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How to Make Your House Smell Great for Showings

Essential Oil Diffuser

Give your prospective buyers extra incentive to purchase your house by making it smell like a home they can see themselves in.

Smell is one of our most important senses. Psychologically speaking, it’s the sense that is most closely linked with memory, meaning that good smells can evoke happy memories and experiences while bad smells can do just the opposite. Smell is also highly emotive; different fragrances can convey a vast array of emotions and feelings. So, it’s no surprise that smell can come into play when you’re trying to sell your home.

There’s a reason why real estate agents always think about the best scent for home staging before a showing. A house that smells like freshly baked cookies can evoke a warm and homey feeling while a refreshing and clean smelling house can evoke feelings of potential and new opportunities.

The question is what scent sells a house and what can you do to ensure that you create a wonderful smelling home for potential buyers?

Use Baking Soda

First and foremost, you want to get rid of any current smells in your home. Baking soda, when spread on your carpets and soda, can help remove tough smells and leave you with a neutral pallet. All you have to do is let the baking soda sit for 10-15 minutes before vacuuming it up. It even works great in trashcans, sinks, toilets, and more.

Take Advantage of Your Stove

The best way to make your house smell good is to use your stove. All you need is a pot of boiling water, and then you can make your own essential oils for selling your house with the right spices.

 During the winter, we recommend using spicy and warm flavors such as cinnamon and/or cloves, which evoke a sense of the holidays. During the spring and summer, you can use lemon or orange rind for a fresh citrus scent instead. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but make sure you try out each scent before your open house.

Add Plants

Not only do plants add life to a home, but the right plants can also release wonderful fragrances that are highly compelling. When it comes to plants, the best scent for home staging includes some type of flowers such as roses, eucalyptus, rosemary, or lavender. The key is to choose plants that have a universally appealing smell and to make sure they’re always well groomed and lively.

Diffuse Essential Oils

If you don’t want to use your stove to make your own essential oils for selling your house, you can diffuse bottled essential oils instead. All you need to do is purchase an affordable diffuser, add a few drops of essential oil, and run it for a few hours before your open house. Just make sure you use the right oils.

Avoid using strong scents that can have a polarizing effect such as patchouli, sandalwood, or ylang-ylang. Instead, go with relaxing and simple scents such as lavender, grapefruit, rose, or bergamot. These smells evoke the atmosphere of a luxury spa.

Give your prospective buyers extra incentive to purchase your house by making it smell like a home they can see themselves in. Your goal is to make every guest feel like they belong. Just be sure you use scents that evoke only the best memories and feelings. It can be the added factor you need to make the sell. For more tips on selling your home, contact a real estate agent in your area.

~ J

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Creative Ways to Hide “Blemishes” in your Home

A Stylish Room with Blue Walls

What makes a house a home? It’s a hard question to answer, but a large part of it is the years of memories you’ve made in it. Oftentimes that includes the blemishes, flaws and dents on the walls and furniture that serve as lasting impressions of cherished moments and fun times. However, whether you’re selling your home or just making it presentable for guests, there are times you’ll want to camouflage them up.

CREATE A GALLERY WALL

Put your inner art connoisseur to work to blend random light switches or bulky thermostats into your design. Strategically place similarly sized artwork around switch plates, outlet covers and wall gadgets to distract the eye. If you want to cover it entirely, mount a canvas painting over it or hang art from a swing arm so you can reach behind it when necessary.

HANG LONG DRAPES

Window treatments are generally used for, you guessed it, windows, but they certainly aren’t restricted to other uses. Drape big and breezy curtains above to disguise unsightly wall features or awkward off-center windows. Off-white and cream shades are perfect to use all year round.

PAINT THE WALL

This is probably one of the most obvious solutions to drywall chips and paint scratches, but here are some guidelines to help you get it right. Stick to one matte color for the walls, ceiling and trim to downplay the lines between and blend them together. Remember, the glossier the paint finish is, the more it will highlight imperfections.

