Archive for November, 2009

Latest MLS Stats

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Despite MSN news that says Saskatoon is one of the slower real estate markets, I think Saskatoon real estate agents would disagree.

The MLS in Saskatoon stats show that we had 95 new listings, down from 114 the week before. Our solds were also down a bit, but in relation to listings we are still going strong. We had 73 solds last week with 16 more the week before.

Total active houses for sale in Saskatoon are down to 879 from 907 just 2 weeks ago. Out of that 516 are single family homes for sale in Saskatoon, down from 540 2 weeks ago.

Out of town listings are also coming down. We are now sitting at 948 houses for sale outside of Saskatoon, down from 984 just 2 weeks ago.

So if you are looking to sell your house in Saskatoon, don’t go it alone. Hire a professional who will price your home appropriately and who will ensure only pre-qualified buyers view your house for sale in Saskatoon. As a home seller in Saskatoon, this will save you a lot of time and potentially heart ache and ensure you are getting top dollar for your house for sale in Saskatoon.

If you are a first time buyer in Saskatoon looking to get into the Saskatoon real estate market you should contact me. You don’t pay anything when you are buying a MLS listed house which is why the majority of home buyers in Saskatoon use our services. We protect your best interests and ensure you are getting a fair price and the best terms possible in your purchase. Some people who have their house for sale privately in Saskatoon are hiding things and they do not have the same requirements as sellers going through an agent, so be wary!

Kari Calder
Residential Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.
Saskatoon, Sk

What You Hear in the Media-Truth or Fiction?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

The media is bringing up the possibility that Saskatchewan may be in a recession (the textbook variety) by the end of the year, so I figured I better address this as I know how the media grabs hold of negativity and so many doom and gloomers out there will be worried that the sky will fall in here after all of our positive media for the past couple of years. We have all known for months that the Potash in Saskatchewan hasn’t been as lucrative as years past. This is related to the world wide economic crisis which has effectively passed. Our potash industry will still feel a bump from that and our financials will take a hit, but does this mean the end for Saskatchewan? No.

The media has also said that the Saskatoon real estate market is amongst some of the slowest markets in Canada. I think every real estate agent in Saskatoon would beg to differ.

Remember to take the media with a grain of salt. That is all I will say!

The Saskatoon real estate market is starting to experience a turn from a balanced market to more of a sellers market as our listing numbers dip below 900 (approximately half of what we had on the market in 2008).

The current interest rates are still at 3.84% for a 5 year fixed term so it is still a great time for first time home buyers in Saskatoon to get out there and purchase!

Kari Calder
Residential Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Saskatoon Finally Going Green?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Officials say that Saskatoon will finally have a mandatory recycling program. At the rate Saskatoon is growing and producing waste, we will need a new landfill in 12 years at the cost of $75 Million.

Almost half of all waste going to the landfill in Saskatoon right now is organic material (43.5%). This is compostable waste that could be processed into fertilizer. A new organics facility in in the pre-design phase and is estimated to cost $7.2 Million. If all of this waste was diverted we would get an additional six to nine years of life out of the current landfill.

I am very supportive of the PRIVATE “Curbside Recycling Program” but it is a bit disappointing that this is a private program. Saskatoon is far behind so many other cities and the lack of mandatory recycling is unfortunate. Even cities like Prince Albert have 2 bins; one for household waste and one for recycling material. While it is not ‘mandatory’ per se, it is at least accessible for all households and easy to use. In other cities around the country and around the world they use clear plastic bags and each household is only allowed so much waste. By using the clear plastic bags, it can be monitored to show what people are throwing out and, if someone throws a cardboard box in the clear plastic bag, there are cities that will refuse to pick up the garbage that day. Saskatoon does have a long term waste diversion plan which would involve ‘user fees’  based on the amount of waste generated by each home and include this on a utility bill instead of in your taxes.

As a real estate agent in Saskatoon, one of the things I include in my ‘buyer’s pack’ upon possession (when a client gets possession of their new house in Saskatoon and area) is a flyer for Saskatoon Curbside Recycling. The other thing that I do to help the environment is I do not send out unsolicited flyers in the mail or contribute to junk mail.

I have tenants who moved from Ottawa to Saskatoon and one of their first questions was how to handle household waste. They were very accustomed to ‘green bins’ and they explained their city’s program to me. We could learn a lot from Ottawa and other municipalities that are doing such a good job of diverting garbage from the landfills. Lets hope that Saskatoon gets on board sooner than later and that the Saskatoon home owners cooperate to make our city a cleaner and greener city which is more attractive to people looking to move to Saskatoon.

Kari Calder
Residential Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Roughriders #1-First time in 33 Years!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

For the first time since 1976 the Saskatchewan Roughriders The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the best in the West! Mosaic Stadium in Regina saw a sold out crowd of 30945 and hosted the game against the Calgary Stampeders, who we dominated 30-14.

