New listings of detached houses and condominiums broke the one hundred and fifty mark for the first time this year, falling just short of two hundred, as Saskatoon home sellers offered up one hundred and ninety-six new listings to the Multiple Listing Service. While new listings came in sixty units higher on a week-over-week basis, fifty-two fewer homes were offered for sale when compared to the same week last year, which was the peak listing week for 2008. Condos saw the largest increase as the inventory grew from four hundred and eighty-six at the close of business last week to five hundred and twenty-two units today. Detached houses increased from eight hundred and sixty-five to eight hundred and ninety-three over the same period and total active residential listings broke the fifteen hundred mark for the first time this year to finish at 1,507.
Price changes doubled over last week as ninety-five Saskatoon homes sellers adjusted their MLS listing. Additionally, eleven of thirty-seven cancelled and withdrawn listings re-appeared on the system, most at a new price. At the same time, two of our three price measures showed continued upward strength while the third, the weekly average, fell about $500 from the week before. A pretty skinny gain to the six-week average selling price brought its fifth consecutive week of growth and saw it reach $277,295, it’s highest point since late February, but about 8.75% lower than it was during the same week last year. The four-week median took its fourth consecutive week of gains to finish at $270,000, its highest point for 2009, just $7,250 lower than it was last year at this time.
The average underbid was slightly higher than last week at $13,278 or roughly 4.5% of asking price. Once again, a few sellers managed an above list-selling price, but all three were new homes that may have included additional value to justify the increase. Larger underbids were certainly more common as the percentage of homes selling within $10,000 of the asking price slid back to just fifty-two percent. More commonly, that category ranges from sixty to seventy percent, so buyers did some hard grinding this week and sellers seem to have taken it.
Meanwhile, Saskatoon real estate agents continued to report that they’re “busy,” and I have to say we’ve been feeling that way too but if you want to measure performance with the true measuring stick of productivity (sales), you can clearly see that we’ve had three consecutive weeks of declining productivity. It’s true that this year’s sales line on our little graph looks a lot like last year’s, but remember, sales were actually falling off of a cliff last year at this time. May of 2008 brought us just 367 residential units sales, down from 580 the year before, and returning us to what us real estate types like to call “normal” ranges of sales. If there is the slightest bit of heat returning to this real estate market it will have to show up in next week’s numbers as pending deals move from conditional to firm. If it’s another week like this one, we’ll have a hard time putting together a month of May that is close to normal. It’s still early and the numbers could be there, but with just seventy-three firm sales so far in May, we are off to a bit of a slow start.
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