Archive for the ‘News’ Category

World Wide Shortage of Isotopes Affects Saskatoon Health Region

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

The Saskatoon Health Region was forced to cancel 91 tests this week with a total of 167 patient scans cancelled thus far. As the world’s supply of radioisotopes is continuing to face a shortage, so will our health region. The shutdown of the Chalk River, Ontario reactor is the cause of the shortage. The shutdown is expected to last another 3 months at least and up to an entire year.

The Saskatoon Health Region received only 4 generators of radioactive isotopes this week, which is a small fraction compared to the usual 17.5 generators per week.

This shortage is forcing Canada to seek out deals with other isotope suppliers in South Africa and Australia. Luckily, Canada stepped up to the plate when the Petten reactor in the Netherlands was down and provided a significant amount of additional isotopes. There are isotope producing reactors in Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, Argentina and Australia.

The nuclear reactor in Chalk River was shut down earlier this week after it started leaking radioactive heavy water. This particular reactor produces 80% of the isotopes for Canada’s needs and 40% of the world’s need for isotopes comes from Chalk River.

Isotopes produced here help 20 million people in 80 countries each year, but it is 52 years old and it is showing its age being the oldest reactor in the world.

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

U.S. Home Prices Rise For First Time In A Year

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

January saw US house prices rise by 1.7% compared with December, 2008. Over the past year US house prices have been down 6.3% and down 9.6% from the peak in April 2006 and in December the year-over-year decline was 8.8%.

There have been some stronger sales in some markets in the beginning of this year which is contributing to the increase.

Of course a turnaround in the US house price cannot yet be determined as there must be several consecutive months of increase to call it a turnaround.

Led by the pacific side of the US with a 21.1% decrease house prices were down in all 9 regions of the country last year. The smallest decline was the 0.4% drop in the West South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana)

I can’t help but wonder if some of this increase has to do with Saskatchewan real estate savvy buyers who have been buying properties in the US. Many Canadians have been going to the US in the past year to purchase real estate with the equity they have gained in their Saskatoon houses.

The pacific states still registered a decline while the other 8/9 regions showed either a constant or an increase in prices with a rise of 3.9% in the East North Central Region (Great Lakes region) and 3.6% in the South Atlantic region (Delaware to Florida).

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

Century 21 Conexus Realty Wins 2008 #1 Firm Award!

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

During our Century 21 Awards Gala in Saskatoon on March 6, 2009, it was announced that Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd has won the #1 firm award in Canada for both production and units. This is the third year we have won this award.

Rod Spence, Vice President of Real Estate, is proud of his team of agents and employees. “As experts in the industry, our agents and employees are committed to providing professional service and knowledge to each of our customers,” says Spence. “Aside from our dedicated agents and employees, our success can be attributed to our unique partnerships,” continues Spence. “With training support from CENTURY 21 Canada, we have developed the skills needed for achieving our goals. Through our parent company Conexus Credit Union, we are able to meet all the real estate needs of our customers. From mortgages and investments to home insurance, we offer customized solutions.”

Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd currently has 7 offices and over 200 real estate agents across Saskatchewan. Century 21 Conexus in Saskatoon has shown a lot of strength across the country and world and Century 21 has a heritage of professionalism, dependability and customer understanding. Century 21 can be found world wide and is the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization.

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty

First Time Home Buyers – Now Is Your Opportunity

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

During the past year market conditions have improved vastly for first time home buyers in Saskatoon. While last year it was very hard to get into the market for first time buyers, this year it is easier to buy a house in Saskatoon as well as to get a good mortgage rate when buying a house in Saskatoon.

While last year the starting price for a 1 bedroom apartment style condo was around the $140,000 mark this year you can get into a 1 bedroom apartment style condo in Saskatoon for as little as $120,000. The house prices in Saskatoon peaked in the spring of 2008 and then went through a correction due to the high inventory of houses for sale in Saskatoon. New listings in Saskatoon went up to a record high in the summer of 2008 and due to that excess of inventory the house prices in Saskatoon dropped a bit. First time home buyers in Saskatoon should be taking advantage of the price decrease plus the incredible interest rates.

Certain communities in Saskatoon also allow for easier purchasing with first time home buyers in Saskatoon. On the west side, some of the favorable areas for first time home buyers are Mount Royal and Hudson Bay Park and on the east side of Saskatoon the favorable areas include Nutana and Avalon. These areas have more entry level homes than areas like Lakeview or Briarwood, but Nutana still has some very pricey homes due to its location close to the popular “Broadway” district and the downtown of Saskatoon.

Regina has also seen a correction in real estate prices down from 2008 and is also a favorable market for first time home buyers. A large number of houses for sale in Regina makes it a ‘buyers market’ and gives buyers the upper hand. Both Regina and Saskatoon are seeing a buyer’s market in 2009.

For more information on the Saskatoon real estate market be sure to contact me!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd

Surplus Budget in Saskatchewan Despite Recession

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

While most other provinces in Canada are projecting deficits, the Saskatchewan economy has given us a budget surplus with tax cuts and money for roads, schools and hospitals. For home owners in Saskatchewan this also means a decrease in property taxes that means more money in Saskatoon home owners pockets…but less than Regina home owners.

The average household in Saskatoon will save $100/year whereas home owners in Katepwa (rural resort community) could save up to $1333.

The Sask Party government boasts that the $103 million cut to education portion of property taxes is the largest in Saskatchewan’s history. This is also long overdue as the government currently funds about 51% of education costs for K-12 schools and property owners have been paying for the rest. Residents and business owners have long complained that high property taxes are a burden and are preventing our competitiveness. This change would make the Saskatchewan government pay for about 63% of education funding. It is projected that our surplus will be approximately $425 million for 2009/2010 while keeping about $1.1 billion in a rainy day fund.

At least we are cautiously optimistic still and are aware that the economy in Saskatchewan is not immune to what is happening in the rest of the world. In past years it was oil and gas revenues that helped us out but with oil prices in Canada and worldwide being so low this year compared to last it is actually potash that is bringing in the money now. Potash is a pink mineral used to make fertilizer and the revenue of it is forecast to be $1.9 billion in 2009/2010 which is an increase of almost $430 million from last year. These numbers are dependent on the demand for potash of course and would change if potash were to go down like oil did so we know we are vulnerable to the rest of the world’s markets but we also know the rest of the world needs to eat.

While Saskatchewan’s economy is flourishing, others are not faring well at all. The New Brunswick government is going close to $1 billion in the red and had to cut 700 civil service jobs and had to cut programs. Ontario’s budget is expected to show a deficit of around $18 billion over 2 years. Even our energy rich neighbour, Alberta, is expected to see their first deficit in 15 years.

Saskatchewan will bump up its funding to schools by $241 million to $990 million this year. We are also going to get a boost in schools, roads and hospitals. As a Saskatchewan resident for many years I say halleluiah to the roads!! The province is also putting $1 billion toward capital funding for infrastructure on top of the $1 billion in last year’s budget and another half a billion announced in February. This spending also includes the $100 million for a new children’s hospital in Saskatoon as part of a 2-year, $200 million commitment.

Money is also being given out to help with some of the on going problems that we have been seeing such as improving the child welfare system (nearly $25 million towards this including $9.2 million to address the overcrowding issue). This comes after the announcement last month by Saskatchewan’s children’s advocate released a scathing report that Saskatoon foster homes are more overcrowded than anywhere else in the country.

Farmers and ranchers will also see more money during tough times with money going towards aid programs such as crop insurance.

But, students beware as the tuition freeze from 2005 is coming to an end, but the budget is providing $23.5 million to help universities limit cost increases to an average of 3%.

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.