Housing sales take a dive in July

Herald file photo.

Housing sales in Prince Albert took a steep nosedive in July, but the CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors (SRAR) isn’t concerned about what he described as an “anomaly.”

A mere 25 Multiple Listing System (MLS) transactions were recorded in P.A. last month, a 49 per cent decline compared to July of 2017. The five-year average for July home sales is 43. So far this year, there have been 204 MLS sales so far this year, an 18 per cent decline from last year’s mark.

“It’s a bit of an anomaly because it’s just so far off of the radar,” said Jason Yocim, SRAR CEO. “This does not necessarily indicate an alarming trend. There are various factors that could have contributed to this decline which may be coincidence.”

Year-to-date MLS sales for P.A. and the surrounding region, including lake country totalled 327, a 19 per cent decline from last year. Residential dollar volume is down 20 per cent for the area at $74.2 million. Still, the city’s average year to date residential sale price is up 2.7 per cent year over year, coming in at $234,028. The regional average is slightly higher, at $241,336, a 4.2 per cent increase.

The total number of listings is also down, with 67 properties listed in the city for July, a 5.6 per cent decline. So far this year, 495 properties have been listed on MLS, a 7.8 per cent decrease. The number of active listings was 336, consistent with the last three years, and the average time to sell a home — 66 days — is a decline of 10 days on the market from last month.

The current housing market is considered a buyer’s market.

“In both (Prince Albert and Saskatoon) we’ve been looking at a decline year-over-year just about every month,” Yochim said,” except in P.A., where the last couple of months was up a bit.”

The 25 sales for July is comparable to the 27 sales in April, where the spring market is just picking up.

To see the housing market pick up as a whole, Yochim said consumers need to feel more confident in the economy.

“If people feel confident in their future an in the economy, they’re more likely to go out there and make those larger purchases, especially a commitment to a house, because that’s a fairly long-term decision,” he said.

“if they’re a little uneasy, maybe that’s why we see a little bit of a decline year-to-date for sales.”

What’s needed, Yochim said, is a major announcement in the business world to instil some confidence, but he’s not aware of any on the horizon.

He also said that while the news Cameco was laying off about 700 people wasn’t good for economic confidence, he doesn’t think that is reflected in the monthly housing stats as it occurred just a week ago.

Mayor Greg Dionne was not available for comment.