Saskatchewan experiences record year for housing sales in 2021

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Saskatchewan experiences record year for housing sales in 2021
WATCH: Saskatchewan recorded a total of 17,387 sales in 2021, a new record which surpassed the previous mark set in 2007 by 17 per cent – Jan 8, 2022

Many people expected the COVID-19 pandemic would have slowed the housing market down in 2021.

However, that was not the case in Saskatchewan.

A report posted on Thursday by the Saskatchewan Realtors Association (SRA) shows just how well the province’s housing market performed last year.

Saskatchewan recorded a total of 17,387 sales in 2021, a new record which surpassed the previous mark set in 2007 by 17 per cent.

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The SRA said while the pandemic has triggered vast disruptions and challenges for some sectors of the economy, housing boomed.

“When we look back, really a home is now where we feel the safest,” said Chris Guérette, CEO of the SRA. “It really re-defined who we are, what kind of home we need to really survive a pandemic.

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“I think that was at the core of all the changes that we saw over the past two years.”

Guérette mentioned that sales in 2021 were 24 per cent higher than 2020 levels, when 2020 was still considered as a good year for the real estate market.

The association added that a decrease in inventory and strong demand ensured the market leaned towards sellers for much of 2021.

Improved affordability, lower mortgage rates and more time spent at home are some of the factors behind the growth in sales.

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Kelsey Smith, a real estate agent with REMAX Crown Real Estate in Regina, said affordability changed for people with the pandemic limiting options for travelling or going out and spending money. Instead, their attention turned towards upgrading their living situation either through buying a home, renovations or both.

“People were home so much that they had to make changes to their environment,” suggested Smith.

“They are working from home, their kids are at home and sometimes people realize that they don’t like their houses. They want to make changes and that comes with buying and selling.”

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Smith believes the beginning of 2022 will be busy for the province’s housing market, but she pointed to there being lower levels of inventory available.

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The SRA indicated that Saskatchewan’s inventory levels in 2021 were 16 per cent below long-term trends, which the organization said is “a significant shift” from a few years ago when supply levels hit record highs.

“If you’re selling, you’ll have success. If you’re buying, you’re buying before prices increase and when there are less people out there looking,” Smith discussed. “If there are properties to look at, then they will be bought.”

There are other challenges the province’s market could face in 2022, according to the SRA.

Experts anticipate inflationary pressures will persist and lending rates will climb.

Jason Childs, an associate professor of economics at the University of Regina, said it will depend on what the Bank of Canada does with interest rates and how quickly they move to bring inflation down.

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Childs pointed out that the price push is based on much of the liquidity created by the Bank of Canada and the federal government during the pandemic, which ended up in asset markets.

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The SRA report stated if tight conditions continue then there could be some price growth this year but at a slower pace than what happened in 2021.

“We’re seeing a bifurcation of the housing market where it’s more affordable for some and absolutely unaffordable for others, and that’s going to create a problem,” explained Childs.

He proposed that this trend cannot go on forever without significant population growth. Childs said there likely will be an increase in population once immigration returns to normal circumstances.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan real estate conditions heating up'
Saskatchewan real estate conditions heating up

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