Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market in Saskatchewan saw a significant increase in residential sales in March, compared to the same period in the past two years.
Over 1,000 homes were sold last month compared to 925 and 906 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Comparing sales and sales volume figures since a state of emergency was declared in the province on March 18, to the same period last year showed that while there was a 6.2 per cent drop in total sales and a 9.6 per cent drop in total sales volume, none of this decline affected the residential market.
Sales in Saskatoon were up 6.2 per cent, going from 258 in March 2019 to 274 in March 2020, and up 7.2 per cent in the overall region, going from 346 to 371.
In both Saskatoon and the region, sales were less than 2.0 per cent under the 5-year average while they were more than 10 per cent below the 10-year average.
Year-to-Date (YTD) sales in Saskatoon rose 8.2 per cent over last year, increasing from 668 to 723, while YTD sales in the larger region also increased 8.8 per cent, going from 891 to 969.
Sales in Regina were up 1.9 per cent, going from 210 in March 2019 to 214 in March 2020, and up 11.5 per cent in the overall region, going from 235 to 262.
In Regina, sales were approximately 2 per cent below the 5-year average and just over 9 per cent below the 10-year average, while in the region overall, sales were 3.7 per cent below their historical averages.
Year-to-date (YTD) sales in Regina fell 8.6 per cent over last year, decreasing from 525 to 480, while YTD sales in the larger region fell a more modest 3.7 per cent going from 597 to 575.
The Saskatchewan Realtors Association believes the increase could be attributed to uncertainty over what could happen if the pandemic continues and could be a good time for prospective homeowners to make a purchase.
“Interest rates are the lowest in a long time, they’ve been almost negligible, we have seen a decline in inventory level so there’s a little less to choose from so prices have been coming down in the last three or more years,” CEO Jason Yochim said.
“For a buyer that is ready to go and is qualified to buy a home, I think it’s an ideal time.”
He added that homeowners and buyers should make sure they are getting good advice from a certified realtor before selling or purchasing a home.
The association is also taking several steps to protect consumers and it’s members as they do their essential business during the pandemic.
“We have mandated that there be no open houses, whether they are realtor open houses or public open houses, for over two weeks now, we also have best practices that our members are utilizing when they do showings and we are asking people to only bring to the showing those who are essential in the decision,” Yochim said.
The Saskatchewan real estate market is expecting to see a significant decline in sales in the future while expert hope for a strong recovery once the pandemic is over.