Saskatoon

Increased condo sales leading Saskatoon towards balanced market, realtor says

A Saskatoon realtor says the city's housing market is showing signs of recovery.

Royal LePage says home sales have increased 7 per cent from last year, leading to stable market

A Saskatoon realtor says the city's housing market is showing signs of recovery. (Graeme Roy/Canadian Press)

A Saskatoon realtor says the city's housing market is showing signs of recovery.

On Thursday, Royal LePage released its national third-quarter home price report. While the aggregate price of a home in Saskatoon decreased slightly from last year, realtor Norm Fisher said there are signs the market is stabilizing.

"We do see demand growing and supply falling, and that is leading us toward more balanced market conditions," said Fisher. 

According to the realtor's numbers, home sales in the city have increased by seven per cent from the same time last year.

One of the major factors behind this, said Fisher, is a spike in condo sales. He said a market downturn that started in 2014 can be directly tied to around 1,000 condo units that hit the market but didn't sell.

This year, there are 204 multi-family condos on the market, down 43 per cent from a year ago.

"It's taken us quite some time to to work through that inventory but we really have," he said.

He said the interest in condo sales was fuelled by a couple of factors, including a notable drop in prices.

"They have come down 25 to 30 per cent since since this downturn began," he said. "Buyers are looking at the prices on these units and thinking, 'Hey, you know what? It actually makes sense for me to buy now as opposed to rent.'" 

Fisher said construction of new homes is down in the city, and said the decision to apply provincial sales tax to new construction projects is at least partially to blame.

"Between GST and PST, there's commonly $40,000 in sales taxes on a new home," he said. "That in turn led to lessened demand and lots of layoffs and in construction that further affected the economy."

Fisher said homes valued at more than $700,000 are the most difficult to sell on the market right now. However, Fisher said that number can fluctuate widely.