Courtesy: Star Phoenix
Saskatoon's real estate market is experiencing steady growth this year, fed by stable prices.
"The first quarter has been excellent, pretty much a followup from 2009," said Harry Janzen, executive director of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors (SRAR), which issues a monthly report on the local real estate market.
"The average price has been very stable for a considerable period of time," he said, adding that gives confidence to people entering the market.
After the heated market in 2008, which brought high prices and an increase in the number of people looking to sell, 2009 saw a cooling down period as the excess stock pulled prices down. Prices have been steadily rising since then.
"The problem that we had going into 2009 is that we had way too much inventory and it took the better part of the year to move it," said Janzen. "When you have an excess in property, there is a downward pressure. We expected that our average sale price would drop slightly. Our inventory levels are much more balanced now."
The SRAR says the average residential selling price in March was $282,615, up six per cent from March 2009.
The highest number of sales this year to date have taken place in the $300,000 to $350,000 range.
Besides consistent prices during the last year, there are a number of other factors that have contributed to the growth in sales, Janzen said.
"In terms of job creation and population growth, we certainly lead the nation," he said.
This makes Saskatoon a more desirable destination for migration from both in and out of province, and internationally, said Janzen.
Some first-time buyers, however, may have a harder time qualifying for a mortgage, due to slightly higher interest rates.
In centres surrounding Saskatoon, unit sales were up 49 per cent in March with 97 properties selling compared to March 2009, when 65 units were sold. The average selling price in these areas was $260,054, up 16 per cent from March 2009.