Consider chalkboard paint for a non-glossy texture and an ever-changing wall feature. You can create your own design and erase it as your style evolves or use it to jot down lists and reminders.

Add wallpaper. Use wallpaper to inject personality and fun into any space. Choose from subtle designs to a dramatic mural or anywhere in between. Keep optical illusions in mind when picking patterns. For example, a striped design can make a small space look taller or wider.

COVER IT WITH CLOTHES

If you have a scratch on your bedroom wall that just won’t go away, play fashionista and move a shop-style clothing rack in front. Showcase some of your most stylish garments or everyday staples on the rack to lighten your closet’s load.

LAY DOWN A RUG

Roll out a gorgeous area rug over all the nicks and notches on your floor from moving furniture or dropping heavy items. Especially great for renters, rugs come in a variety of styles, colors and price points to fit your personal preferences without committing to a permanent change.

RETHINK THE FIFTH WALL

This is a bit of a heavier project to take on, but perhaps most rewarding for those left with an infamous popcorn ceiling. Upgrade overhead stucco for a beautiful new feature with paint or paneling. Try white beadboard or wood slats for irresistible rustic charm.

WORK AROUND WALL VENTS

Air vents are necessary for cooling, heating and any other home circulation systems, but can be quite unattractive. Conceal them with slotted laser-cut screens that add texture and visual interest. In this living room, the revamped air return works double duty as a display shelf.

CHOOSE YOUR SWITCHES WISELY

Light switches and power outlets are must-haves in every home and there’s often no easy way around them. Wherever possible, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, group your electrical outlets together and shop for new switch plates that complement the existing wall. You can blend them into an existing pattern, as seen here, or make them a fun feature with vibrant colors and textured materials.

Embrace imperfections. After all, they’re what makes your house so special. You can capitalize on the look and help them blend in by investing in distressed furnishings, such as rustic coffee tables or stained wood floors. You won’t have to worry too much about future drops or spills and they instantly add built-in age and character to any space.

~ J

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Spotting Foundation Issues When Buying a Home

A Couple Looking at an Older House

Buying a home is both exciting and stressful. Consider these tips about how to spot potential issues when viewing homes with your real estate agent.

Buying a home is both exciting and stressful. After all, you want to find a place that suits your living needs and is in great condition. One of the biggest concerns is that the property you purchase is structurally sound, and this often starts with the foundation. Consider these tips about how to spot potential issues when viewing homes with your real estate agent.

Watch for these warning signs
When touring homes, keep an eye out for the following signs of foundation problems. Pay extra attention if you’re looking at homes built more than a decade ago or in an area with clay soil, which is notorious for damaging foundations.

What to look for on the outside:
• Horizontal cracks in the foundation itself
• Stair-step cracking in exterior bricks
• A chimney that leans away from the house
• Gaps above windows and doors or around the garage door
• Sunken porches or stairs

What to look for on the inside:
• Cracks in the drywall
• Misaligned windows or doors that are hard to open and close
• Sloping floors or cracked tiles
• Cracks in the ceiling
• Any separation between walls and the ceiling
• Moisture in crawl spaces or the basement

What should I do if I see these warning signs?
Many buyers run for the hills when they think a home’s foundation isn’t structurally sound, but you don’t need to immediately rule out a house if you believe it has foundation problems. Take a deep breath and investigate the issues—the more you know, the better decisions you can make. Keep in mind that some situations will only require minor repairs, while others can be quite complex.

Start here to weigh the pros and cons:
• Ask the seller if they’ve had foundation repair work or an inspection done. In most cases, sellers are required by law to disclose foundation issues.
• Research the potential cost of repairs to help you determine a fair price. A wealth of information is available online—search for “foundation repair cost” to get an overview of what to expect.
• Find out if the issues will affect your financing. Often, houses with unresolved foundation problems can only be purchased with cash or a special type of mortgage.

What if a home I’d like to buy has had the foundation repaired?
Many buyers would look at this as a positive, especially if the repairs were done by a reputable contractor who offers a warranty. The best foundation repair companies offer a lifetime warranty that is transferable when the home sells. Just be sure that all the proper permits were pulled at the time of the repair and that there hasn’t been any trouble since. If the foundation has been stabilized, any remaining cosmetic issues can be resolved easily and quickly.

What if I’d like to make an offer but don’t want to end up with a nightmare on my hands?
Make sure your offer is written up with contingencies that protect you if things turn out differently than expected. A contingency will make your offer dependent on specific conditions, such as inspections or repairs. Discuss your options with your real estate agent.

Should I ask the seller to fix the foundation as part of the sale?
You can ask the seller to make the repairs, but it’s common for them to reduce the price of the home and sell it “as is.” If you aren’t up for making the repairs yourself, you may need to look for a different house. Additionally, some buyers worry that if the seller is held responsible, they will choose the most affordable option, not the most thorough one.

~J

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4 Ways to Help Make Moving with Kids Easier

Kid crawling

It’s no secret, no one likes to move and that includes your kids. Moving is one of the most stressful times in life, and it brings lots of change. For your kids, it means making new friends, and maybe, adjusting to a new school. If you have a little mover in tow, moving your home certainly adds to the baby adventures!

Here’s the good news, if you plan ahead and take simple steps, the trek through the moving process will become a walk in the park (well, maybe not, but it can be a manageable stroll up hill.) Way before you break out those cardboard boxes, use these pointers to help your kids, toddlers, and babies get through the moving process.

Here are four steps to a successful move with a young family. It’s all about: timing, transition, getting the kids involved, and an adjustment period.

Timing:

1. First, consider the timing of your move, this is probably the most important element:

  • What grades are your children in? If your eldest is about to be a senior in high school, it may be best to let them live with a trusted relative to finish up high school with their friends. If your youngest is about to start school or enter high school, this is an ideal time to move since they will be entering a new school either way. Is school on a break? Much better to time a move with kids when school’s out.
  • Babies and kids love and need their routine. Don’t let the moving to-do list and packing get in the way of your regular daily routine. Instead of pulling an all-nighter to pack, try to pack over a long period of time. Use naptime and baby’s early bedtime to get packing done in bits. Baby & parents need their sleep!

Transition:

2. Second, make the transition into the new home as easy as possible for your kids and little ones. Try these tips to make the transition a smooth one:

  • Make the new home the kids’ own. Allow them to walk through the new house before the move. Let them feel that they are part of the decision. Allow them (as much as possible) to choose their own bedroom, paint colors (“Here, let’s pick the paint color for your new room: which do you choose between these two.”), and play the imagination game with them: “Let’s imagine what this room will be like when it’s yours? Where will your stuffed animals go? Where will the bed go?” etc.
  • In the old house, talk about how their favorite toys, games, etc. are going to be in the new house too. This is not the time to clean out the closet and discard unwanted clothes and toys. You don’t want your kids associating loss with the move. If you need to de-clutter your kid’s room, do that way before the subject of the move comes up. De-cluttering is an excellent pre-move activity and really doesn’t have to involve the word “moving” at all.
  • TALK and LISTEN to your kids. Ask them what they are excited about and what things they are going to miss. Address their concerns: “What are we going to do about that? How about…”
  • During the actual moving day, when boxes and furniture are being moved, little ones should be somewhere else. Ask a trusted babysitter, friend or family member to take your kids and bundle of joy for the day. It is also ideal to use childcare for days leading up to your move so you can get more done on your moving calendar.
  • Stay connected to friends, neighbors and family back home. Arrange facetime appointments with the children’s friends before you move to the new home, it will help make the transition easier when they know they can keep in touch with their old friends. And, set up a play date for the old friends to come over for a sleep over.

