Saskatoon real estate week in review: March 16-22, 2014

By Norm Fisher, March 22, 2014 - Saskatoon home sales pushed higher this week recording weekly gains of 23 units as local agents reported 89 firm house and condominium sales to the local MLS®. That was enough to finish ahead of the same week last year(by ten sales) for the first time in four weeks. At the same time, new listings of houses and condos slipped lower shedding seven from the numbers recorded over the previous week as Saskatoon real estate agents added 155 properties to the multiple listing service®. While down on a weekly basis, those numbers are well ahead of the number of listings for the same period a year earlier when just 123 Saskatoon homes were offered up for sale.

It will come as a surprise to nobody, I’m sure, that the total number of listings in the residential category of the Saskatoon MLS® system moved higher again. This is normal for this time of year. It’s one of those things that you could bet on and win pretty much every time. While the increase was modest, just 24 homes compared to the close of the previous week, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the totals leave us with the largest year-over-year gains we’ve seen in recent months with inventory sitting just shy of 1300 listings, up over levels recorded a year ago by 254 homes.

Saskatoon homes sales are up four percent year-to-date while listings are up about 25 percent. This is far more likely to favour buyers who are buying new homes or condos than it is for those buying a resale single-family home. See last week’s review for a more detailed explanation. Taking a closer look at the key housing categories, we see availability of condos increasing to 422 from just 302 a year ago while single-family home listings grew from 658 last year to 771 today.

The inventory situation seems to have done little to benefit buyers when it comes to prices. Again, about 90 percent of this week’s sales activity would fall into the resale category, which frankly, is fairly hot right now with limited selection in most areas of the city. With that in mind, here’s what happened. First, the median price paid for a Saskatoon home increased to $353,000 as more upper end buyers made the move to wrap up a home purchase this week. Naturally, the average price for the week moved up at the same time but fell well short of record levels for the year at $360,807.

Meanwhile, the six-week average sale price, which had been fairly stable for the past four weeks, moved ahead to $357,798 to grow by more than five thousand dollars compared to last week. It’s ahead of where it was a year ago by roughly 26K. The four-week median price also saw strong gains with a nine thousand dollar increase over last week and annual growth approaching twenty-nine thousand dollars. These are some of the largest year-over-year gains that we’ve seen in a year, a sharp contrast to December and January when these measures where actually showing annual declines. I’m feeling fairly certain  that resale buyers who have been waiting for the best buyer’s market conditions will be seeing them in the rear view mirror, at least for the next few months.

Another sign that the market may be heating up can be seen in over/under/at list numbers. Overbids had nearly fallen off the chart lately. This week there were four, up from one the week before. Not huge, but up. Those four buyers offered an average bonus of $3,200 to their respective seller. Meanwhile, 68 buyers managed to close up a purchase with an average discount of $10,265. The other 17 sales were recorded at the seller’s full asking price.

Other notable MLS® activity this week included 38 cancelled and withdrawn listings, 11 expired listings and 41 price adjustments.

Copyright Norm Fisher Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate