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January Housing Sales Encouraging
 
 
 

Saskatoon. February 2nd, 2016.


January home sales held steady in the face of some recent gloomy economic reports with 174 units changing hands in Saskatoon. This is comparable to results a year ago and only 17% below the five year average for January. The market experienced a decline in the number of homes added to the market in January with a 5.5% decrease for a total 683 new listings. A decline in new building permits coupled with home sellers deciding to wait until spring to go to market, has helped to relax inventory levels. The average selling price year over year was virtually unchanged at $354,000, down 1.2%. “Focusing on the average price can be very misleading” according to Jason Yochim, CEO with the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®, “An average is just that, it can be skewed based on a change in the number of homes selling in a particular price range.” A more accurate barometer of pricing than the average is the composite Home Price Index, (HPI) which was $305,400 at month end, a 1.4% decrease over the same time last year. This is the first leveling of the HPI since a steady decline which started in September. This is a positive sign when it comes to a trend in home prices. According to a recent survey by Praxis Analytics, Saskatchewan residents remain optimistic about the economy in spite of economic challenges.

Although there are currently 1,612 active listings, the decline in new listings so far this year coupled with steady demand will help ensure that inventory levels remain below the overall 2015 average of 1,856 active listings. Condominiums in Saskatoon accounted for roughly 40% of the active properties with 634 units currently on the market. Of these active condos, it is estimated that about 20% are new units. By comparison, less than a third of the single family homes available on the market are new construction.

On average it takes 50 days to sell a home in Saskatoon at approximately 97% of the asking price. This is a typical exposure period for this time of year. “The seller is really the deciding factor in determining how long a home will sit on the market. The higher they choose to price above market the longer the home will sit.” He cautions, “It is important to keep in mind that every property is unique, every situation is unique and every micro market is unique. It only makes sense to have a professional REALTOR® provide sound advice when it comes to pricing competitively in this market.”

Sound pricing and timing advice can be provided by one of the 640 professionally licensed and trained REALTOR® members of The Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®. REALTORS® also subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are dedicated to developing professional standards and continuing education in the real estate profession.

 

For further information, please contact:

Jason Yochim CAE, CRAE

Chief Executive Officer – Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®

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First-Time Buyers Will Survive The New Rule



The days of buying near-million-dollar homes with 5% down are officially over.

The new minimum equity rules for purchases between $500,000 and $1 million began Monday. The regs now require 5% down on the first $500,000 and 10% down for the remaining portion. As before, purchases of $1 million+ still require at least 20% down (if you want the best rates).

This news was all over the press today, as expected. One of the prominent questions was, how will young buyers fare?

 

Some suggest that first-timers are the losers, and that the market “didn’t need” this rule. At the very least, that’s debatable.

For one thing, we know that less than 1 in 10 rookie buyers purchase homes over $500,000. Of the minority who do, we’d guesstimate that somewhere around half have down payments of at least 7.5% (the most a qualified borrower would need under the new rules). That’s based on the fact that almost 4 in 10 first-time buyers already put down 20% or more, says Mortgage Professionals Canada.

Of those who are shy the extra 0.1% to 2.5% of equity, many will tap their parents for more cash, some will use other debt sources and some will just defer their purchase 6-18 months or so, which may not be the worst decision as we watch how housing markets react to Canada’s economic challenges.

On the question of whether the change was needed, this rule wasn’t so much about slowing the housing market. No, policy-makers were more focused on limiting the federal government’s insured mortgage exposure. And, of all the ways they could have done that (increasing down payments to a flat 10%, shortening amortizations further, lowering debt ratio limits, etc), this was one of the most buyer- and industry-friendly moves they could have made. In a country where people earning $100,000 can’t buy a house in our biggest cities, and debt ratios keep on climbing, the Department of Finance did the right thing.

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If you are planning to put your house on the market this spring it goes without saying that you are hoping to sell your Saskatoon home as quickly as possible and get your asking price. Set the stage for success with these 21 tips for styling and upgrading your Saskatoon home, and see results -- fast.

 

 

1. Boost curb appeal. This is something you always hear, and with very good reason. Many people thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your Saskatoon home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:

  • Power wash siding and walkways
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers
  • Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
  • Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
  • Wash front windows
  • Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed
 

2. Welcome visitors with an inviting porch. Even if you have only a tiny stoop, make it say "welcome home" with a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom and -- if you have room -- one or two pieces of neat porch furniture. Keep your porch lights on in the evenings, in case potential buyers drive by. Illuminating the front walk with solar lights is a nice extra touch, especially if you will be showing the house during the evening.

 

3. Get your house sparkling clean. From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest (well, maybe not easiest, but certainly the cheapest) way to help your home put its best foot forward. You may want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. Don't skimp -- this step is key!

