October sales remain strong as buyers look to take advantage of low lending rates

Residential sales activity eased slightly over last year’s record highs. However, with 1,306 sales this month, levels are over 18 percent higher than long-term averages. “Despite challenges with the pandemic, housing demand in the province has remained exceptionally strong as many purchasers are looking to take advantage of the very low lending rates,” said Saskatchewan REALTORS®Association (SRA) CEO Chris Guérette.The monthly pullback in sales were met with even higher declines in new listings. This caused the sales to new listings ratio to rise to 68 percent and the inventory to fall to 6,836, over 10 percent lower than last year and nearly 20 percent below long-term averages.“One of the single greatest issues the Canadian real estate market faces, including in Saskatchewan, is the declining levels of housing supply,” said Guérette. “The seasonally adjusted number of residential properties left for sale on MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate boards and associations is close to falling below the 100,000 mark for the first time on record. Six years ago, that number was a quarter of a million.”While conditions did tighten this month especially for detached homes, benchmark prices have trended down relative to levels recorded earlier in the year. However, it is important to note that these monthly adjustments have not offset earlier gains. As of October, total residential prices are nearly five percent higher than last year and on a year-to-date basis are nearly eight percent higher than the previous year, just shy from the 2014 highs.“To tackle the supply and affordability issues, all levels of government need to ensure adequate housing opportunities are available for Saskatchewanians across the housing spectrum,” said Guérette. “We are recommending policies that address those issues like including clauses in Infrastructure Bilateral Agreements with provincial and territorial partners to encourage and incentivize the creation of more housing supply and increased recruitment of immigrants to our province.”