Saskatoon real estate: Week in review (April 20-24 2009)

Saskatoon real estate: Week in review (April 20-24 2009)
New listing activity of houses and condos picked up this week as Saskatoon real estate agents listed one hundred and thirty-two homes including eighty-one single-family detached houses and fifty-one condominiums on the multiple listing service. That number represents a gain of eighteen units over the previous week but falls far short of the two hundred and four properties offered for sale during the same week last year. Total active listing gained some traction finishing the week at 1,472 and picking up twenty-eight units over last week, thanks in part to a new downtown condo conversionoffered for sale, which added twenty units to the database. This morning, there are eight hundred and eighty-eight single-family homes and four hundred and ninety-two condos displaying an “active listing” flag.

Saskatoon condominium and house sales continued to show some strength falling short of last week’s number by just three properties for a total of eighty-eight sales. Unit sales did close below the one hundred and seventeen units sold during the same week last year when the highest number of sales for any week during 2008 was recorded but still came in well above the average compared to recent weeks. Total unit sales for April (in the entire residential category) finished the week at two hundred and eighty-one, leaving little doubt that we’ll fall short of last April’sfour hundred and eighteen units, but positioning the Saskatoon real estate market within a realistic striking distance of the five-year April average of three hundred and fifty-nine homes.

Prices continued to strengthen marginally as the average sale price for the week moved up nearly $20K over the week before to $285,456. The weekly median grew far less but finished up $3,400 over last week. Three consecutive weeks of gains saw the six-week average up by just $1,600 for the week but finishing down nearly $27,000 from $301,000 on a year-over-year basis. The four-week median recovered the $3,500 that it lost last week to continue its sticky position in the $260,000 range. Still, that number is $26,450 below the number attained during the same week last year. Last week, the six-week average and the four-week median were down $30K and $35K respectively on a year-over-year basis.

The average underbid for the week grew to $12,029 from $10,376 last week, but higher prices caused the average discount, as a percentage of list price, to slip just slightly from 3.8% to 3.7%. The percentage of sellers making a deal within $5,000 of their asking price remained steady at thirty percent while the $5,001-$10,000 category fell to thirty-one percent from forty the week before. That entire nine point change found its way to the highest discount categories with the $15,001-$20,000 category growing from nine to fifteen percent and the discounts over $25K category swelling from two percent last week to seven percent this week.

I expect that we’ll continue to see fairly strong activity over the next few weeks. My colleague Lyndon Neher, who does most of the buyer representation for our team, has been run off of his feet over the past few weeks. We are working with nearly two-dozen active buyers and he’s been out with more than half of them this week alone. Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of them come from out of town locations as close as Wadena and Regina, and some are coming from farther away places like Calgary, Spokane, Minnesota, and believe it or not, New York. All of them are serious about buying. A few did that this week and the others will likely do it soon.

Pamela, our powerhouse assistant extraordinaire has arranged over 100 showing appointments over the course of the week and we’re hearing, “sorry, that one is conditionally sold” on a fairly regular basis. Most of the strength appears to be in single-family homes priced below $300K but there is a heightened level of activity across the various market segments. Condos are even showing one hundred and twelve firm sales over the past thirty days. That’s double the number sold in any of the last eight months, and the highest level of volume for any thirty-day period since April of last year.

Clearly, some agents are feeling strongly that the good times are about to roll and there’s a certain cockiness that’s already evident from a few camps. In some cases, offers that should be treated with a measure of respect are met with an arrogant scoff, or flat out rejected without any consideration at all. One offer, written yesterday, about five percent below the list price was repelled even though our buyer indicated that she was prepared to negotiate. I’m told that the seller’s agent actually said he hopes our buyer goes elsewhere. This in spite of the fact that the listing is longer than thirty days on the market, in a neighborhood with sixty-five listings above $300K and a mere seven sales in the same price range over the past month. We humans are funny beings with unbelievably short memories. We will find a home for our buyer. Hopefully this seller can find a buyer for their home.

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 @Norm_Fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra


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