Prince Albert housing market suffering from lack of inventory

Photo from Realtors say Prince Albert suffers from a lack of affordable homes, but it isn’t the only part of the province seeing that trend.

The Prince Albert region is much like the rest of the province when it comes to real estate.

The Saskatchewan Realtors Association released their Market Watch on Jan. 5 and according to Cole Zawislak, Director of Public Affairs Saskatchewan Realtors Association, Prince Albert is trending in a similar direction to the rest of the province, and that means a lack of affordable homes.

“It’s an inventory issue,” Zawislak said. “You will see Prince Albert is down over 32 per cent on the 10 year average, so we are seeing higher lending rates, inflationary pressures that are ongoing and pair that with declining inventory levels, particularly in more affordable homes which are priced under $500,000, and that is having an impact on sales.”

According to the Association, record sales of apartment condominiums were not enough to offset declining sales in detached homes, resulting in a 12 per cent decline in residential sales in 2022. While sales have eased compared to last year, a record year, the 15,334 recorded sales in 2022 were 15 per cent higher than long-term averages.

As many markets across the country are experiencing a strong shift in demand, Saskatchewan continues to report sales that are stronger than pre-pandemic levels.

“Province wide, as a whole, we are faring a lot better than many regions across the country and we didn’t see the large fluctuations in price during the highs when COVID was more prevalent,” Zawislak explained.

He explained that the fluctuations on the way down are not as volatile as in some areas of the country.

“We are still seeing sales that are stronger than pre-pandemic levels for the most part. Obviously, this month of December for Prince Albert was a little bit different…. The monthly sales comparison, it’s similar to December 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. Obviously, 2020 and 2021 were much different, but we are seeing for the most part sales consistent of above in many cases with pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

Zawislak said he can’t predict the future, but anticipates sales numbers will continue to stay positive, although he said declining inventory levels are concerning.

Provincially, there were 25,089 new listings in 2022, a seven per cent decline from the year prior and well below long-term trends. While the pace of inventory decline did ease over the second half of the year, 2022 inventory levels were 11 per cent below levels seen last year and 25 per cent below 10-year averages. Much of the decline in supply was driven by properties priced below $500,000, resulting in tight conditions in the lower-priced segment of the market.

Year to date, the Prince Albert region saw 747 housing sales, which was a decline of 22 per cent year over year. There were 1,224 listings in the region which was a decline of 11 per cent year over year. The inventory was 382 which was a 12 per cent decline year over year and the average price was $259,343 which was an increase of three per cent year over year.

Zawislak said that with the province announcing a significant immigration target and the recent federal announcement of record levels of immigration, there is a bright future.

“As these folks look to come to our province they are going to need homes, so we are keeping a very strong eye on the inventory level,” he said. “(That) is our biggest concern heading into the New Year and specifically with inventory in the more affordable price range in our housing continuum.

“We just highlight that while sales are down across the province in many regions it’s relative to 2021, which was a record year in many of these regions. While sales are down, and that is what a lot of people are taking away from it, we are faring better than many if not all regions across the country and

are reporting sales that are stronger than pre-pandemic levels.”