Archive for September, 2010

More Cars than People in Saskatoon?

Friday, September 24th, 2010

According to an article from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix there are more cars than people in Saskatoon. This was the same in 2007. As a real estate agent in Saskatoon I obviously have a car. A car being singular. I can’t do my job without a car.

Our population in Saskatoon is around 220,000 people but there were almost 229,000 registered vehicles in our city. There needs to be a shift as our roads are becoming more congested and only approximately 21% of people do not drive their cars to work. The national average is 28% and it is believe the goal should be more like 30%. It is a hard thing to accomplish though as our only other mode of transportation in Saskatoon is the bus.

It is said that during the past 10 years the number of trips across the Circle Drive bridge jumped by more than 20,000 a day and the commute time has doubled. As a Saskatoon real estate agent I have noticed this drastic change in the amount of time it can take me to get to appointments.

Some of the reasons for the increase in cars has to do with the weath of the city. Many more teenagers now have their own cars in Saskatoon. There are also likley more people out in the work force and the multi-vehicle family is now the norm.

The city of Saskatoon has added a universal bus pass to students, brought in a bus pass program for employers, upgraded the transit network to add rapid routes, and and upgraded bike network? Come on! If we lived in a city that wasn’t -50 in the winter that $2M may have been well spent but I have to say that wasn’t the smartest use of money and I don’t usually have a big opinion on things the city does. Everything else though, great! Will it make a difference? Not likely.  

Here are some stats from SGI (Saskatchewan Government Insurance)

Year-People vs Vehicles
*including seasonal vehicles

Driving in this city has been less carefree and much more stressful, even in the past 5 years. I have been a Saskatoon real estate agent for over 3 years now and I can tell the difference even in 3 years of spending so much time on the roads. If you are thinking about buying a house for sale in Saskatoon and you want to speak to an experienced Saskatoon real estate agent give me a call and let me make your Saskatoon home buying process successful and enjoyable…even with our traffic!

Kari Calder
Century 21 Saskatoon

Canadians Are Getting Fatter!

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Just as I am trying to get fitter an article comes out like this one in the Star Phoenix that makes me happy I am making the choice to move in the right direction. The results are astounding! Sixty percent of Canadian adults are overweight with 24 percent of people(1 in 4) being obese. I am curious where each province ranks in the order of things. Saskatchewan is probably in the middle? Men are worse off at 66% while women are 54% overweight. I think many of these are realtors in Saskatoon as we spend a lot of time on the run and driving around so take out is a part of life for the busy Saskatoon real estate agent.

Canada follows behind our super-sized neighbours to the South. The worst are the U.S, Mexico, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Surprisingly, France, with their foie-gras, croissants, cheese, and other rich foods is one of the lowest ones.

The thinnest, Japanese. Only 24% are considered overweight and a mere 3% obese. Maybe we should take more advantage of all the Japanese restaurants in Saskatoon that have popped up over the last year. While Otowa, Yohei, Sushiro and the Samurai have been here forever it seems, we now have had a big influx of Sushi places in Saskatoon. A personal fave of mine is Go for Sushi on 8th Street where Sew and Home used to be. My nieces (5 and 8) LOVE sushi as it was introduced to them at an early age and thought it was funny we had “Gopher Sushi” as that is what they thought the name was. There are also 2 New Island Sushi restaurants and Nagoya. I am probably missing some. Next time Taste of Saskatoon comes around in the summer (popular Saskatoon event) try some sushi if you have never had it. It isn’t all raw fish!

As a busy Saskatoon real estate agent I would love to know if we have a Sushi go round type of place. When I lived in Australia I had one near my home and it was the perfect place to stop for a snack. You sit at an eating bar with strangers and watch a conveyer belt of individually plated sushi go around in front of you and take off whatever you want and are charged by the plate colour. As a realtor in Sasktaoon I would love to have a few of those around the city instead of having to go to a fast food place.

By 2020 it is expected that 3/4 of Americans will be overweight. Canada isn’t expected to get that fat that fast! Hopefully more people will fall in love with Japanese food and rituals and turn our numbers around. It is a big drain on our health care system and not the right way to ‘trim the fat’ of our society when it is said to be the cause of 25,000-40,000 premature deaths in Canada.

If you are a woman of my height (5’5″) and close to 150 lbs you are overweight. If you are around 180 lbs at my height, well, you are obese! So Canada, get off your butts and try to fix those numbers!

Kari Calder
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd
Saskatoon, Sk

Fears of Housing Bubble-Overblown?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Housing bubble or no housing bubble? It seems the debates never end on these topics lately and it comes down to differing opinions and research techniques. In a recent article in the Star Phoenix it appears that rumblings are overblown. They use words like “seem” and “could” to protect their assets. There are some left-leaning groups who look at worst case scenarios and publish that we “could” see prices plummett by 20-38% in Canada’s major real estate markets with a best case scenario of 19-29%. Really? The catastrophic US meltdown saw a national drop of about 30%. One of our leading think tanks, the Conference Board of Canada, thinks no bubble, instead just a return to normal as salese were too high to be sustainable according to Mario Lefebvre.