Involve Your Kids:

3. There is no easier way to keep kids happy than giving them a feeling of control – get them involved!

  • Have them arrange their own room. Draw out a floor plan of the rooms in the new house and let the children make paper doll furniture and arrange what they want in their room.
  • Encourage your kids to pack themselves so they are involved in the moving process. They can have their own boxes and suitcases that they are responsible for. Give them color codes or fun stickers to stick on their boxes that belong in their room. You can oversee this. But, give them one box to pack freely with the stuff they want, it will be the first box they open in their new room.
  • Give each child a backpack to fill with overnight items so you don’t have to dig through boxes. Include their toothbrush, pjs, stuffed animal, favorite bedtime story, remember to put the children’s medications in mommy’s purse or backpack for safe keeping.
  • Pack a baby bag with all of your needs for three days. If you’re moving a long distance, you may want at least one month of supplies with you rather than on the moving truck. Once you move into your new place, you may not have easy access to diapers, baby food, pacifiers, and the all important security blanket, you’ll be happy that you know just where to look for those items.

Adjustment:

4. Last, is the adjustment to the new home and neighborhood. It’s an extremely important phase of a move; it sets the stage for your new life in your new home. Here are suggestions to make the adjustment period a great one:

  • When moving in, set up the nursery first. This will allow you to easily change your baby’s clothes and diapers. You’ll have a nice space for that first bedtime story when you put them to sleep on the first night in your new home. Arrange the nursery as closely as possible to your previous nursery. The familiarity will help you and your baby in the transition.
  • Host a party in your new neighborhood and invite children of the same age as your own kid(s) over so that they can make new friends. It’s as easy as a pool party, pizza party, or cookout. Try to host the party in the first weeks of being in your new home.
  • Take them for a drive by their new school, the local ice cream place, playground, if they have a hobby such as dancing, show them that there is a dance studio here too, so they can see their new neighborhood has all the same things as the old.
  • Set up a tour of the new school and to meet their new teacher before school starts.
  • If you move in the beginning of the summer, sign them up for camp or other local activities where they can meet new kids before school starts. It also keeps them out of the house so you can continue the unpacking!

By taking these four points into consideration, your next chapter in your new home will start out with ease – giving every member of your family time to make the new house home.

~J

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First Time Home Buyer Incentive Now Available

Five months ago the Liberal government unveiled the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a new initiative aimed at easing affordability for first-time homebuyers.

The FTHBI  officially came into effect Monday and will start providing interest-free shared-equity loans to interested buyers in the form of down payment assistance.

To recap how the program works, participants must put down at least 5% of the home’s value with their own money, while the government (through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) would contribute an additional 5% of the down payment if the purchase is of an existing home, or 10% if it’s a new build.

The buyers don’t need to make any monthly payments, though the loan must be repaid after 25 years or when the home is sold.

The CMHC also shares proportionately in any future gains or losses in home value.

Of course, there are certain restrictions:

  • The mortgage must be default insured
  • It’s only available to first-time buyers with a household income under $120,000
  • Participants must have a minimum 5% down payment
  • The mortgage amount plus incentive cannot be more than four times the participants’ annual household incomes (approx. $565,000)

Critics have pointed out that, based on the above math, buyers would qualify for less home than they could otherwise purchase by not participating in the program.

“By limiting borrowers to a purchase price of four times their income, the FTHBI program caps a first-time buyer’s maximum purchase price at about 10% less than they could otherwise afford,” mortgage expert Dave Larock wrote previously on his blog. “It seems strange to me that a program that was designed to help borrowers with affordability explicitly reduces it.”

Others have noted the program is likely to be of less value for buyers in the Greater Vancouver and Toronto regions, where finding a home for under $500,000 is a challenge, if not impossible.

homeownership

“We think it’s definitely going to have very regional application,” Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada, said previously. “In the two most expensive cities, where we would suggest first-time homebuyers need the most support, this solution is not really going to do that.”

CMHC President and CEO Evan Siddall has responded to criticism over the effectiveness of the program in these markets by saying: “No program is going to work as well in higher-priced markets. Using 2018 data, 2,300 homebuyers would have qualified in Toronto and 1,100 in Vancouver. Around 25% of home sales in Toronto in 2018 were for homes under $500K and 17% in Vancouver.”

