Across the province, year-over-year sales were down nearly 14% from May of last year (nearly 13% year-to-date), new listings were down almost 20% (both year-over-year and year-to-date), and the median sale price was down 5.7% (down 2.2% year-to-date). Despite this negative performance, and considering a pandemic that has led to a global recession, Saskatchewan’s real estate market is performing quite well and will likely get better as the province continues to re-open.

New listings and sales closely tracked last year’s numbers until the province declared a state of emergency in midMarch. Based on previous epidemics and the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the outbreak, “we expected transactions to fall dramatically in April,” said SRA CEO Jason Yochim. “But we also expect transactions to return to normal levels once restrictions are lifted,” and we see that happening with new listings and sales up significantly from where they were this April.

And while sales prices have fallen (also consistent with evidence from previous pandemics), part of this decline is related to the higher levels of inventory due to reduced sales which, combined with weaker demand due to COVID restrictions, puts downward pressure on prices. As pent-up demand subsides and people begin to buy again, we should expect to see prices begin to return to normal as well.

Saskatchewan’s market strength calls into question CMHC’s recent projections about the province’s real estate market, and CMHC’s Housing Market Outlook ignores the local nature of real estate. For instance, Saskatoon and Regina account for over 50% of the sales in the province, and these two markets alone can have a significant impact on the province’s overall performance. In addition, even at the height of the province’s state of emergency, year-to-date (YTD) sales in North Battleford, Estevan, and Yorkton were up more than 10% from last year, and YTD prices in several markets were also up.

“I hear more frequently that our members are receiving multiple offers”. So while the real estate sector in the province has been hit by COVID and continues to feel its effects, the outlook isn’t nearly as grim as some are making it out to be, and we’re already starting to see signs of recovery going into summer. “As the province continues to open up and our members take action to protect public safety,” says Yochim, “I expect markets to make a strong recovery.”

Saskatoon Sales in Saskatoon were down 22.7%, going from 422 in May 2019 to 326 in May 2020, and down 14.0% in the overall region, going from 515 to 443. In Saskatoon, sales were 15.5% below the 5-year average (and 21.6% below the 10-year average), while in the larger region, sales were 14.3% below the 5-year average (and 22.3% below the 10-year average). Year-to-Date (YTD) sales in Saskatoon fell 14.2% over last year, decreasing from 1,470 to 1,261, while YTD sales in the larger region fell 10.8%, going from 1,843 to 1,644.

Sales volume was down 16.7% in the city, going from $140.6M to $117.1M in 2020 (12.4% below the 5-year average, and 18.7% below the 10-year average). YTD sales volume in the city was $429.3M, a decrease of 11.2% from last year. In the region, sales volume was down 9.1%, going from $578.0M to $525.6M (13.8% below the 5year average and 21.7% below the 10-year average). YTD sales volume decreased 9.1% in the region, falling from $578.0M in 2019 to $525.6M in 2020.

In Saskatoon, the number of new listings in May 2020 fell 17.0%, going from 911 to 756 (18.1% below the 5-year average and 16.2% below the 10-year average), while in the region, new listings fell 14.2% from 1,253 last year to 1,075 this year (19.7% below the 5-year average and 19.1% below the 10-year average). YTD new listings in the city fell 15.6%, going from 3,420 to 2,885, while in the larger region, the number of new listings to date fell 17.4%, going from 4,735 to 3,913. Active listings fell 20.1% in Saskatoon (down from 1,944 to 1,553) and fell 21.2% in the region (down from 3,254 to 2,564).

Inventory in Saskatoon stood at 5 (which is 3.4% above the level last year and 7.8% below the 5-year average), while the sales to listing ratio was 43.1%, suggesting balanced market conditions. Inventory in the larger region stood at 6 (which is 8.4% below the level last year and 11.4% below the 5-year average), while the sales to listing ratio was 41.2%, suggesting balanced market conditions.

Homes in Saskatoon stayed on the market an average of 48 days in May—up 2.1% from 47 days last year (and above the 5-year average of 46 days and above the 10-year average of 40 days). Homes in the region stayed on the market longer than homes in the city at 60 days on average in 2020, but also up from an average of 54 days last year (and 11.1% above the 5-year average).

Median home prices in Saskatoon went from $326,000 to $338,000 (an increase of 3.7%) and were approximately 1.7% above the 5-year and 1.9% above the 10-year average median price. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI)—a more accurate measure of house price trends—is up 2.2% from $303,400 to $306,500. Year-to-date, the median home price in Saskatoon was $326,250 which is 1.0% above the $323,120 price from the same time last year.

Median home prices in the region went from $312,500 to $307,000 (a decrease of 1.8%) and were approximately 1.8% below the 5-year and 1.9% below the 10-year average median price. Year-to-date, the median home price in the region was $305,700 which is 2.1% above the $299,280 price from the same time last year.

~ June 2020 SRA News Release

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