2017 was slowest year for Regina home sales in a decade, says realtors association

In December, houses for sale were on the market for an average of 64 days and prices were down four per cent on average in 2017.

Last year was a buyer's market for those looking for a home in the Regina area

In 2017 the fewest number of Regina and area homes were sold since 2006. (Craig Edwards/CBC)

In 2017, the lowest number of homes in a decade were sold in Regina and the average price of a home dropped, according to the Association of Regina Realtors.

Across the board, there were 3,271 homes sold which were listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system. That's down four per cent from 2016. 

"2017 was the slowest year we've had in the last 10 years," said Gord Archibald, CEO of the Association of Regina Realtors.

"We had lower sales, higher inventory and we had some price loss taking place as well."

At the end of the year, there was a decades-high number of unsold listings on the MLS system, according to the report. 

Buyer's market

But Archibald said that it's not all bad news, especially if you were looking to buy a home last year. Considering the glut of real estate and the dropping prices — on average down four per cent to $282,900 in 2017 from $294,600 in 2016 — it was a good year to buy.

"They're in a pretty good bartering position and have a lot of choices to the type of home they're looking for, or even where they would prefer to live."

Justus Smith, a realtor with Remax Crown Real Estate in Regina, said Regina's oversupply of housing and especially new construction made the rental market more attractive while driving down prices.

"If we continue to have more and more new construction that adds to the supply, that's going to drive prices down. But if we keep supply in line with demand then I think prices will be stable."

In 2017 new developments and construction contributed to the glut in the housing market. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC)

Smith said for those who bought a home during the last four to five years, if they were to have sold it in 2017 chances are it would have been at a loss. 

During the month of December, a house for sale was on the market for an average of 64 days, according to the report. Smith said that in 2017 it was not uncommon for some homes or condos to be listed for six to nine months.

When possible, Smith said patience was important, but that can be pricey. 

"It gets expensive to be patient. Especially if it's vacant and you're paying those condo fees every month, and the mortgage and insurance — it all adds up, " said Smith. 

Both Archibald and Smith attribute the slower sales last year to a general downturn in the economy. 

"We saw lower levels of economic growth as well as job growth and population growth and all of those are very, very important factors as far as the market is concerned," said Archibald.