walked the southern highlands of Iceland across mountains, sand, snow, ice, lava fields and forest for seven days. Collectively those initiatives raised over a million dollars for Canadian women's shelters.
A media release from the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® with an overview of residential MLS® sales and listing activity follows.
Home sales in January brought cause for optimism for the year ahead with a six percent increase, year-over-year. Sales of 185 units represented the highest volume January since 2014. The five-year average for the month is 195 sales. "An increase in sales in a typically quiet month is very encouraging," comments Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®, "especially in the wake of the tougher mortgage qualifications introduced last October."
Another positive indicator is the number of homes available for sale. At the end of January, there was a total of 1,592 homes for sale in the Saskatoon market, representing the second lowest monthly total in almost two years. The lowest inventory level was December of 2016 with a total of 1,443 properties on the market.
At current inventory levels, anticipating no increase in demand, and no new properties listed for sale, it would take over eight months to liquidate the current inventory of properties. The five-year average for available inventory in the Saskatoon market is just under five months. The "sales to listing ratio" is an indicator of whether we are in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. It is determined by dividing the number of sales by the number of new listings for a period of time. When this ratio is at 50 percent, the market is considered balanced. The last couple of years has favored buyers in the marketplace with the average sales to listing ratio being 40 percent. January typically has an uptick in listing activity and quieter sales activity which is reflected in this year’s sales to listing ratio of 26 percent. The five-year average for the month of January is 30 percent.
Homes priced below $400,000 saw a much-needed increase in activity compared to last January with 143 sales between $200,000 and $400,000, a 20 percent increase, year-over-year. The average sale price for January of $341,800 represented a four percent decline compared to last year. In 2016, a steady number of sales over $750,000 kept the average price stable in spite of a five percent decline in total sales. This emphasizes that using an average to determine the true market picture is easily misleading. The median price for last month was $318,500 which was the lowest median price in almost five years. A more reliable indicator of the market is the MLS® Home Price Index® (HPI). It is considered to be the most accurate determinant of where a real estate market is trending. The HPI composite benchmark price has also been trending downward, although very slightly for several months.
In January, it took 54 days, on average, to sell a home in Saskatoon which is consistent with the five-year average of 51 days. This compares to 45 days which is the average market time over the past five years. "In any market, a home that is priced to current market conditions should sell in even less time, often within a week or two," comments Yochim. "Buyers are well educated on the market and are not fooled by optimistic sellers. However, they are willing to pay the market price for the right home in any market. For homes that are selling, the sale prices are being realized within 97 percent of the asking price."
"The best advice I can give a seller in any market is to get professional advice when dealing with your largest asset," adds Yochim.
For further information, please contact:
Jason Yochim CAE, CRAE
Chief Executive Officer - Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®