P.A. housing market in a slump

By Glenn Hicks
May 3, 2018 - 5:00pm

Prince Albert’s residential housing scene remains in the doldrums, making it very much a buyer’s market.

According to the latest statistics from the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors, which oversees the Prince Albert market, every indicator is showing significant declines compared to last year.

“For the first four months of this year we’re seeing declines in sales activity, new listings coming onto the market, and the average sales price compared to a year ago,” CEO Jason Yochim told paNOW. “In 2017 we had something like 121 sales for the first four months of the year in the City of Prince Albert proper, and that’s down to 92. That’s a 22 per cent decrease, which is a significant number.”

Yochim said the numbers weren’t unexpected, given the state of the provincial economy and downturn in the resource sector, but he also blamed the recent stiffening of mortgage borrowing rules. The tougher financial “stress test’ effectively reduces spending ability by roughly 20 per cent.

The latest statistics for P.A. don’t make for pleasant reading, unless you’re a buyer.

The total sales dollar volume for April, compared to April 2017, was down 49 per cent. Year-to-date the decline was 23 per cent. The median home sale price for April was $211,500, which represents a 12 per cent decrease compared to $239,900 a year ago.

Asked if the P.A. property market had hit bottom, Yochim said it’s getting close.

“I think we’re looking at probably a year to 18 months and we’re getting close to the bottom, but it’ll take that long to see a recovery,” Yochim said.

Yochim’s advice for owners who still want or need to sell, despite the tough conditions, was to get someone who has knowledge of the market to help. He said factors such as timing, and market knowledge will be the keys to setting the right price.

“Stuff will sell in any market,” he said.

Despite the recent slump, Yochim said he remains optimistic about the future of the market.

“If there’s a lot of product on the market right now and prices are down, which they are, maybe that is a good time to look at a purchase because everybody’s going to scramble when the market does hit bottom and turn," he said. "You may want to do it before then.”

Year-to-date there have been 227 properties listed on the MLS service, a 15 per cent drop from 2017. As spring blooms, more for "for sale" signs are expected to crop up on residential streets.


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