Courtsesy: Star Phoenix
A drop in the number of homes sold in the city last month is part of a seasonal real estate cycle, the executive officer of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors (SRAR) said Tuesday.
"It's not really that uncommon," Harry Janzen said of the drop in home sales in July. "The buying cycles are more of a lot of activity in spring because people want to actually have made the purchase so the possession of their new home or new existing home can take place over July and August."
SRAR figures show 357 homes sold in the city last month, an 18 per cent drop from July 2009 when 438 homes were purchased.
Sales also dropped in surrounding areas such as Warman, Martensville, Clavet and Dundurn, SRAR reported. Bedroom communities saw sales fall 34 per cent to 71 home sales in July from 108 during the same month last year.
While sales dropped last month, the amount people paid for the homes that were purchased increased. The average selling price for a home in the city rose two per cent to $289,715 in July from $283,531 in July 2009, said SRAR, while in outlying areas purchase prices rose to $284,158 in July -- up 12 per cent from $254,123 during the same month last year.
Janzen said the average purchase price for homes in the region rose thanks to increased interest in houses in the $300,000 to $350,000 range. Many people are moving up to pricier houses from starter homes and the city is still seeing an influx of new residents who are buying houses priced within that popular range.
"We haven't had very much fluctuation at all in the market right throughout 2010," Janzen said. "We always look at the activity range of homes that are selling and we're still seeing strong activity in that $300,000 to $350,000 price range, so it's very consistent again year-to-date as well as also for the month of July."
Meanwhile, the number of homes listed on the market is dropping. Realtors listed 550 properties in July, a seven per cent drop from July 2009's 594 listings.
SRAR says 1,334 homes were on the market at the end of July, down from the 1,412 homes listed for sale in the region at the end of June. Year-to-date listings, it added, are on par with last year at 4,389.
Janzen said the drop in listings means a more balanced market for buyers.
"They've been slowly moving through the system and we're starting to see a more normal balance again. We have more properties on the market than what we typically would have, but we're seeing that trend taking place," he said.
Janzen expects home sales in August to be much the same as July.
"As we move through the cycle, I think July and August this year are going to be kind of typical," he said.