 

 

4. Clear away all clutter. If you are serious about staging your Saskatoon home, all clutter must go, end of story. It's not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative's garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge anything unnecessary or unsightly.

 

But it's my style! Guess what? It may not be the style of those seeking to buy a house in your neighborhood. So even if you have an awesome vintage-chic look going on, rein it in for the sake of appealing to the most number of people. You can bring your personal style back into play in your new home.

 

5. Find a balance between clean and lived-in. Yes, I know I just said to get rid of all your clutter (and you deserve a big pat on the back if you did it), but now it's time to judiciously bring back a few elements that will really make your home appealing. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of fresh farmer's market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons beside the sink.

 

6. Style your dining room table. The dining room is often a blind spot in decorating the home. Between dinners, a large dining table can look bare and uninviting, so styling it up with visitors in mind can increase the appeal. An oversize arrangement can look too stiff and formal, so try lining up a series of smaller vessels down the center of the table instead.

 

 

7. Take a good look at your floors. At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpets), but consider having wood floors refinished if they are in poor shape. If you don't want to invest in refinishing floors, the strategic placement of area rugs can go a long way.

 

 

8. Rearrange your furniture. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area.

 

 

9. Choose sophisticated neutral colors. Now is not the time to experiment with that "fun"-looking lime green. But that doesn't mean you need to go all white, either. Rich midtone neutrals like mocha and "greige" create a sophisticated backdrop that makes everything look more pulled together.

 

 

10. Create a gender-neutral master bedroom. Appeal to everyone with a clean, tailored master bedroom, free of personal items and clutter. You can't go wrong with clean, crisp linens, tasteful artwork and a blanket folded at the foot of the bed.

 

 

11. Open those closets! Open-house visitors will peek inside your closets. Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers, so show yours off to their full advantage by giving excess stuff the heave-ho. Again, this is really important, so even if you need to store a few boxes elsewhere, it's worth it. Aim to have 20 to 30 percent open space in each closet to give the impression of spaciousness.

 

 

12. Clean up toys. Of course there will be families with children looking at your home, but just because they have kids too doesn't mean seeing toys strewn everywhere will sell them on the place. When people are house hunting, they are imagining a fresh start. Show them that in this house, it is possible to have a beautifully organized kids' room, and they might be swayed.

 

 

13. Use "extra" rooms wisely. If you have been using a spare bedroom as a dumping ground for odd pieces of furniture and boxes of junk, it's time to clean up your act. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose, so think about what potential buyers might like to see here. An office? A guest room? Another kids' room? Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from friends, making a real room out of a junk room will have a big payoff.

 

 

14. Try a pedestal sink to maximize space. If you have a small bathroom but a huge cabinet-style sink, consider swapping it out for a simple pedestal version. Your bathroom will appear instantly bigger.

 

 

15. Use only perfect personal accents. Especially in the bathroom, it is important that anything left out for visitors to see is pristine. If you have a gorgeous fluffy white bathrobe, hanging it on a decorative hook on the door can be an attractive accent -- but if your robe is more of the nubby blue floral variety, you might want to hide it away. Look at every detail with a visitor's eye -- bars of soap should be fresh and clean, towels spotless, the garbage always emptied (you get the idea).

 

 

16. Entice people to explore the whole house. By placing something that draws the eye at the top of the stairs, in hallways or in corners, you can pique curiosity and keep potential buyers interested throughout a whole home tour. A piece of artwork, a painted accent wall, a window seat, a vase of flowers, a hanging light or even a small, colorful rug can all work to draw the eye.

 

 

17. Show how you can use awkward areas. If you have any room beneath the stairs, or a nook or alcove anywhere in your home, try to find a unique way to show it off. By setting up a small work station, a home command center with a bulletin board, or built-in shelving, your awkward spot becomes another selling point.

 

 

18. Beware pet odors. Really, this can be a big one! If you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra vigilant about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Also be sure to keep any extra-loved pet toys and doggie bones hidden when tours are scheduled.

 

 

19. Create a lifestyle people are looking for. Generally speaking, you want to play up what your Saskatoon neighborhood or area is known for. Have a house in a quiet, grassy suburb? Hanging a hammock in your backyard and a bench swing on your porch could be the perfect touch.

 

 

20. Stage the outdoors too. Even if your condo has only a teensy postage stamp–size balcony, play it up with a cute cafe table and chairs, a cheerful tablecloth and even a little tray of dishes or a vase of flowers. When people look at this scene, they won't be thinking "small," they will be thinking, "What a charming spot to have breakfast!"

 

 

21. Think seasonally. Make sure your garden is in beautiful shape in the summer, and that any extra features you have, like a pool or a fire pit, are cleaned and ready to go. Take advantage of the cozy vibe of the season in autumn and winter, by building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove.

 

Thinking of selling? Call your Saskatoon Real Estate agent Pat Sirois 306 361-7998.

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