The first quarter stats are in. After trending close to 2017 demand for January and February, a downturn in March has resulted in an 11% reduction for Saskatoon homes sales for the quarter. Overall, March was down 23% for unit sales. This is one of the largest monthly declines we have seen since our peak in 2014. There could be several factors contributing to this. Since the growth of the Saskatchewan economy started to slow in 2015, we have seen a gradual but consistent decrease in demand for homes in Saskatoon for the past few years.
In addition, the federal government has tightened borrowing rules in an attempt to curb demand in Canada’s hot housing markets, namely Vancouver and Toronto. The problem with this approach is since the changes are applied nationally, they also reduce demand in the slower markets, like Saskatoon. It’s our view, that there is not a “national” housing market, but hundreds of local markets. So, making changes at a national level is not appropriate, and artificially reduces demand in markets like ours. It seems Saskatoon is suffering some collateral damage from federal government policy.
We predict that March is a bit of an anomaly, and while we still have a challenging market, we should not see numbers quite this drastic for the balance of the year. Saskatoon does remain a buyer’s market, with a sales to listing of 35% and the average days on market are 64. Average inventories for the quarter were 1,807, units compared to 2,813 for 2017. This tightening of available houses for sale is generally a positive for sellers, as there are fewer homes to compete with than last year. The median home price did trend up for March, which is typical for this time of year. The average home price for the quarter was $333,826, which represents a decline of 2%, ytd.
We are excited to be getting into the Spring market, and it’s important to remember that even though demand has slowed, properly priced houses will sell. It’s more important than ever to ensure your home shows well and is marketed properly.
If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in Saskatoon, please contact our Realtor® on duty, or Matt Miller, Broker (firstname.lastname@example.org, 306-260-4720).