The Saskatoon Home Team

Where Integrity Meets Hard Work

C/O Saskatoon Star Phoenix

By Phil Tank


More apartments and other multi-unit dwellings are planned for construction in Saskatoon, driven in part by the high price of singlefamily homes.The number of multi-family units - including apartments, condos and townhouses - expected to be built, based on building permits issued this year, tops 1,600 for the first time. Meanwhile, while the number of single-family unit permits is on track to decline over 2012 to 1,252. It's the first such drop in five years.


A City of Saskatoon report on the housing plan for the next three years shows the disparity is about to become more pronounced, if the projected servicing of units is an accurate indication. Of the 2,949 housing units serviced this year, 1,722 (58 per cent) are singlefamily homes and 1,222 are multi-family units.
By 2016, that breakdown is expected to shift substantially, with single-family servicing reduced to just 39 per cent or 1,937 units out of 4,971 total units, while multi-family servicing is expected to climb to 61 per cent or 3,304 units.
Jason Yochim, executive officer with the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors, said the shift is happening in part because single-family homes have jumped so much in price. "It's to create the product that the market's demanding," Yochim said.


In total, developers are expected to service enough land in the next three years to accommodate 16,700 new residential units. For the second straight year, combined residential and non-residential building permits are expected to top $1 billion in Saskatoon.


"The city land bank is looking at the market very optimistically lately," said the city's land bank manager, Frank Long. "We are planning for continued population growth in and around three to four per cent. A 'new normal' is what we're calling it here in the industry." Long said the projections are market-driven, even though they also conform to the greater urban density the city is seeking.


Ward 2 Coun. Pat Lorje, however, told Tuesday's planning and operations committee
meeting that not everyone appreciates having an apartment building in their neighbourhood.
"We've been talking about infill like it's the Holy Grail and everyone's going to love it," Lorje said. "They don't welcome it with open arms."


Lorje said infill developments in established areas fail to take into account that the neighbourhoods were not necessarily designed for greater density. "It's just not sustainable in terms of traffic flow," she said.
Yochim said some developers choose infill developments in established areas over new developments on the outskirts of the city because the development charges on new serviced lots make it so expensive.


Housing starts were up 12.5 per cent in 2012 over 2011, at 3,369, while the value of residential building permits hit $654,362,000 in 2012, up 15.1 per cent over 2011. Of the 16,694 units expected to be serviced from 2013 to 2016, 9,215 are expected to be multi-family units, while 7,479 are expected to be single family. It's not just housing that's expected to keep booming. From 2013 to 2016, developers plan to service about 490 acres of industrial land, mostly in the Marquis industrial area, and about 180 acres of commercial land.


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With the onset of winter in the Saskatoon region, one would anticipate the impending seasonal slow-down in the real estate market. However instead of cooling off, the unpredictability of the Saskatoon real estate market surprised once again in 2013. After witnessing sales dip to a 2013 weekly low of 56 due to the Thanksgiving long weekend, figures rebounded in a big way as 91 sales were recorded to the Saskatoon MLS last week. In 2012 there were 81 sales during the same week period, which is 10 less than last week. Over the past 4 weeks in Saskatoon we have seen an average of 85 sales/week, which is 10 more per week than in 2012. The current 4 week average price is $349,163 which is $13,317 more than the 4 week average price during the same period in 2012. Ultimately sales and average prices are up from a very strong 2012, which are good signs for the current Saskatoon real estate market.


Currently listing inventory is at 1385 active listings (871 single family, 415 condominiums) which is still very high for this time of year. These numbers are 18% higher than 2012 figures and once again, the greatest difference is the amount of single family homes, as the condo market remains relatively status quo in terms of inventory. Buyers currently have a lot to choose from in the single family market, however everything should balance out quite soon as listings are not replenishing themselves as briskly as they were during the spring and summer. Last week there were only 124 new listings (82 single family, 30 condominiums) posted to the market. We have recently seen new listing numbers around 150-200/week.


