Association of Regina Realtors' Gord Archibald said growth in listings appears to be levelling off.
Photograph by: Bryan Schlosser , Regina Leader-Post
The real estate market remained cool in August as the number of homes sold and average selling prices in the Regina area were both down from the same period last year, but listings were at near-record highs, according to the Association of Regina Realtors' monthly sales report released Wednesday.
Last month, 348 home sales were reported in the Regina area (including bedroom communities), down eight per cent from 379 reported in 2013. This was below the five-year average of 365, but above the 10-year average of 336, the report said. However, the number of sales inside the city proper was down 14 per cent at 263, compared with 307 for the same period last year. This was the lowest number of sales in the city since 2008 when 217 homes were sold.
The average sale price in the city was $320,706, down one per cent from $324,055 in August 2013, while the average sale price in the Regina area for the month was $294,338, a five per cent decrease from $308,551 for the same period last year.
For August, the Home Price Index (HPI) - a much more accurate measure of housing price trends than average price - reported a composite benchmark price of $299,600, down 2.4 per cent from last year's level of $307,000. The association noted a variance of over $20,000 between the average price in the city and the HPI composite benchmark price.
"This is entirely attributable by the skewing effect on the average price of a shift to a larger proportion of higher-priced homes selling," the association said. "This indicates that residential property values have actually declined in Regina over the past year."
Total dollar volume of sales in the Regina area in August was $102.4 million, down 12 per cent from $116.9 million in August 2013. Dollar volume in the city was also down yearover-year - $84.3 million in sales in 2014, a decrease of 15 per cent from last year's $99.5 million.
While sales and prices were down in August, listings were up, way up. At the end of the month, 1,433 properties were listed for sale compared to 1,039 in August 2013 and 644 in August 2012, increases of 38 per cent and 223 per cent respectively.
"Inventory levels have been in the 1,400-plus range for the past three months - the highest in over 20 years," the association said. By comparison, during the past five years, there are typically between 650 and 1,000 listings on the market in the city at this time of year.
"The real story of the market is the number of listings in the city being at a 20-year-plus high," said Gord Archibald, executive officer of the association. "This has caused a decrease in selling prices, sellers receiving a lower percentage of asking price and a much longer time period for homes to sell."
Archibald noted the growth in listings appears to be levelling off, with only a three per cent increase in new listings in August. "The big question at this point is how long it will take for (the listings) to be absorbed by demand?"