The CMHC expects 100,000 homebuyers to participate in the program over the next three years.

Industry experts say it will be interesting to see the actual participation rate, given that a similar program launched by the B.C. government in 2016—the Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership—was cancelled due to a low participation rate.

It was expected that 42,000 B.C. homebuyers would participate over three years, though the program received just 3,000 applications.

Thank you to Steve Huebl for this article.

Please note that the FTHBI only applies to homes with a possession November 1, 2019, onwards.

~J

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4 Early Fall Home Improvement Musts

When it’s summertime, us homeowners are usually too distracted by the lure of lakes and festivals to focus on home improvement projects. By the time the fall season arrives, there’s usually a long list of things that you want to do at your home. The pressure to fix up your house can be overwhelming, so start by focusing on these four fall home improvement musts.

Give Your Rooms a Fresh Coat of Paint

When the fall season arrives, the weather gets cooler and it’s the perfect time to get some painting done. Pick out the two or three rooms in your home where you spend the most time and add a fresh coat of paint to the walls in new colors. If you have a porch that has become weathered over the summer, give it a new look with a couple of coats of exterior paint.

New Lighting Fixtures

You probably don’t pay much attention to the condition and appearance of your lighting fixtures until you start to spend more time indoors in the fall and winter. You’ll significantly improve the appearance of your home by simply changing the lighting fixtures in your living room, dining room, and bedrooms. Get slightly brighter bulbs to brighten up your rooms. Also, remember that it starts to get dark earlier in the fall, so make sure that your outdoor lights are fully functional and the bulbs are replaced to last throughout the season.

Garage or Basement Cleanup

One smart fall home improvement project to take on is a thorough garage or basement cleanup. Sweep away the grass trimmings, soil, and dirt that you may have tracked in after a long summer of yard work. Take the time to organize your tools and supplies that are in storage in boxes, drawers, and bins. Toss empty bottles and expired products. If the floor has seen better days, apply epoxy-coating — it will give your garage or basement a clean, fresh look. Also, hire someone to do a routine check of your heating system, plumbing, and other units that are located in the garage or basement before the winter. 

Apply Weather Seal or Replace Old Windows

If you have old windows in your home, apply weather seal to them to save on your energy bills. Old wooden windows often leave a crack at the bottom where cold drafts get into your house, so add adhesive weather stripping. Also, gently sand and put a fresh coat of paint on frames that look worn down. This may also be the year that you’ll want to invest in a new set of energy efficient vertical slider windows with vinyl frames to replace your old wooden ones.

~ J

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August Market Update

Active Listings Continue Decline

For the seventh straight month this year, the number of active listings in the market was down year over year. At the end of August there were 2,019 active residential listings in the city of Saskatoon, a decline of 8% from a year ago. Of the active listings, approximately 1,227 are single family while just over 780 fall under condominium ownership. The decline in active listings is largely due to a decline in homes listed year over year. To date, a total of 5,875 residential properties have been listed in Saskatoon on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), down 11% compared to the end of August last year. “In a slower market, one typically sees fewer speculative sellers than in a hot market” comments Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® “It’s important to bear in mind that homes sell in all markets. If a seller needs to sell then they must be sure to have good advice and price to the current market conditions.” adds Yochim.

In the month of August there were 329 residential sales on the MLS®. This is on par with August of 2018 and just lightly below the five year average of 352 sales for August. Year to date there have been 2,411 residential MLS® sales in Saskatoon, of these 1,751 are single family properties, unchanged compared to the first eight months of last year. On the other hand, there were 648 condominium at the end of last month, 11% fewer than last year.

Year to date residential MLS® sales between $200 – 300,000 totaled 657 transactions, down from 707 a year ago. The number of homes that sold between $350-750,000 on the MLS® year to date was also down by just over 100 sales from 1,036 transactions in 2017. So far in 2018, a total of 41 properties have sold in excess of $750,000 in Saskatoon, on par with last year.

