The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on many aspects of everyday life.
That hasn’t been the case for housing sales in Saskatchewan through the month of February. According to the Saskatchewan Realtor Association‘s (SRA) monthly report, sales were up roughly 74 per cent in Saskatchewan compared to the same month in 2020.
The average price for a home went up nearly three per cent as well, from $265,000 to $272,000.
Inventory of available homes fell in all 19 markets tracked by the SRA.
Saskatoon and Region Builders’ Association CEO Chris Guérette says there are three factors leading to the current state of the market: people are at home now more than ever with work, PST rebates for purchasing a home and interest rates at very low levels.
“There is definitely some activity there with similar levels to what we saw last summer,” said Guérette. “If you’ve never owned a home before, let’s remember, Saskatchewan has the highest population of millennials across the country.”
Home sales in Saskatoon were up 53 per cent to 320 in February 2021, a jump from 230 the same month last year. A total of 502 homes were sold in the region, an increase from 314. The average cost for a house was $299,800 and increased to $330,100.
Regina house sales were up 55.2 per cent last month to 239. The Regina region had the exact same percentage increase of 55.2 in sales. The average price was $282,100, an increase of $18,200 from February 2020.
Regina-based economic analyst Chris Gbekorbu says it is very much a seller’s market, something he doesn’t expect to change in the near future.
“The market has been on a tear since June and July of last year,” Gbekorbu said. “It hasn’t slowed down.
Gbekorbu says with mortgage and interest rates very low, people have been making the decision to purchase a home. That is particularly the case for millennials, people between the ages of 25 and 35.
“People (have) been able to increase their savings as a result of COVID-19 so they can afford a down payment,” Gbekorbu said.
Both Guérette and Gbekorbu say a thriving housing market is crucial to a city’s economy.
“On average, people are spending $53,000 on renovations, modifications, etc, after purchasing their new homes,” Gbekorbu said. “All that money gets put back into the local economy.”
Gbekorbu says he doesn’t see the market crashing at any point in 2021.
Guérette says contractors have been facing delays getting building materials such as steel or even appliances as a result of the American border closure from the pandemic.
She added it will be something to keep an eye on with the increase in home prices for many areas of the province, including the Saskatoon region.View link »