Home sales through the Regina and area MLS® System in September were the lowest since 2005 and well below five- and ten-year averages, with federal mortgage qualification rules continuing to have a dampening impact on demand, said the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.

There were 238 sales recorded during the month in all geographic areas, down 19.3% from last year when 295 sales occurred. This is the lowest level of sales since 2005 when 228 sales occurred and well below the past 5-year average of 318 sales and 10-year average of 316. There were 195 sales recorded in the city, a decrease of 19.4% from 2017 when 242 sales were posted. The number of sales in the city was also below the 5-year average of 258 and 10-year average of 263.

For the September year-to-date there have been 2,433 sales recorded in all areas, a decrease of 7.1% from 2,619 in 2017. In the city, there have been 1,957 sales compared to 2,140 last year, down 8.6%.

For September, the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), a much more accurate measure of housing price trends than average or median price, reported a composite benchmark residential price of $277,000 and index of 259.3 in the city, down 4.7% from $290,700 at the same time last year. This is part of a price loss trend that began one year ago, and is now 8.8% below the composite price reported in September 2013 of $303,700. The HPI measures residential price trends based on four benchmark home types, with the index set at a base of 100 for January 2005.

The majority of this price loss has occurred in the last twelve months due to slowing demand, elevated supply levels and the cooling impact of federal mortgage stress rules introduced in the fall of 2016, with a second round in January 2018. These rules have distorted and weakened demand locally by causing many buyers hoping to purchase a home to seek lower price ranges to qualify for a mortgage or leave the market altogether.

The sales dollar volume of $72.0M posted in all geographic areas for the month was down 22.6% from 2017’s $92.9M. Dollar volume in the city of $57.6M was down 25.9% from 2017’s $77.6M.
In the city, there were 1,652 active residential listings on the market at the end of September, an increase of 11.1% from 2017’s 1,482 but down roughly 100 listings from the summer months.

There were 502 new listings placed on the MLS® System during the month in all geographic areas, down 16.2% from 2017’s 599.

Homes that did sell in the city sold in an average of 61 days in the city and 68 days in all areas. These compare to 54 and 61 days respectively last year.

“With demand already below recent levels due to economic factors, it has been impacted even further by federal mortgage rules making it more difficult for buyers to qualify for financing. These rules, primarily intended to cool off overheated markets in Vancouver and Toronto, have been applied to all markets in the country whether needed or not, including ours,” said Gord Archibald, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc. “The rules should be applied on a regional basis where needed, not with a broad-brush across all Canadian markets. As a result, many local buyers have been unnecessarily put on the sidelines.”