The Home Price Index (HPI) Value for single family residential home sales in Saskatoon increased slightly from July to $312,200. The HPI measures the change in value over time for a typical single family home with a standard set of attributes. This rate of change reports similar to the Consumer Price Index and is the most accurate indicator of home pricing. The HPI value for townhouse style residences declined for the month to $225,200, down from $234,400 in July. Benchmark pricing for apartment Style condominiums continue to decline for the eighth straight month. Year-to-date, the average sale price was $334,226, a 4% decrease from the same period last year. Average prices can be misleading as outlier sales can skew the average sale value one way or the other over a short period of time. This is why the median price of HPI value is a better indicator of the market.

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July Market Update

Increase in July Home Sales

The month of July saw a significant increase of over 25% in the year-over-year Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales activity with a total of 390 unit sales in the month. This compares with 310 transactions in July of 2017. Total MLS® transactions for Saskatoon year to date was down 3.3% with 2,082 home sales compared to 2,152 to the end of July 2017. 
“Although one month does not constitute a trend, it is very encouraging to see such a significant increase in activity during a month when many buyers typically leave town on vacation” comments Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®. Other positive indicators are a decline in the number of new MLS® listings coming on to the market. 
A total of 710 new MLS® listings in July represented a decrease of 10% over last year and well below the five year average of 830 listings. Fewer new listings combined with an increase in sales reduced the number of active listings from 2,109 in June to 2,048 at the end of July. The five year average for active MLS® listings is 1,977 units. “Lower inventory levels will help move the market from a buyer’s market towards balance and stabilize home prices.” adds Yochim.

MLS® sales below $200,000 totaled 57 transactions in July, 55% higher than July of 2017, while year to date sales increased by 26% with 307 transactions. Homes that sold between $300-400,000 on the MLS® in July showed an increase of 27% over the previous July while year to date the number of sales in this price range totaled 1,229, a decline of 5%. Home sales in excess of $400,000 totaled 540 transactions year to date, a decline of 12% over the previous year.

The Home Price Index (HPI) Value for single family residential home sales in Saskatoon took a slight decrease in July of 0.1% to $315,400 compared to $315,800 at the end of June. The HPI measures the change in value over time for a typical single family home with a standard set of attributes. This rate of change reports similar to the Consumer Price Index and is the most accurate indicator of home pricing.
The HPI value for townhouse style residences continued on its upward trend, increasing by 1.2% for the month to $234,400. Year-to-date, the average sale price was $334,676, a 4.1% decrease from the same period last year. Average prices can be misleading as outlier sales can skew the average sale value one way or the other over a short period of time. This is why the median price of HPI value is a better indicator of the market.

Last month, the average home in Saskatoon took 49 days to sell in Saskatoon last month. The five year average for days to sell in the month of July is 48 days.

Thanks to Jason Yochim for this market update.

~J

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June Market Update

Residential Dollar Volume Continues to Decline

At the midway point of the year, the total dollar volume for residential MLS® sales in Saskatoon sits at $565,435,958. This is down 12% from last year and represents the lowest volume in ten years. In June of 2007 the total dollar volume for residential MLS® sales was $550,023,364. “This is a reflection of a decrease in sales volume coupled with a decrease in pricing” according to Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®. Year-to-date residential MLS® sales of 1,693 homes is down 8%. Last month there were 350 MLS® home sales, an 11% decline from last June and the lowest number for June in 10 years. The median home sale price of $316,500 is at its lowest point this year, down from $330,000 in January. The Home Price Index (HPI) Value for single family residential home sales in Saskatoon continued its slow but steady increase from February and was at $315,800 at the end of June. The HPI Value for single family residential reached its highest level in May of 2015 at $331,800. The HPI measures the change in value over time for a typical single family home with a standard set of attributes. This rate of change reports similar to the Consumer Price Index and is the most accurate indicator of home pricing. The HPI value for apartment style residences has been on a steady decline since January but appears to have levelled out at $179,100. HPI value for townhouse style residences has been trending up sharply since March and was at $231,600. For more information on HPI go to saskatoonrealtors.ca .

