The Saskatoon Home Team

Where Integrity Meets Hard Work

By Jonathan Charlton, The Starphoenix

Link to article here

 

Despite its bad reputation in city planning circles, sprawl is a good thing, according to Wendell Cox. Cox, the principal of a St. Louis-based international public policy firm and senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, has written a report on affordable housing in Saskatoon and how it compares with cities in Canada, the U.S., and overseas.

 

He says the only way for many people to afford housing and maintain a high standard of living is to develop more land. In an interview with the StarPhoenix, he explained why. This interview has been condensed and edited for publication.

 

Q: Is the answer as simple as just building more houses on the outskirts?

 

A: The answer to restoring housing affordability is to restore the competitive land market ... Housing historically in Canada, going back to World War II, has tended to run three or fewer times the household income. At this point, we're estimating Saskatoon is about 4.2, so it's about 30 per cent higher than it has been historically.

 

Q: The commuting time in Saskatoon is pretty good right now, something like 19 or 20 minutes. If you have more suburbs or development outside the city, you're going to potentially have more cars coming in. How do you balance that?

 

A: I am basically suggesting the critical issue is, how well do the people of Saskatoon live? The fact is, yes you have good commuting times. The question is, do we commute 25 minutes instead of 19 minutes and save $100,000? The answer becomes pretty clear. These are trade-offs families and households need to make; they're not trade-offs that need to be made at city hall.

 

Q: What role do you see in, instead of houses, building one apartment building near the city centre?

 

A: The fact is, some people like little cars and some people like big expensive cars. The same is true in respect to housing ... Families with kids are generally not happy living in 20-storey, 10-storey or even two-storey apartment buildings anywhere in the urban area. You cannot substitute an apartment for a house with a yard. They're not the same product. And I realize urban planners think they are. But I was looking at some data yesterday in the Toronto area ... If you look at who lives in those buildings, you find there are very few kids, and if you look at the last census you find most of the growth in kids occurs out in areas where there is detached housing.

 

Q: Is it possible to have a dense and affordable city?

 

A: If somehow the preferences of the households support that, that's fine. But no, it is not possible to have a planned dense city. You so interfere with the market that you increase land prices and force up poverty and force the standard of living down.

 

Q: If you were the mayor of Saskatoon, what would you want to do in terms of city policy to address this?

 

A: If I were in charge, I would basically be saying, 'Let us effectively make the affluence of households and the minimization of poverty the first principle of our urban planning policy.' Nothing else is more important.

See the full report at thestarphoenix.com.

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As we typically see in the real estate market this time of year, sales are tailing off as the weather cools down. Last week in Saskatoon there were just 45 firm sales reported to the local MLS which is 20 less sales than the previous week, a significant drop off. When looking at the current 4 week average, it’s evident that the Saskatoon market is ready for the seasonal slow-down as sales continue to drop. There has been an average of 63 sales per week over the past month, with an average price of $346,858, while the average house is listed for 55 days on the market. In 2012 there was an average of 59 sales per week (4 less than 2013), with an average price of $348,847 ($2,011 more than 2013) and the average house was listed for 47 days (8 days less than 2013) on market. Over the past month the prices have been skewed a little bit because of activity in the lower end of the market, dropping the overall purchase price. Prices have not dropped in 2013, in fact they’ve climbed and sometimes a single month isn’t a large enough sample size for data to tell the proper story. Listings have been sitting on the market a little longer this year, which is due to the high amount of competition on the market.

 

The most active neighbourhoods in sales volume are:

 

Stonebridge – 19 sales, Evergreen – 17 sales, Hampton Village – 12 sales, Willowgrove – 11 sales, Wildwood – 11 sales, Briarwood – 8 sales

 

There are currently 1218 active listings (746 single family, 348 condominiums) on the market, which is significantly more than the 606 single family and 313 condominiums listings in 2012. The overall listings number climbed slightly after a surprising 123 new listings were posted to Saskatoon MLS last week. At this time of year, 123 new listings is quite active. In 2012 during the same week period there were only 90 new listings posted.
For more info on today’s market or if you’re thinking about buying/selling, contact us here.

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By Charles Hamilton

C/O Saskatoon Star Phoenix

 

Crystal Bueckert hopes a cure for urban sprawl will be found in Saskatoons's backyards.

Bueckert, a local home designer, has been waiting for the city to allow garden and garage suites - and the wait could soon be over.

 

"It's a lot less expensive to use what we have than to go out into a field and create the roads, the sewers, the infrastructure," Bueckert said.

 

After years of debate, city officials are preparing to move ahead with sweeping regulatory changes that could transform existing neighbourhoods. The changes will be up for debate by council's planning and operations committee next week.

 

A garden suite is a small, detached home located in the rear or side yard of an existing house. Garage suites are the same, but typically constructed above a detached garage.

 

Bueckert was part of the committee that helped come up with the guidelines. She says the homes are both an economical and environmentally sustainable option for a city that is bursting at the edges. People can build a secondary suite - which can be used as a rental property - without the inconvenience of an attached suite. Building them in backyards increases residential density without changing the face of the neighbourhood.

 

"There are no sound issues; there is not someone living in your house, but they are on your property," she said.

Local developer Curtis Olson will work with Bueckert's company, BLDG Studio, to start building garden and garage suites. He said he's excited the city is finally changing its rules.

 

"We are intending to start building garage homes as soon as the bylaw allows," Olson said.

Allowing garden and garage suites is only one component of sweeping plans to regulate the way new homes are built in old neighbourhoods.

 

Alan Wallace, the city's director of planning and development, said the city wants to encourage people to build new homes in old neighbourhoods, without hurting existing homeowners.

 

"I think some of the cookie-cutter designs have to be rethought. It's about character, and maintaining character," Wallace said.

 

The proposed guidelines include height restrictions and setbacks that will hopefully stop people from tearing down small homes and putting "monster homes" in their place, he said.

 

The changes to allow garden suites will be the first of many to come.

 

The suites will only be allowed on lots with singleunit dwellings, and will be restricted to two bedrooms, with height and size limits.

 

If the new guidelines are approved by city council, interested homeowners will need the city's approval to build garden or garage suites. Wallace said the city will judge each project on a case-by-case basis. He hopes to have the guidelines in place before the 2014 construction season.

 

Link to article here: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/saskatoon/Garden+suites+coming+this+spring/9258779/story.html

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BHP Billiton Enchanted Forest Holiday Light Tour

 

November 23, 2013 - January 12, 2014

Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo

1903 Forest Dr.

Saskatoon, SK S7N 2J7

Time: 5:30pm-11pm nightly

Admission: $8 per person or $30 per car (maximum 7 passengers)

Recurrence: Recurring daily

The most spectacular drive-through Christmas display in Canada featuring 75 custom displays throughout the forest. A Saskatchewan Christmas tradition for 14 years.


Broadway Spirit of Christmas

 

December 07, 2013

Broadway Business Improvement District

Saskatoon, SK S7N 1B5

Time: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus will be walking up and down Broadway Avenue with a bag full of money, valued at over $20,000, to spend in your favorite Broadway stores! It's a chance to do holiday shopping at a discount. Broadway stores have participated by adding coupons and gift certificates into Santa's Money Bag! Ensure to be on Broadway Avenue to be handed a 'gift' of savings! As well, bringing cheer to the street, join in on some Christmas caroling with the Greystone singers - meet at Little Stone Stage (in front of Victoria School) on every hour, songs book provided.


Little Opera on the Prairie

 

December 05, 2013 - December 07, 2013

Broadway Theatre

715 Broadway Avenue

Saskatoon, SK S7N 1B3

  • Phone: 306-652-6556
  • Website: www.broadwaytheatre.ca

Santa Shuffle 5km Fun Run & 1km Elf Walk

 

December 07, 2013

8th St. Running Room

601, 8th St.

Saskatoon, SK

Time: Starting: 10:00 AM

Admission: Youth $20.00, Adult $30.00, Family (2-6) $85.00, Corporate Team(2-10) $225.00

The 23rd Annual Salvation Army Santa Shuffle in Saskatoon has more than 120 festively attired runners raising funds for The Salvation Army in this family 5km Fun Run and 1km Elf Walk. It takes place on the same day in 39 cites, from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NB.

In Saskatoon, participants collect pledges to raise funds for Salvation Army Mumford House, an emergency shelter for women and children. Every dollar raised stays in Saskatoon. Become our partner and help change people’s lives, one step at a time. Bring your family and friends and participate with Santa Claus to help The Salvation Army reach its goal of Dignity for All. Register online at www.santashuffle.ca


The Nylons Christmas

 

December 06, 2013

The Roxy Theatre

Time: 7:30pm

Admission: $37.50

The voices that stirred a generation are back to Saskatoon to perform an evening dedicated to making your Christmas bright!
 The Nylons are legends in the music industry for almost 40 years - they are one of the great accapella groups!  On this special night they'll be joined by some surprise guests, and we'll be decking the halls with Christmas


Wanuskewin Heritage Park - Christmas Artisan Sale

 

December 06, 2013 - December 07, 2013

Wanuskewin Heritage Park

RR 4, Penner Rd

Saskatoon, SK S7K 3J7

Time: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Admission: $2 donation to the Wanuskewin Renewal Campaign or 2 non-perishable food items to the Saskatoon Food Bank

The Third Annual Christmas Artisan Sale takes place Friday and Saturday December 6 & 7.  Festuring beaded moccasins, blankets, jewelerry, quill work, birch bark, carvings, orginal paintings and much more! Watch artists create works of art.


Artists by Artists: Bruce Montcombroux and Cory Schewaga: Galicia

 

September 27, 2013 - January 05, 2015

Mendel Art Gallery and Civic Conservatory

950 Spadina Crescent East

Saskatoon, SK S7K 3L6

Galicia is a synthetic wheat field where viewers interact with the work through a combination of actual and virtual activity. The objects are made of paper, glue, and electronics. Reflecting the growth cycles of a physical wheat field, the installation progresses through different states occurring through continued interaction by the viewer for the duration of the exhibition.


Meewasin Valley Centre - drop in crafts

 

November 30, 2013 - December 15, 2013

Meewasin Valley Centre

402 - 3rd Avenue South

Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G5

Time: From: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Admission: by donation

Recurrence: Recurring weekly on Sunday, Saturday

Come create a heritage craft similar to what Saskatoon's early residents would have created this time of year. Bring your own small, clean glass jar with a lid.


Rewilding Modernity

 

September 27, 2013 - January 05, 2015

Mendel Art Gallery and Civic Conservatory

950 Spadina Crescent East

Saskatoon, SK S7K 3L6

Recurrence: Recurring daily

Contemporary art and the unique history of modernity in Saskatchewan and internationally are examined in this innovative exhibition. Featured are some of the most prominent artists working today in Canada and abroad, plus a selection of works from the 1950s to 1970s by Saskatchewan and international artists. A cornerstone of modern art emerged in our own backyard, at Emma Lake. The Emma Lake Workshops of the 1950s and 1960s formed a major part of Canada's artistic legacy. They were led by eminent visiting artists and critics from around the world, including New York critic Clement Greenberg, American artists Donald Judd, Kenneth Noland and Frank Stella, American composer and artist John Cage, and English sculptor Sir Anthony Caro. A number of these participants had become aware of the province through its high-profile presence as the only region in North America to have elected a government on a socialist platform - a feat that was reported in the 1940s and early 50s in The New York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek.


The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon

 

November 27, 2013 - December 15, 2013

Persephone Theatre

100 Spadina Crescent East

Saskatoon, SK S7K 0L3

Recurrence: Recurring daily

In this riotous comedy by Saskatchewan's own W.O. Mitchell, small-town shoemaker and avid curler Wullie will do anything to win The Brier, including making a deal with the devil. In a final match, with his soul hanging in the balance, Wullie and his team must take on the Devil and his minions in an after-life draw to the house. This curling tale is winter fun for everyone.

 

They Made a Day Be a Day Here

 

September 27, 2013 - January 05, 2015

Mendel Art Gallery and Civic Conservatory

950 Spadina Crescent East

Saskatoon, SK S7K 3L6

The Man Who Wanted to be Santa

 

December 10, 2013 - December 15, 2013

Barn Playhouse

25 km North of Saskatoon on Hwy. 12.

Saskatoon, SK S7K 3J7

Time: Tuesdays - Saturdays craft barn opens - 6:00pm, Sundays craft barn opens -noon

Admission: $42.00 - $47.95

Recurrence: Recurring weekly on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

A small town police station gets a couple of unexpected visitors one Christmas Eve. The first, an unknown Santa who seems to know all about them-the second, a "big city" Police Inspector who can make a federal case out of a parking ticket! this loveable comedy is filled with the kind of characters you would find in Andy Griffith's "Mayberry".


Saskatoon Soaps

 

December 20, 2013

Broadway Theatre

Time: 9:30 pm

Admission: $12 or $10 for students

The Saskatoon Soaps begin their historic 30th Season. This improv comedy troupe has performed all across Saskatchewan bringing their razor sharp wit to every performance. It is their shows at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon however, that has really made a lasting impression on the cultural fabric of the city.

They have performed with the likes of Kim Coates, Red Green, Michael Eklund and Catherine O'Hara. Members of the Soaps are very busy both on stage and on screen in productions of Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, Persephone Theatre, Corner Gas, Rabbit Falls and on stage with The Just for Laughs tour.

In 2008 the Soaps were recognized with a Star on the Greg Botting, Broadway Walk of Fame.


Beaver Creek

 

December 26, 2013 - January 01, 2014

Beaver Creek Conservation Area

13 km South on Highway # 219

Saskatoon, SK S7K 3J8

Time: From: 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Winter Wildlife -Take a hike outside with an interpreter and discover how some of our wild friends are able to stay active and warm throughout the winter season. Available each day throughout the holiday week at 2:30 p.m. 

Get Tracking - Become a track detective as you search for signs of wild wanderings along one of our nature trails. Track and scat keys are available at the interpretive desk for use on this self-guided hike.

Nature Craft - Discover another way to appreciate nature by creating a nature inspired craft at the Beaver Creek craft table. Available...

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When people renovate or remodel a room, they almost always overlook the door. However, changing the style of an interior door, or adding a new one, can dramatically change the look of a living space – often for the better.



The most common type of door is the traditional solid 6-panel door. But there are many other choices available. Want to add light and a greater sense of space to a room? Consider a door with glass panels. Do you have an interior door that gets in the way when opened? Change it to a bi-fold door, which cuts the distance of the swing in half

There are also specialty doors that are designed to block noise, and sliding doors that tuck neatly into the wall when opened.

Interior doors are typically much less expensive than their exterior counterparts. So making the decision to upgrade or add a door to a room is an affordable design option.

Visit a door showroom and explore what's available.

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Secondary Suite Program

Secondary suites, commonly known as basement suites, are a form of housing that can be put in single family homes.  These rental unites are a great way for homeowners to generate extra revenue.

Secondary suites offer greater affordability and choice in terms of rental accommodations in Saskatoon. To encourage the creation of new and the legalizing of existing secondary suites, the City of Saskatoon will rebate permit fees for building and plumbing permits as well as a portion of the Legalizing an Existing Suite (LES) Occupancy Permit fee for completed secondary suites. Homeowners who wish to obtain rebates of permit fees for the construction of a new or the legalization of an existing secondary suite must have a valid building permit or be engaged in the LES process and must apply to the Planning and Development Branch.

The City’s permit rebates complement the Secondary Suite Program offered by the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.

What Does the Secondary Suite Program Offer?

  • Provides financial assistance to eligible homeowners and rental property owners to construct or renovate a secondary suite in the form of a forgivable loan for 50% of the total construction/renovation costs to a maximum of $30,000 per suite.
  • Help increase the supply of affordable housing for low- to moderate- income people.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must own existing property or be in the process of purchasing or contracting a newly constructed home that includes plans to develop a secondary suite.
    • New construction applications where land has not been transferred to the purchaser must be accompanied by: the Developer building permit, a copy of the plans and building specifications, copy of the sales agreement/building contract, a breakdown of building costs associated with the secondary suite, and purchaser confirmation of financing.
  • Applicants must house eligible tenants that have an annual gross household income below the applicable income threshold as set out by Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.
  • Applicants must keep rents affordable based on the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation rent schedule for the term of the loan.
  • The secondary suite must be a private, self-contained residential unit that meets all national, provincial and municipal bylaws, codes and standards.

Applicants must receive written funding approval from Saskatchewan Housing Corporation prior to commencing renovations on an existing suite OR prior to placing the first initial tenant in a new suite.

To apply for the Secondary Suite Program, visit: www.socialservices.gov.sk.ca/housing

Download a copy of this information > Secondary Suite Program

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Remember the last time you visited an upscale furniture showroom? The furniture and fixtures on display probably looked great. The colours and textures jumped out at you. It was a feast for the eyes!

 

There is a good reason for this: lighting.

 

Of course, the quality of the products has a lot to do with how appealing they look when on display. But smart retailers know that proper lighting is key to making those products look their best. In fact, some retailers even hire lighting consultants!

 

What does this have to do with selling your home quickly, and for the best price?

 

Obviously, when showing your property to potential buyers, you want your hom

e to look its very best. Proper lighting can be a big help.

 

When preparing your home for sale, review the lighting in each room and make sure the space is sufficiently well lit. You want the lighting to be strong enough to prevent dark or shadowy areas, yet not so strong that it's uncomfortable for the eyes.

 

As a rule of thumb, the total wattage of lights in a room should equal the room's square footage times 1.5. So, if a room is 120 square feet and has three light sources (ceiling light and two lamps) then the bulbs in each should be 60 watts.

 

Pay particular attention to traditionally dark areas, such as the garage, basement, and closets. Make sure those areas are well lit.

 

If you have a viewing scheduled during the day, take advantage of natural light through windows. Open the curtains! 

 

Finally, one of the most important areas is the foyer. Always make sure the entrance has sufficient lighting. You don't want buyers to think they've entered the home of classic TV's The Adam's Family!

 

Want more ideas for preparing your home for sale? Call today.

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Last week in Saskatoon there were 65 sales, which is rather active for this time of year. The average price of those sales last week $328,079 which suggests that there was more activity in the lower of the end of the market as this price is lower than usual. Over the past month in Saskatoon we have seen a weekly average sales volume of 75 per week and an average price of $347,731. During the same period in 2012, the average price was $4425 lower, while there were on average 9 sales less per week. Currently homes are sitting on the market for 7 days on average longer than they were in 2012. This is a direct correlation to the high number of inventory on the current MLS at the moment. When places sit on the market, they tend to take a little bit of a hit in value which is evident when looking at the average selling price under asking. The current selling price under asking is currently at $9252, whereas during 2012 with a lower inventory count, the average for the same period was just $7670. Ultimately when comparing the past month with the same period in 2012 prices have gone up slightly and sales volume is up.

 

Over the past month the most active sales areas are:

 

Evergreen - 21 sales

Stonebridge - 20 sales

Hampton Village - 16 sales

Wildwood - 12 sales

Confederation Park - 10 sales

Nutana - 8 sales

 

Currently there are 1202 active listings on the MLS (742 single family, 348 condominiums) which remains high. However inventory is slowly beginning to fall each week, which is a good thing for sellers and more importantly some more balance in the market. Last week there was only 91 new listings (69 single family, 12 condominiums) posted to the market. Look for inventory to decrease in the coming weeks as the market should cool off over the next month or so.

 

If you have any questions about the current market, or if you’re thinking about buying or selling contact us here.

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