Some fans, my mom and dad from Estevan included, have been waiting 33 years for a victory like this. The Riders still have one more victory to attain before moving on to the Grey Cup in Calgary on November 29, 2009.

It is a big thing for the team, for the city of Regina, for the province of Saskatchewan and for the fans to be the host of the Western final. So now it is between the Stampeders and the Eskimos to see who will be up against the Riders in the Western Final.

If there is one thing about Saskatchewan I can say it is we are all proud to be from Saskatchewan and we have fans right across the country. Yes, it gets stupidly cold here in the winter in Saskatchewan, but besides the weather our province is home to a lot of great things and I think any football player in the CFL will say that Saskatchewan fans are the most loyal! But, my opinion is a bit biased 🙂

Go Riders!

Kari Calder
Real Estate Specialist

Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd Saskatoon

$150M Refinery Planned for Langham

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

The government of Saskatchewan has good reason to be happy with their efforts to attract Fortune Minerals Ltd. Edmonton and Winnipeg were also in the running to host the facility, but the interest expressed by Saskatoon and Saskatchewan was what tipped the scales and convinced the Ontario based company to base its gold, cobalt, bismuth and copper refinery here.

The proposed site is just east of Langham, which is about 30 kms from Saskatoon. It is near the main Canadian National line and is close to a major national highway and services such as power, water, and natural gas.

This refinery will process ore from Fortune’s NICO project in the NWT. They expect the project will be completed and up and running in 2012.

What this means for employment in Saskatoon is 85 highly skilled positions such as chemical and metallurgical engineers during NICO’s projected 15-20 year life. Why those chose Langham area: they wanted to be close to a city but far enough away as it is an industrial site. It is an easy commute from Saskatoon to Langham if workers prefer a larger city.

This is just another example of our booming province and it reinforces the strength that Saskatchewan continues to show.

Kari Calder
Residential Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

October Homes Sales Busier in 2009 than 2008

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Homes sales in Saskatoon continued to rise last month with a total of 311 houses selling at an average of just under $275,000. In the same month in 2008 only 213 houses for sale in Saskatoon sold. The average house price in Saskatoon is down from 2008 with that average being $285,547. Keep in mind that the average house price in Saskatoon does not take into factor how many condos vs single family homes have sold, so there are a lot of variables each month. This year an increase in sales of homes between $250,000 and $275,000 has helped contribute to this ‘decline’.
Other good news for the market, but not for some home buyers in Saskatoon, is the listings have now dipped below 1000 for the first time in more than a year. There were 971 homes for sale in Saskatoon this year compared to last year when there were 1667 houses for sale in Saskatoon.
CMHC’s senior market analyst for Saskatchewan, Paul Caton, believes the slower pace of housing activity in 2009 has allowed for a reduction in inventories, setting the stage for an increase in activity in 2010.
CMHC also predicts an increase from 3700 units selling in 2009 to 3900 units in 2010.
For all of you buyer’s who are contemplating waiting to buy a house in Saskatoon, don’t wait too long! We are already experiencing multiple offers on re-sale homes and, while we hope it doesn’t come to ‘presentation of offers’ again where you may be up against as many as 20 other buyers for the same house, it is a possibility.
For all your Saskatoon residential real estate needs, contact your Saskatoon real estate agent, Kari Calder.

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

First Time Home Buyer Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

As a Saskatoon real estate agent, I enjoy working with first time home buyers in Saskatoon. I have a few documents for my first time home buyers in Saskatoon which helps answer questions before they arise and it is always a good thing to come back to when looking to buy a house for sale in Saskatoon and area.
The whole process can feel overwhelming, whether this is the first time you have bought a house for sale in Saskatoon or whether you have bought many homes for sale in Saskatoon.  That is why I am here!
One of the first things to consider and think about is your credit rating.
Most people don’t know their credit rating and a good credit rating will improve your ability to get a loan. If your credit rating needs improvement, you can do things like making sure you always make at least the minimum payments on your credit cards, loans or utilities and pay them in a timely fashion.

Second is being unrealistic about how much you can spend on your new home in Saskatoon and surrounding area. Most people over-estimate how much they can afford to spend. You can go to my website and check out my online mortgage calculator which will help you visualize payment amounts based on house price, how much you are putting down, and mortgage rate/amortization. Be careful with online mortgage pre-qualification as you may forget about something that has affected your credit or about loans.

Third is not considering mortgage pre-approval. You should always go in and meet with a mortgage professional to determine what you are pre-approved for. Knowing how much you can spend gives you confidence to begin looking at homes within your price range. This rate is guaranteed for 90 days, but if it goes down, which we are seeing, you can guarantee the lower rate for another 90 days.

Next is assuming you won’t qualify for a mortgage. Even if you have been bankrupt, been declined in the past, or had other problems, I can put you in touch with some really good mortgage brokers in Saskatoon whoc can shop around to help you get your dream home in Saskatoon by finding alternative mortgage solutions. It may cost you a bit more initially, but once your credit improves the mortgage broker will help you lower your mortgage cost in the future.