With sales on the uptick and listing numbers decreasing, we will start to see more balance in the market going forward. If you require more information about the current market, or are thinking about buying/selling, contact us here.

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By Janet French, The StarPhoenix with Canadian Press files


The Saskatchewan government is planning to build 18 new elementary schools in the province, including eight in booming Saskatoon neighbourhoods, using a public-private partnership model.


The Saskatchewan Party said Tuesday that unprecedented growth in the Saskatoon and Regina areas is prompting the government to build nine new school buildings, each of which will house a public and a Catholic school. Each school building will share “programming opportunities” while the school divisions will share maintenance costs. The joint-use schools will be Catholic on one side, public on the other.


According to the government, schools will be built in Saskatoon neighbourhoods Evergreen, Hampton Village, Rosewood and Stonebridge; one each in Martensville and Warman; plus three in Regina: Harbour Landing, a northwest location and a southeast location.


"We're going to move forward with all of them at once," said Premier Brad Wall during Tuesday's announcement at Saskatoon's Dundonald elementary school, where he was joined by Education Minister Don Morgan.According to Wall, the traditional construction costs of the nine buildings would be around $450 million. He said the government is hoping to save a minimum of $30 million under the P3 model. Wall said request-for-proposals are being written starting immediately and will last for around six months. He was hoping to have shovels in the ground within 18 months. According to Morgan, if they are able to follow that timeline, each of the 18 schools would be open in approximately three years. “Saskatchewan is experiencing remarkable growth across the province, and some of it is right in the classroom,” Wall said in a statement. “We need to meet the challenges of growth and have adequate infrastructure in place. This approach will put our students first, provide them with the best learning environments, and do so much quicker than government could build schools the conventional way.”
School divisions in Saskatoon, Martensville and Warman have long been pushing for new suburban schools since enrolment began to climb in 2007. According to a government background document, K-8 enrolment increased 77 per cent in Warman, 14 per cent in Saskatoon, and 48 per cent in Martensville between 2007 and 2013. Both Saskatoon public and Catholic divisions say they’ve been growing by the equivalent of one school’s worth of children every year, with no new buildings to put them in.


Both Saskatoon public and Catholic divisions have said new elementary schools in Hampton Village and Stonebridge top their lists, and Prairie Spirit School Division says it could use new elementary schools in Warman and Martensville immediately.


As some new suburbs approach completion, pressure has mounted on existing elementary schools.
Valley Manor school in Martensville is so over capacity, the staff room is now a classroom, and the school stage is a temporary staff room. With no room for a music classroom, instruments are loaded onto a cart and roll from room to room.


In Saskatoon’s west end, St. Peter school is over capacity with 636 pupils as of Sept. 30. Last year, it had to renovate gym change rooms to more bathrooms for students. It’s also running out of space to add more modular classrooms. Across the field, Dundonald school had 727 pupils on Sept. 30. Seven busloads of children arrive there every morning from Hampton Village.


Under the P3 model, a private company will either design, finance, build and/or maintain the buildings, with, in this case, the government and school divisions essentially leasing the buildings from that company.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association — which represents public, separate and francophone school divisions — says it welcomes the funding announcement for new school facilities. But the association also says it’s concerned that there isn’t a plan to address long-term needs for education infrastructure.


“We have heard from students and staff over the past few years that the growth pressures in some areas of the province have caused overcrowded classrooms,” said association president Janet Foord. “Thankfully, announcements such as this one will alleviate some of those concerns.


“But there’s more to do across the province and working in partnership with the Ministry of Education and other sector partners is necessary to address the long-term concerns.”


For example, the association says about 75 per cent of roofing in Saskatchewan schools will fail within the next five years. It also notes that the average age of the buildings is about 50 years.
Opposition NDP Leader Cam Broten said he doesn’t have an ideological opposition to the P3 model in education.
But decisions about building schools need to be cost-effective, fill the right need and be done in a timely way, he said.


“We can look at the bundling approach when it was pursued in Alberta, which caused many problems for schools not actually meeting the local needs within the community with respect to being customized in order to have community groups access,” Broten said.


