HOUSING ACTIVITY STABLE CONSIDERING ECONOMIC FACTORS
Prior to January of 2015, the Saskatoon real estate market experienced months of positive sales activity year over year. January 2015 recorded a 21% decrease in sales activity year over year. With the exception of July, which experienced a 6% year over year increase, every month last year averaged a 14% decrease over 2014. In December of 2015, the year over year decrease was only 8%. Although this number is still on the negative side of the ledger it was an improvement over the average for the year. Inventory levels have also been reduced to just over 1600 units, 13% lower than the monthly average for 2015.
At the end of 2014 the market was perfectly balanced with a sales-to-listing ratio of 50%. Comparatively, at the end of last year the market had shifted to a buyers' market with a ratio of 40%. This ratio is determined by dividing the number of sales for the year by the number of new listings. Overall, the 9,750 homes listed for sale in 2015 was an 8% increase over the previous year. Over the same period however, there was a 13% reduction in units and sales volume.
The average price continued to hold fairly steady at $354,000 representing a 1% reduction from the previous year. The median price for 2015 ended up at $342,750. Last year all price ranges showed a decline in sales over 2014 with the exception of homes selling between $650,000 and $700,000. Homes in this price range rose by 4% year over year with a total of 56 units.
The steady decline in the CREA HPI (Home Price Index) composite benchmark price for the Saskatoon market continued in December and will likely do so until at least the second quarter of 2016. The current benchmark value of $304,500 is the lowest point since May of 2013. In January of 2002, when the benchmark value was established, it was set at $114,000. The greatest increase in the benchmark price was when it climbed from $139,000 in January of 2006 to $303,000 by June of 2008. The CREA HPI is the most accurate indicator of the current real estate market.
"Amidst the difficult economic conditions nationally and globally, the Saskatoon real estate market is weathering the storm fairly well compared to other western markets." Comments Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®, "however, until the economy strengthens, activity increases and inventory levels decline, sellers will need to be sensitive when pricing their homes for a successful sale." He cautions.