Archive for March, 2009

Saskatoon Current Real Estate Market – March 20, 2009

Friday, March 20th, 2009

After a long period of time when we were all wondering if the market was going to pick up it appears that the buyers who were trickling in are now out and are buying houses in Saskatoon. Last week our Saskatoon Century 21 team saw 46 listings come in and 51 deals on existing listings (so more houses in Saskatoon were bought than listed last week).

We also saw the lowest ever interest rates and low mortgage rates in Saskatoon with a 5 year closed term at 4.15%.

The MLS stats from last week (March 9-16th) saw the following:

New listings in Saskatoon: 158 (the previous week was 182)

Houses sold in Saskatoon: 56 (up to from 54 the week before)

Total active listings: 1350

Total vacant properties: 510 (up 3 from the week before)

We are seeing that the low interest rates and the fact that people are starting to understand that the economy in Saskatchewan isn’t going to implode is helping motivate buyers. It is a great time for first time home buyers in Saskatoon and for people to buy a house in Saskatoon in general. It is still very much a buyer’s market in Saskatoon but we are starting to see people with their houses for sale in Saskatoon dig their heels in a bit more and resist the low balling that buyers are trying. Some people with houses for sale in Saskatoon are still in a position where they have 2 mortgages so some houses for sale in Saskatoon are still selling for well below list price, but overall the market is gaining some momentum and hopefully the number of houses for sale in Saskatoon decreases with the amount of people buying houses in Saskatoon starting to increase. I think it will still be another year or so before we go back to a balanced real estate market in Saskatoon as there is still a lot of excess inventory, but we will get there with the amount of people looking to buy a house in Saskatoon from outside of the province and country.

If you are interested in buying or selling your home or looking for information on the Saskatoon real estate market please contact me!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd

Potash Is The New Cash Cow

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Saskatchewan Potash is projected to generate more money for the Saskatchewan economy than all other natural resources combined.

Potash is a pink mineral and it has 3 main purposes: fertilizer (95% of the world’s potash is used in fertilizer), livestock feed supplements and industrial processes. In fertilizer, potash is what enhances water retention of plants, increases crop yields, and increases plants’ disease resistance. In feed supplements, the key function of potash is to contribute to animal growth and milk production. In industrial production potash is used to produce glass, ceramics, soaps, etc.

Potash in Saskatchewan is expected to generate $1.9 billion for the province in the 2009-2010 fiscal year and is estimated to make more money than provincial income tax.

Finance critic, Harry Van Mulligen, says that we should be cautious and he questions the economic assumptions behind the potash revenue projections and he points out that the projected sales volume was initially 10.3 million tonnes but that is supposed to decrease by about 10% since the budget papers went to print. Spokespeople for Agrium said that the recent production cutbacks will not be an important factor when it comes to how much money the province takes in.

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Saskatoon Getting Direct Flight To Chicago

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Sometime in June, the city of Saskatoon will be getting the option to fly directly from Saskatoon to Chicago.  This is the latest addition of flights being added by United Airlines.  Last year Saskatoon saw the addition of a daily direct flight to Denver which has been a huge success.

Flights will originate from John G Diefenbaker International Airport and will go direct to Chicago O’Hare International Airport which is one of the largest airports in the United States.  The addition of this flight gives travellers from Saskatoon far more options than existed before.  As someone who loves to travel I am very excited about this additional flight.  I am sure in time as Saskatoon continues to grow we will see the addition of other flights into the United States.  With large corporations with offices in the United States like Cameco and Potash Corp there will be growing needs to have more direct access to the US.

Flights will leave Saskatoon at 12:45pm and arrive in Chicago at 4:35pm local time.  The return flight will leave Chicago at 9:50am and arrive in Saskatoon at 12:02pm.  Just think, if you are ever craving a Chicago deep dish pizza, it’s just a direct flight away!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

CNN Story Highlights Saskatchewan

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Saskatchean you could say hit it big time when on March 4, CNN did a story about Saskatchewan being a “hot spot” for jobs in Canada.  As you can imagine with the current international economic crisis this was picked up by just about everyone.  Saskatchewan runs a government sponsored job website called  The government reported that since 2 days of the CNN story going out the website had 52,000 hits including a single day record of 27,800.  The largest increase we saw on the website was from American visitors.  On one day alone there was 3,300 visitors which is 10 times the average.  87% of those total hits were new visitors.

The website currently hosts 5,800 jobs openings.  “Saskatchewan continues to be a light in a dim global economic situation”, said Rob Norries, advanced education, employment and labour minister.

The artice was written by Mallory Simon and was the most viewed story on the day of its release and second most e-mailed story.  If you are from Saskatchewan I am sure you are like me and were very proud to see our great province getting some recognition.  There are a lot of people out there that assume everywhere is suffering with the current economic situation, but Saskatchewan is staying strong.  We will not be totally immune to it but we are far better than most.