Fifth is not knowing all the down-payment options. There are so many different options depending on how much of a down payment you can afford. A conventional mortgage (25%) down, a high ratio mortgage (5% down minimum) or no down-payment (must have a minimum 1.5% value of the home set aside for closing costs as this has to be done in cash).

Sixth is if you are too focused on the interest rate rather than the overall solution. Your future plans will also determine the type of mortgage you go with, so it is important that your mortgage broker know what your plans are and they will help determine what will best suit you, your budget, and your future plans. This includes fixed rate mortgages, variable rate mortgages, and a combination of fixed and variable to benefit from both.

Next is not choosing your own mortgage payments schedule. If you make payments weekly vs monthly, you save a lot of interest in the long term. If you go with a longer amortization period you may have more room to manage your cash flow (ie: 35 years vs 25 years). If you increase your amortization period though you increase your interest costs. You do not have to stick with a 35 year amortization though after your first 5 years are up (if you lock in). Some companies also offer a ‘double up’ program and various other programs to let you put more cash onto your mortgage.

Finally, many first time home buyers in Saskatoon and area forget about closing costs and other non banking details. I work with a lot of first time home buyers so I ensure to coach them on the costs that will occur before possession can happen and those include the closing costs (lawyer fees, land title transfer fees, taxes, etc) There are also other costs such as paying for a professional home inspection, insurance, moving costs, etc.

Owning your own home is a milestone and it is very exciting to purchase your first home. Let me help you in that experience. I can help you find a qualified mortgage specialist who will get you the best rates and deals as well as help you with other professionals along the way.

For your first time home buying in Saskatoon needs, contact me!

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

Home Starts Rebounding Right into 2010

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

According to an article in the Financial Post today, housing starts are expected to continue to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2009 and into 2010 as inventories decline and demand increases.
Home contruction is forecase to reach just under 142,000 homes in 2009 and rise to almost 165,000 in 2010, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
CMHC Chief Economist, Bob Dugan, is optimistic and expects the housing market across Canada to continue to strengthen as the economic conditions continue to improve.
Existing home sales are expected to reach over 441,000 in 2009 and up to over 445,000 in 2010. Average house price is also slated to increase from just under $313,000 in 2009 to $324,500 in 2010.
We are already seeing the rebound in Saskatoon Real Estate with the markets having picked up substantially since July, 2009. If you are looking to buy or sell your house in Saskatoon, contact me for all of your Saskatoon Real Estate needs.

E.D.Feehan To Have A $5M Overhaul

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

E.D. Feehan High School, located in the Caswell Hill area of Saskatoon, will receive a major overhaul. E.D. Feehan’s enrolment dropped dramatically with the opening of a second Catholic high school in the city’s West side, Bethlehem High School.
The preliminary drawings were unveiled last week to allow more career training at the school. Renovations will begin in January, 2010 on the south end of the school’s main floor where those with intelluctual and/or physical disabilities are fully integrated.
The school has also received approval for a 50 spot day care centre. The preschool portion of the new day care will be ready for 30 preschoolers within about 6 months time. The second phase, which will accomdate 20 infants/toddlers, is expected to take longer.
Most of the work should be completed within 3 years, with the majority of the renovations taking place during the next 2 summers.
Post secondary  classes, such as a new “health campus”, will train students in the health care field and this is a joint venture with the Saskatoon Health Region and Gabriel Dumont Technical Institute.
The role of E.D. Feehan has changed and is now more of a community school and will create more opportunites for the community to use the school’s facilities. For example, the students in the school’s contruction program will be building a house at school for the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
The provincial government is contributing $3.75 million and the school division is giving the remaining $1.25 million.

Kari Calder
Residential Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

C21-#1 Fundraiser in Canada Award Goes to C21 Saskatoon!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

I am proud to be one of 62 realtors with Century 21 in Saskatoon! CREA (The Canadian Real Estate Association) has ranked Century 21 Conexus Realty in Saskatoon as the #1 Fundraiser in Canada…since 2004!

What does that mean? That means our company has beat out every other company, organization, etc across the country in our fundraising efforts for EVERY fundraiser held by every real estate organization in the country, for 6 years in a row!

Century 21 in Saskatoon  and the Century 21 realtors in Saskatoon, along with all of the support staff and their families, have raised funds for Easter Seals Camps. In the summer the 24 hour relay raised almost $40,000 and in September the popular “Easter Seals Drop Zone” raised more than $12,000. Realtors in Saskatoon with Century 21 and support staff alike harnessed themselves to the side of a high rise building and rappel downwards. But not this Saskatoon realtor ®. I prefer to stand and cheer on my fellow Saskatoon realtors and our amazing support staff. They support us in our daily jobs but also join in the support to send more than 6000 kids with disabilities annually to camp in 22 locations.

Way to go Century 21 in Saskatoon! If you want to help support Easter Seals then you can buy or sell a house through a Century 21 representitive in Saskatoon.

Kari Calder

Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

Residential Real Estate Specialist