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Despite these challenges, the property market in Saskatchewan has so far been relatively resilient.
Although new listings and average prices fell 4.4% and 0.2% respectively in the first quarter compared with last year, sales increased by 7.0% in the first quarter. However, the real impact of the pandemic did not begin to be felt until April, and although activity decreased, it was not as severe as expected.
The number of newly listed houses in the province is down 48.1% from April last year, while sales are down 45.1%. This is in sharp contrast to the SARS pandemic, which reduced trading volume by 72 per cent in some markets and stopped trading altogether during the COVID-19 period in some markets. Average house prices fell 3.2% in April from a year earlier, in line with modest declines in other markets affected by the pandemic.
Evidence from previous epidemics suggests that once physical quarantine is relaxed, trading volumes will soon return to normal. Jason Yochim, chief executive of the Saskatchewan Realtors Association, said the province has only just begun to reopen its economy, and we expect “a small reduction in the real estate industry in Saskatchewan as a result of this shutdown.”
Home sales generated about $54000 in additional derivative spending in many areas of the economy. Reducing restrictions on the home purchase process has the potential to increase employment and help the province’s economy recover and offset losses in other areas of the economy.
“the number of jobs and necessary economic activity created when buying or selling houses is considerable,” Yochim said. “once the province is reopened, sales that did not occur during the pandemic will be recovered.”
REALTORS in Saskatchewan has taken all possible measures to protect the public safety of COVID-19 and realized at an early stage that the business could not be carried out as usual. The industry has been working hard to develop and provide a large number of virtual resources for REALTORS and buyers and sellers, which has proved to be priceless when keeping distance from society in practice.
Sales of Saskatoon fell 43.9%, from 380 in April 2019 to 213 in April 2020, and 44.9% across the region, from 514 to 283. In Saskatoon, sales are 34.3% below the five-year average (and 40.5% below the ten-year average), while in larger areas, sales are 35.1% lower than the five-year average (42.9% below the ten-year average). Year-to-date sales of Saskatoon (YTD) are down 10.8% from a year earlier, from 1048 to 935, while sales in larger regions are down 10.9% year-to-date, from 1422 to 1267.
The city’s sales fell 44.2 per cent to $72.4 million from $129.6 million in 2020 (35.6 per cent lower than the five-year average and 42.9 per cent below the 10-year average). Year-to-date sales in the city are $312.2 million, down 9.0 per cent from last year. In the region, sales fell 44.2%, from $166 million to $92.7 million (35.4% lower than the 5-year average and 42.7% lower than the 10-year average). Year-to-date sales in the region have also fallen by 9.6%, from $443.7 million in 2019 to $401.3 million in 2020.
The number of new houses in April 2020 was also lower than last year. New housing in Saskatoon fell 36.7 per cent, from 774 to 490 (36.1 per cent lower than the five-year average and 37.5 per cent below the 10-year average), while the situation in the region was even worse, with new housing down 43.6 per cent. From 1201 last year to 677 this year. Active housing in Saskatoon also fell by 17.9 per cent (from 1781 to 1463), while active housing in the region fell by 16.4 per cent (from 3240 to 2708).
Saskatoon’s sales-to-listing ratio is 43.5 per cent, compared with 41.8 per cent in the region, indicating a more balanced market in the region.
Saskatoon homes stayed on the market for an average of 56 days in April, unchanged from 56 days last year (but still slightly higher than the 5-year average of 52 days and the 10-year average of 44 days). By 2020, houses in the region will stay on the market longer than urban houses, with an average of 67 days, a slight increase from last year’s average of 65 days.
The median house price of Saskatoon fell from $332000 to $320000 (down 3.6 per cent), about 1.8 per cent below the five-year average and 2.4 per cent below the 10-year average. The MLS home price index (HPI), a more accurate measure of house price trends, rose 2.4% from $302200 to $305600. The median house price in the region also fell 1.2 per cent, from $313750 to $309900, 2.1 per cent below the five-year average and 2.1 per cent below the 10-year average.