New year, new market? Saskatchewan's 2019 housing outlook

Saskatchewan's housing market has been in a bit of a slowdown for the past few years. The general trend in housing prices for both Saskatoon and Regina has been downward.

Market slowdown tied to economic slowdown: Realtor

Saskatoon housing prices were down in the last quarter of 2018, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey. Regina's last quarter saw housing prices stay about the same. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Saskatchewan's housing market has been in a bit of a slowdown for the last few years. The general trend in housing prices for both Saskatoon and Regina has been downward, according to a report from the Canadian Real Estate Association. 

CBC Saskatchewan spoke with realtors in Regina and Saskatoon to get a sense of what the housing market is doing now.

Saskatoon

Saskatoon housing prices were down in the last quarter of 2018, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey. 

Matt Miller, a broker/owner with Royal LePage in Saskatoon, said a big factor in the slowdown was the falling price of oil. The housing market is tied to provincial and local economies, he said. 

"The fundamentals that drive demand for real estate are population growth, job growth, income growth. So of course the provincial economy is vitally important and has a pretty big impact on it, but there's other factors as well," he said.

We are still seeing our new suburbs, houses are being built, they're being purchased.- Matt Miller

Miller said that over the last three years, the gap between supply and demand began to widen. 

"It was nothing really drastic or overnight, it was just kind of a slow change as we saw the provincial economy start to slow down around the same time."

Miller said Saskatchewan doesn't really have a boom and bust market, which he said is a good thing. He noted that despite the slowdown, Saskatoon is still growing.

"It's not that we're in this really contracting situation in terms of population," he said. 

"We are still seeing our new suburbs, houses are being built, they're being purchased."

Regina

Regina's last quarter saw housing prices stay about the same, according to Royal LePage data.

Federal mortgage rules and interest rates were changed recently to try to cool markets in Toronto and Vancouver. All three Realtors CBC spoke with agreed that these new rules had an impact on markets in Saskatchewan as well.

Rob Reynar, with the Association of Regina Realtors, said the rules are forcing some people to leave the market altogether. 

"These mortgage stress test rules have really weakened demand, not just locally, but right across the country in many markets that did not need weakened demand," he said.

"It forces sellers to adjust and they need to lower their price in order to actually make a move."

Mike Duggleby, broker and manager at Royal LePage Regina, agreed that the federal rules  had an adverse impact in Saskatchewan.

"When Toronto and Vancouver catch a cold, we're the ones who get the medicine it seems," Duggleby said.

Duggleby also said that house construction has slowed down and expects that to continue into the early part of 2019.

Takeaways

  • It is a buyer's market right now in both cities.

  • Duggleby said he thinks we are near the end of this part of the cycle, meaning a climb up from the downturn is likely on its way.

  • Miller cited the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in saying that Saskatoon should be expecting an upswing over the next two years as well.

About the Author

Emily Pasiuk

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatchewan and an associate producer for The Morning Edition. She has also reported at CTV Saskatoon and written for Global Regina. Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

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