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Housing sales down over 50% in Saskatchewan due to coronavirus pandemic

The Saskatchewan Realtors Association said sales are off over 50 per cent in April from a year ago, but it expects to emerge with only a “few cuts and scrapes.”.
The Saskatchewan Realtors Association said sales are off over 50 per cent in April from a year ago, but it expects to emerge with only a “few cuts and scrapes.”. Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

The organization representing realtors in Saskatchewan says the industry has performed well despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Saskatchewan Realtors Association (SRA) said sales are down almost 54 per cent in April from a year ago, but the drop in sales is less than originally anticipated.

READ MORE: Despite affordability, Saskatoon millennials still shut out of housing market

“The real estate industry in Saskatchewan is listed as an allowable service and will likely emerge from this shutdown with only a few cuts and scrapes,” said SRA CEO Jason Yochim.

“We know many other industries and people in our province have not been so lucky and we appreciate that government enabled us to conduct essential business during these difficult times.”

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While prices are expected to drop due to a decrease in demand, Yochim said it will likely be offset by both a decline in inventory and new listings coming to the market.

He expects the market to rebound.

“Spring is typically the busiest time for home sales, and I expect that the sales that will not occur during this pandemic will be recovered once the province has opened up again,” Yochim said.

“I fully expect a strong recovery for the real estate market later this year.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan real estate market records highest residential sales in 2 years

The SRA said it took all necessary precautions to protect the public, including cancelling opening houses, and developed virtual resources to allow it to continue to operate.

The organization said that as the province reopens the economy in phases, it will release information on how practices like open houses can resume.

Yochim said a return to normalcy in the marketplace will also support the economic recovery in the province.

“The number of employment opportunities and essential economic activities that are created when a home is bought or sold is significant,” Yochim said.

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“These are typically blue-collar jobs and trades, and as restrictions lift and the real estate sector gets back to normal, we are confident this industry will help to grow the economy and offset some of the losses the pandemic has produced.”

The SRA estimates the purchase of a home generates roughly $54,000 in spinoff activity.

That includes over $36,000 on renovations and professional services, $9,400 on furniture and appliances, $4,500 on general household items and $2,000 in moving costs.