Year-to-date, the average sale price was $333,985, a 5% decrease from the same period last year. The highest average residential sale price for June was in 2015 at $361,719. Average prices can be misleading as outlier sales can skew the average sale value one way or the other over a short period of time. This is why the median price of HPI value is a better indicator of the market.

Inventory levels continue to be elevated with 2,109 residential properties available on the MLS® in Saskatoon at the end of June. This is just slightly above the five year average for active listings which is 1,990. The sales to listing ratio remained virtually unchanged from a year ago at 40%. The sales to listing ratio is a comparison of the number of sales for a period of time to the number of new listings. This number reflects that four out of every ten homes that hit the market end up selling. In reality this percentage is likely lower as many homeowners that do not sell will cancel their current listing and relist often at a different price. This elevates the true number of listings relative to sales. Last month, the average home in Saskatoon took 47 days to sell in Saskatoon last month, unchanged from May of this year.
Thanks to Jason Yochim for this market update.

~ J

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May Market Update

May brings buyers to Saskatoon housing market!

Sales rise 16 per cent from same month of last year

Saskatoon — A hot, dry May brought a warmer market for Saskatoon home sellers, as sales rose 16% over the same month of 2018.

City sales came in at 422 units, up from 363 last May and 420 the year before, the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR) reported Monday. Sales are also up 10% year-to-date at 1,469, up from 1,342 and 1,450 in the last two years.

“Sales have rebounded significantly this year, in large part due to an increase in condo sales,” said Jason Yochim, CEO of SRAR. “Condo sales are up almost 21 per cent over a year ago. Prices have been coming down, and they are very affordable compared to most housing types.”

Year-to-date, 449 condos have sold, as compared to 372 last year. Over the same period, single family home sales rose 6% to 1,292, up from 1,215 last year. In May, single family home sales were up 13% from last May.

As sales rose, unit listings fell 3% to 911 in May, down from 942 in 2018 and 1,031 the previous year. Year-to-date listings are also down 3%; so far, 3,422 homes have been listed to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as compared to 3,536 last year and 4,055 in 2017.

The higher sales resulted in a 17% dollar volume increase over last May to $140.7 million, up from $120.5 million. That’s despite a 2% drop in the average selling price, which fell to $329,595 from $334,651.

“I suspect first-time home buyers have been very active this spring based on the condo sales,” Yochim said. “When lower-priced homes sell, it has a downward effect on the average price.”

In Saskatoon and region, including communities such as Warman, Martensville and Dalmeny, sales rose 14 per cent in May to a three-year high of 561 units. Listings fell seven per cent to 1,386, down from 1,485 and 1,553 in the previous two years. Dollar volume rose 12 per cent to $181.3 million from $162.3 million last year.

In the surrounding region excluding the city, dollar volume was down 13 per cent to $31.5 million from $36.3 million. Listings fell 20 per cent to 317, after two years at about 390, and sales rose eight per cent to 113, up from 105 last May. The average selling price fell 19 per cent, however, to $279,095, after posting $346,130 last May.

Year-to-date, the surrounding region has seen a 3% decrease in dollar volume at $120 million; a 3% drop in listings, to 1,344; and unit sales of 421, up 9% from last year.

As of the end of May, buyers had 3,164 listings to choose from in Saskatoon and area, unchanged from last year. Of those, 1,938 are in the city proper (down from 2,001 last May) and 1,126 are in surrounding towns and regions (down from last year’s 1,164).

“We’re finally seeing some stabilization in the housing market, which has been in buyers’ market territory for some time due to oversupply and lower consumer confidence,” Yochim said. “The sales to listing ratio was 46 per cent in May, which is approaching a balanced market.”

Thanks to Jason Yochim for his analysis,

~J