Prices rose in July from June in 19 of the 28 Canadian cities studied and all had prices that were above last years levels. One has to keep in mind though that average house price in Saskatoon, and everywhere else, is simply determined by adding the cost of each home and dividing by the units sold. In Saskatoon in any given month we may see a greater number of high end houses for sale in Saskatoon that sell vs small basic condos for sale in Saskatoon. These change the average house price in Saskatoon drastically so I would imagine it is the same across the country.

Overall the actual experts find little cause for concern, but that doesn’t stop the negativity and part of my job as a Saskatoon real estate agent is to educate. There will always be negative people in the world and even in the Saskatoon real estate community who believe everything they read, but it must get exhausting as there are so many contractions in the media!

I cannot stress enough how unfair it is to look at the entire country of Canada and lump each community under one heading. There are so many factors even in Ontario and BC but unfortunately they are still seen as the beginning and the end of our great country. The prairies and especially Saskatchewan are starting to stand their ground as confidence grows. The 2 agreed upon places where prices may come down are Vancouver and Montreal as the prices have shot up out of control. Saskatoon real estate is still strong thanks to our many resources.

Interest rates also play a role as the 80’s and 90’s saw home prices staying between 3 and 4 times the median income yet now they are between 4.7 and 11.3. Interest rates should not be reaching 20% like they did back then as they are only increasing slightly. If you are in that 11.3 group though I would hope you have some extra money coming in! If you need information on getting a mortgage in Saskatoon let me know!

If you are thinking about buying a house for sale in Saskatoon and you have questions about the Saskatoon real estate market I would love to speak to you and help you in your Saskatoon home purchase (or Saskatoon condo!)

Kari Calder
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd Saskatoon

Saskatchewan to Lead Canada in Economic Growth in 2010

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Finally! Some location appropriate news after all the doom and gloom CMHC newscasts lumping all of Canada under one heading. The Saskatoon Star Phoenix has printed an article today from Regina that sheds better light on our local markets and will reflect upon Saskatoon real estate markets.

According to the RBC, Saskatchewan is set to lead the country and a lot of that is due to the huge increase in Potash production. Our economic growth rate is predicted to be 6.3%. Potash production in Saskatchewan has increased 130% in the first 5 months of 2010 and is expected to make up for weakness in the oil and natural gas production sectors in our province. Due to the large cutbacks in potash production in 2009 Saskatchewan’s economy did see a contraction. As a Saskatoon real estate agent people from other parts of the world often ask what makes us so different. It is our diversity! These cutbacks hurt us but didn’t render us as bad as oil did to Alberta.

Had agriculture in Saskatchewan not been so negatively impacted by mother nature’s rains this year our growth would have been even higher. It is expected the growth in Saskatchewan will moderate in 2011 as GDP is still expected to rise 4.8% with continued growth in the global economy leading to an increase in energy production and agricultural output.

It seemed like there were less parents coming to buy condos for sale in Saskatoon for their kids for the school year this year than in previous years and a lot of that had to do with the bad farming year we experienced. Real estate in Saskatoon in general slowed down this summer but that is not abnormal for our summer months. Realtors in Saskatoon and Saskatoon home buyers/sellers all like to try to enjoy the short summers that we have!

Kari Calder
Century 21 Saskatoon

Saskatoon New Development

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

More development means more demand for Saskatoon real estate-both commercial real estate in Saskatoon and residential real estate in Saskatoon. With the number of ongoing projects indicates that there are about 5000 man years of employment created with projects already started at the University of Saskatchewan and another 10,000 man years to be created with construction planned in the next 5 years.

The new Circle Drive project in Saskatoon (which Saskatoon realtors will love once completed!)is creating between 2000 and 2500 man years of employment, River Landing in Saskatoon is creating approximatley 4000 and the Jansen mine will create at least 8000 man hours of direct employment (20,000 in spin offs) and another 1000 a year for on going operations.

Whatever happens with PCS and BHP Billiton the Jansen mine will go ahead. It won’t be until the year 2026 that the mine will be at full production of 10 million tons a year. The mine is located 140 km east of Saskatoon. What a boost to Saskatchewan!

Other new development is the new eco centre building at the Saskatoon Farmer’s Market for $30M which will consist of 64 apartment unit/education centre combined with commercial space.

Families in need of Saskatoon homes also welcome a new low-income housing complex next to the Light House on 20th Street which will offer 65 units of low income housing in Saskatoon.

To supply the new potash mine at Jansen a new South East water supply system is going in to the tune of $100 Million.

For years we have been wondering what is going in across from TCU Auditorium (Centennial) and you can slowly see progress on the new Holiday Inn Saskatoon. Pacific Avenue is seeing further development with a new office tower, these two projects are costing $35 Million and $8 Million respectively.

