Saskatchewan home sales surge to ‘near-record levels’ in June

Saskatchewan home sales surge to ‘near-record levels’ in June
WATCH: One realtor said the volume of home sales has led to the first seller's market he's seen in years.

New Saskatchewan real estate market data shows that while home prices have remained relatively flat during the COVID-19 pandemic, sales volume surged in June.

“There seems to be a lot of excitement among buyers right now. This last quarter, in particular, we’ve seen some dramatic acceleration of sales as far as multiple offers being seen on reasonably priced properties,” Royal LePage Regina Realty managing partner Mike Duggleby said.

“April there was a significant decrease in sales — 45 per cent province-wide. From there, May and June have been very strong months. June, in particular, was close to being a record for sales in the province.”

Read more: Saskatchewan reports 5 new coronavirus cases, releases more Phase 4.2 guidelines

MLS Saskatchewan data shows that in June 375 homes were sold in Regina, a 50 per cent increase over June 2019 when 250 sales were made.

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Saskatoon, meanwhile, saw 515 sales in June this year. June 2019 saw 375.

Saskatoon-based realtor Norm Fisher echoed Duggleby in attributing some of that increase to relaxing pandemic restrictions.

June sales volume grew significantly year-over-year in both Regina and Saskatoon.
June sales volume grew significantly year-over-year in both Regina and Saskatoon. Global News
June sales volume grew significantly year-over-year in both Regina and Saskatoon.
June sales volume grew significantly year-over-year in both Regina and Saskatoon. Global News

“There was some clear pent up demand that resulted from poor sales in April and May like it fell like the bottom fell out,” Fisher said. “The other obvious trend is that sellers retreated from the market at a much more rapid pace than buyers did.”

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He said that at the end of June, Saskatoon had around 1,500 listings — what he called a three month’s supply when the number of sales in June is considered. Fisher said he considers anything less than a four month’s supply a seller’s market.

“We officially entered seller’s market territory for the first time since 2012.”

In his experience, Fisher said, he also found the pressures of physical distancing and isolation to be factors in the Saskatoon sales jump.

“I definitely got the sense that there was some built-up tension,” Fisher laughed. “You know, with people being in close confines with their entire family, day after day, for months.”

He also said new mortgage insurance rules brought in by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on July 1 may have motivated buyers to close deals before June was up.

Still, he thinks that the seller’s market could stick around for the short term.

“We’ve passed the peak weeks for a typical year and inventory now appears to be declining. And I think it will likely continue to do that throughout the balance of the year,” Fisher said.

Read more: What do the new CMHC rules mean for homebuyers?

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According to Royal LePage’s second-quarter Home Price Survey, home prices remained relatively flat in Regina.

The survey listed a Q2 2020 aggregate home price of $321,389 in Regina — a 0.1-per cent year-over-year increase.

According to the survey, the current aggregate home price in Saskatoon is $386,663, good for a six per cent year-over-year increase.

The survey forecasts a $321,000 aggregate price for the fourth quarter of 2020 which would be a one per cent increase over the fourth quarter of 2019.

Read more: The New Reality: How COVID-19 could impact the commercial real estate market

When it comes to advice for those looking to dive into the market, Fisher said pictures speak even more than a thousand words during a pandemic.

“Prepare properly. People are wanting to view homes online prior to going out. The better your home looks over the internet the better your chances are for getting an in-person showing,” he said.

As for those looking to buy, Fisher says success will come to those with a backup plan.

“Be willing to write backup offers. You’re going to encounter a lot of houses that you like that already have offers on them.”

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