I can say as a Saskatoon real estate agent that I have been receiving more inquiries and have been working with more people from outside of Saskatchewan than ever before.  We are seeing a lot of people moving back or moving here for the first time.  People will always go where the jobs are and currently they are here in Saskatchewan!

For more information on this story visit here.

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Four Provinces To Buck Recession

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Although no province will be entirely immune to the economic downturn, there are 4 provinces that are showing great resiliency and one of those is Saskatchewan. Given that Canada and the US share the world’s largest trading partnership ($1.5 billion a day) it is impossible to be spared from the massive US economic slowdown, however 2 eastern provinces and 2 western provinces will be growing this year…although not without some difficulty.

As Saskatchewan and Manitoba have strong agricultural economies, this is expected to help us move forward this year. Manitoba is set to grow 1% in 2009 while Saskatchewan is supposed to lead the country with a 1.6% growth. On the East Coast it is New Brunswick with a small 0.2% economic growth and PEI with a 0.6% growth. Both provinces have infrastructure and major capital projects on the go.

Newfoundland and Labrador may have two of the worst economies due to the impact of declining offshore oil output and may shrink by an estimated 2.6%. Ontario will struggle due to the manufacturing aspect with the auto industry and manufacturing is also hurting Quebec’s growth.

Alberta’s economy, which is heavily reliant on the energy industry, is forecasted to weaken as oil prices continue to go down and expensive oil sands projects are put on hold.

Overall, the Canadian economy will shrink 0.9% this year which is revised from the autumn forecast of a GDP growth of 2.2%

It is widely believed that the Canadian economy will rebound in 2010, expanding 3.6%. Good thing that the Saskatchewan economy is already strong!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Saskatchewan Lures Workers During Recession

Monday, March 16th, 2009

If you are looking for a job, Saskatchewan is the place to look! While the rest of Canada has seen declining jobs in inclining unemployment numbers, Saskatchewan has been facing a labour shortage. On February 20th, 2009 Rob Norns, Saskatchewan’s labour minister, stated “The message is clear: Saskatchewan is a land of opportunity”. The numbers tell much of the story and that most of North America has seen its unemployment numbers go up while Saskatchewan is bucking the trend. According to Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate dropped slightly from 4.2% in December, 2008 to 4.1% in January, 2009. While Ontario was losing 71,000 jobs and Quebec was losing 25,000 jobs, Saskatchewan added 1600 jobs during the same period.

Unemployment rates are high across the country with even British Columbia hitting 6% (Quebec is at 7.7%, Ontario 8%) but Saskatchewan has significantly lower unemployment rates.

We have lost workers to stronger economies in the past, but now Saskatchewan is focusing on getting our expats to come back. Our real estate in Saskatoon has hit the high and has now dropped to more acceptable and easier to digest prices.

But, don’t just pick up and move here to any old town. It is important to consider, when looking to move to some of the stronger economic provinces like Saskatchewan and Manitoba, if a community has enough things going for them. You don’t want to go to a town that only has one industry; a diversified local economy is important. One also needs to consider cost and quality of living. I can say that real estate in Saskatchewan, and more specifically, real estate in Saskatoon, is not cheap by any means, but we have seen the huge increase in prices followed by a decrease and now we are at a leveling out place that is much more affordable for people to buy a house in Saskatoon. Houses in Saskatoon are hopefully going to see another increase in price, but this may not happen until about 2010 as we have a lot of excess inventory to clean up.

But also consider, if you have been used to real estate prices in Victoria or Vancouver, you will be pleasantly surprised by the real estate prices in Saskatoon.

I expect we will see many more out of province people moving to Saskatchewan in the next year. Even though the international economic climate is so volatile we are monitoring the situation despite, at the moment, being one of the best provinces to weather the economic storm.

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Canada Top 10 and Worst 10 Real Estate Markets

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Canada’s 10 healthiest housing markets source CREA.

It is no secret that the Canadian real estate market, like all other markets in the world, has cooled off. Fortunately these 10 Canadian real estate markets are faring better than the rest. I am very happy to say that the Saskatoon real estate market is not only in the top 10 of Canada’s healthiest real estate markets, but Saskatoon real estate is in the top 5. Ask anyone who lives in Saskatoon (well, ask anyone who isn’t the doom and gloom type) and they will tell you that we are relatively untouched by the global economic crisis and that houses for sale in Saskatoon are selling! Saskatoon real estate did take a bit of a downturn, like everywhere else, but one of the reasons for this was that investors were all pulling out at the same time which meant a big increase in houses for sale in Saskatoon.