Plans have been approved for a new location for the bus barns, to be moved from Caswell Hill. This will run the $20 Million mark but should improve the Caswell Hill location for residents.

The largest new development announced is Bethany Manor, a long term/seniors health facility in Saskatoon. This is to cose $120 Million and will be located on the corner of Pinehouse and La Ronge Road. It is the current site of the Lawson Heights tennis courts and skateboard park. This park will be moved to a new location between Henk Ruys Soccer Centre and the recycle depot on Primrose. Phase one will consist of 160 senior suites, 124 in phase 2 and a 150 suite health care facility in phase 2.

Knights of Columbus Saskatoon is also opening an affordable seniors housing complex in Saskatoon with 72 units and it will be near 20th and Ave P. This will be in the $8 Million range.

We have another new gas station in Saskatoon with a Co-Op Gas Bar going in at 51st and Millar Avenue for $3.3 Million.

As a realtor in Saskatoon it is great to see that Saskatoon is continually expanding. We are fortunate in this economy to keep pushing forward.

Kari Calder
Century 21 Conexus Saskatoon

Current Stats

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Summer generally slows down home sales in Saskatoon as many people are off enjoying our few nice months out of the year. Whether it be at the abundant lakes we have in Saskatchewan or families taking vacations out of province, every Friday it seems the roads are packed to get out of the city of Saskatoon.

From August 23-August 30th there were 136 new listings hitting the  Saskatoon real estate market, down from 178 and 146 the 2 weeks prior. Saskatoon home sales were also up with 91 Saskatoon houses for sale going last week from 74 and 71 in the 2 weeks before.

We have a total of 1385 properties for sale in Saskatoon. There are 814 houses for sale in Saskatoon and 571 condos for sale in Saskatoon (or other not single family dwellings).

There are 1261 properties for sale near Saskatoon.

If you are thinking of listing your house for sale in Saskatoon give me a call. If you are thinking about buying a house for sale in Sasktoon I also work with a lot of buyers. I am a very active realtor in Saskatoon so that means I am up to date on what is happening each week in the Saskatoon real estate community.

Kari Calder
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd

CMHC-lumping all of Canada into one brief article seems hardly fair!

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

While I hate waking up to read reports from CMHC about sales to slow, housing starts to weaken, and prices to possibly lower as they lump all of Canada into one brief report that scares people. Saskatoon real estate is healthy at the moment with people back from summer holidays and starting to buy more of the houses for sale in Saskatoon than throughout the summer. As a Saskatoon realtor I noticed less farmers purchasing condos for sale in Saskatoon this year than previous years for their kids attending the U of S but that was due to the record breaking rain falls in our province this year.

The Star Phoenix printed an article from Ottawa about CMHC commenting on sales and prices to go down. Most people are informed enough not to jump on the ‘oh my CMHC says it so it must be true’ bandwagen but there are a lot of consumers who still put their faith in everything the news says. If you listened and believed everything in the media you probably wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning!

While there are certainly cities that have forced the numbers down there are also many cities and provinces that keep the numbers from crashing entirely. Ontario and BC aren’t helping the Canadian real estate forecast as the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax have negatively affected the market.

You have to take all media with a grain of salt, especially when they continually lump all of Canada in one short article. It would be similar to stating that the crime rate in Canada is the same in every community…across the country! Or that the weather in Saskatoon is the same as the weather in Yellowknife.

We are in a balanced real estate market in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan continues to buck the trend. We have felt the impact of the global economic market but our industries keep us going strong. There are still investors looking for investment properties in Saskatoon who look to purchase real estate in Saskatoon (as growth, while moderate, is still expected). With the decrease in mortgage rates once again it is advisable to find a Saskatoon mortgage broker to get you set up and locked in as that mortgage decrease makes a big difference in the long run.

Before the Saskatoon real estate boom in 2007 if a home for sale in Saskatoon sold for more than the buyer originally paid a few years prior, Saskatoon home sellers were ecstatic. After Saskatoon real estate fees if people made $5000 they were more than happy when they sold their houses for sale in Saskatoon. I think that the general public needs to go back to how things were and not necessarily expect to have enough money for a big mortgage jump/down payment to purchase their new house in Saskatoon. It often takes buying and selling houses in Saskatoon several times to get into your dream home, not from your starter home in Saskatoon to your dream home in Saskatoon in one leap.

Some people think it is cheaper to rent than buy a house for sale in Saskatoon. If you do the math and you spend an average of $900/month on rent that works out to be almost $11,000/year so if you ended up buying a house in Saskatoon and then having to put your Saskatoon house for sale in a year if you bought and sold for the same price you would more than likely break even.

If you are considering getting into the Saskatoon real estate market as a first time buyer in Saskatoon or you are new to Saskatoon give me a call. If you are thinking of listing your house for sale in Saskatoon contact me to discuss my marketing and my Saskatoon real estate services.

Kari Calder
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd
Saskatoon, Sk