“Also in terms of relocatables or portables being added on or taken away from the schools, so there’s some real restrictions in that context with bundling,” said Broten. “We know that we need new schools, the question is how do we do this in the best possible way.”
Buildings the government intends to construct are:
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Martensville
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Warman
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Saskatoon’s Hampton Village neighbourhood
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Saskatoon’s Stonebridge neighbourhood
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Saskatoon’s Evergreen neighbourhood
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Saskatoon’s Rosewood neighbourhood
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Regina’s Harbour Landing neighbourhood
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Regina’s northwest
• Joint public/Catholic elementary schools in Regina’s southeast

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Sales numbers last week in the Saskatoon real estate market were affected due to Thanksgiving long weekend. Traditionally sales do take a considerable dip during this week period and last week was no different as there were only 56 sales in Saskatoon. This happens to be the identical figure from the same week period in 2012 which suggests that the market likely hasn’t slowed down as much at it seems. The current 4 week average price is at $350,030 while the average house sells in 39 days on market, while the 4 week average in 2012 was $329,828 and 39 days on market. It should also be noted that sales have been more brisk this year as we are averaging 3 more home sales per week as compared to 2012.


With sales dropping off due to the Thanksgiving weekend, listing inventory in Saskatoon remains high as there are currently 1418 active listings (897 single family, 425 condominiums), which is a slight change from the previous week. However this is a significant change from 2012 when there were only 725 single family homes and 422 condominiums were active during the same time period. Last week there were only 117 listings posted to the Saskatoon MLS which is a significant drop off from the week before when we witnessed 191 new listings. We should start to see listing numbers drop off significantly as the single family market has more inventory than usual.


Now is certainly a good time to buy due to high inventory and attractive interest rates! If you have any questions or are thinking about buying or selling contact us here.

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Last week in the Saskatoon real estate market, the sales numbers remained status quo as 85 sales were reported to the local MLS. The previous week had the exact same sales total. Over the past month, we are averaging 90 sales per week which is extremely productive for this time of year, as last year we were averaging just 84 per week. Last week the average price was $346,320, which is slightly higher than the 4 week average of $344,682. In 2012 the 4 week average for the same time period was just $324,681, which is nearly a 6% increase in price. Ultimately the sales numbers are strong and prices are up from a year ago.


Currently there are 1429 active listings in Saskatoon (903 single family, 421 condominiums). Listing numbers are usually dwindling down to 1200 or 1100 during this time of year,  however inventory levels remain very high especially in the single family home market. This has caused a bit of a buyers’ market in some single family price ranges. Generally the condominium market is the same as last year. Last week there were a whopping 191 new listings posted to the market (136 single family, 47 condominiums), which is 50 more listings than there were in 2012.


Now is a great time to buy! If you have any questions please contact us by email.

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Last week in the Saskatoon real estate market, sales and listing inventory were up considerably. There were 91 sales (59 single family, 28 condominiums) reported to the Saskatoon MLS which is a rather impressive number considering its October. Last week the average price was $356,753 which is higher than usual as the current 4 week average is only $347,761. Over the previous few months the average sales prices were much lower, due to a high amount of activity in the lower end of the market. Over the past few months we had seen a high amount of activity in the under $300,000 market, however this seems to no longer be the case as the market seems balanced again. Over the past month, the average home sells in 38 days on market and the average selling price under asking was $7469.


We have seen a high amount of listing activity in the Saskatoon real estate market of late and this past week was no different. There were 209 new listings (130 single family, 66 condominiums) in Saskatoon last week, which is a very high number for October. Two weeks ago there were 41 less listings posted to the market and 60 less in 2012 during the same week period. This brisk listing activity has pushed inventory levels to 1402 active listings (883 single family, 419 condominiums). In 2012 there were over 140 less single family homes listed during the same week period, while condominiums were nearly equal. Ultimately competition in the single family market has been a lot tougher of late due to the high amount of competition.


The market has been active and very unpredictable of late, who knows what next week will bring us. If you have any questions  or are thinking about buying/selling contact us here.

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