The housing market in Saskatoon appears to be stabilizing but it will take some time to clear up all of the excess inventory. There are still many good bargains to be had with the amount of Saskatoon houses for sale but many of the desperate sellers are now out of the market and people are not buying a new house before they sell their old house.

Here is the list of the 10 healthiest real estate markets in Canada.

#1 Newfoundland and Labrador
January 2009 average price: $192, 408
Change from January 2008: up 20.1% 

#2 Halifax and Dartmouth
January 2009 average price: $242, 861
Change from January 2008: up 11.1% 

#3 Quebec City
January 2009 average price: $201, 024
Change from January 2008: up 10.8% 

#4 Regina
January 2009 average price: $213, 622
Change from January 2008: up 7.6%

#5 Saskatoon
January 2009 average price: $278, 545
Change from January 2008: up 7.4% 

#6 Saguenay
January 2009 average price: $144, 237
Change from January 2008: up 6.9% 

#7 Durham Region
January 2009 average price: $257, 095
Change from January 2008: up 5.5% 

#8 Winnipeg
January 2009 average price: $183, 873
Change from January 2008: up 5.1% 

#9 Montreal
January 2009 average price: $242, 450
Change from January 2008: up 2.2%

 #10 Ottawa
January 2009 average price: $290, 930
Change from January 2008: up 1.8% 

Canada’s 10 most struggling housing markets

Unfortunately many of our Canadian cities have seen a big drop in real estate values, luckily Saskatoon real estate is staying strong. Here is a list of the top 10 struggling Canadian housing markets.

#1 Trois-Rivieres
January 2009 average price: $122, 486
Change from January 2008: down 14.9% 

#2 Victoria
January 2009 average price: $431, 312
Change from January 2008: down 14.7% 

#3 Saint John
January 2009 average price: $142, 218
Change from January 2008: down 13.9% 

#4 Calgary
January 2009 average price: $362, 143
Change from January 2008: down 11.4% 

#5 Vancouver
January 2009 average price: $536, 162
Change from January 2008: down 8.8% 

#6 Toronto
January 2009 average price: $343, 632
Change from January 2008: down 8.2% 

#7 St. Catharines and district
January 2009 average price: $208, 026
Change from January 2008: down 6.3% 

#8 Sudbury
January 2009 average price: $197, 327
Change from January 2008: down 6.0% 

#9 Hamilton-Burlington and district
January 2009 average price: $264, 549
Change from January 2008: down 4.9% 

#10 Edmonton
January 2009 average price: $317, 049
Change from January 2008: down 4.5%

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Saskatchewan Looking For Workers During Recession

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

While most of the rest of Canada is reeling with the recession, Saskatchewan is bringing in more workers. Our labour minister, Rob Morris, stated at the end of February 2009 that Saskatchewan is still facing a labour shortage.

The message is clear, Saskatchewan is now the “land of opportunity”. I see it in my day to day Saskatoon Real Estate career with houses for sale in Saskatoon…we are finally getting a lot more SOLD signs! SOLD in Saskatoon, yay!

From December 2008 until the end of January 2009 Saskatchewan jobs have increased by having 1600 added, while other provinces have lost almost 100,000.

Our local SaskJobs website has had an all time new record of hits last month from people looking for jobs in Saskatoon from outside of the province.

I have even had the opportunity to help sell real estate in Saskatoon to some lovely ladies from the Phillipines in recent months as well as to meet people from the Ukraine who were looking to buy a house in Saskatoon.

For years Saskatchewan has suffered “brain drain” and we have lost many talented workers and graduates that were produced right here in Saskatchewan and now we are embracing the change in the economy and we are luring them back. More ex-pats are buying houses in Saskatoon and more Saskatchewanites are looking at real estate in Saskatoon on my website.

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Stop Listing To The National News – Jobs In Saskatchewan

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Many Saskatchewan residents have finally stopped listening to the National News where it is all doom and gloom. The overall Canadian economy is much more bleak than in our province, where jobs in Saskatchewan are plenty. Although we are not immune to what is happening in the rest of Canada and the global economy overall, we have real and high quality jobs in Saskatchewan. Last year employers had a hard time finding enough people to work in Saskatchewan so the province organized a trade mission with the Phillipines and the Ukraine to fill the employment gap.

In November of this year it was reported that employment expectations remained strong and 32% of business owners expected to be hiring more people to their full-time jobs in Saskatchewan.

Many ex-pats are moving back to Saskatoon. As I sell houses in Saskatoon I am getting more and more emails and phone calls from people who are from here and are coming back home, looking to buy real estate in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon is great, we have a lot going for us in terms of many different industries and good tourism, government and high tech businesses.

Saskatchewan is monitoring the economic climate closely, but so far we seem to be weathering the storm better than most.

So, when you are looking for a job in Saskatoon and need a place to live, contact me, your local Saskatoon realtor, I can help!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.