The market is heating up! Bidding wars and quick sales are setting a new tone for the spring market this year, as the ready-for-sale properties are granted quick sales and high sale to list price ratios. This is yet another reminder to have your for sale property priced right and easy to show. It is fair to feel optimistic that spring market is indeed showing its true colours this year! The once strong buyers-market may soon be over as we transition into spring. It is clear that there is now progression in sales over January and February in comparison to weaker statistics in previous months.
Although the cooling local economy did slow down the sale of new homes, it did also help to re-adjust our once saturated inventory and minimize new housing starts, which in return have shown corrections in our pricing and inventory. Building permit values have been on the decline for the third consecutive month, and construction activity is off to a slower start in Regina this year, in comparison to the same period in 2015, as per the City of Regina’s monthly building permit report. The solution to inventory buildup last year was to cut housing starts significantly to just below 1,600 units, this being the fewest since 2010. The builders are now in a position to focus on selling current inventory in lieu of weaker economic levels. A corrected market is the silver lining that we have all been waiting for!
The post correction result is allowing single-family housing starts to re-bound this year, while another big drop in multiple starts is necessary to create a more balanced inventory. Total new housing starts in Regina have been lowered by nearly 15% to 1,360 units, keeping inventory within reason. Housing starts have remained under the 2000 mark since February of last year. Builders have worked hard to clear the current inventory and slow building starts. In comparison, Saskatoon saw notably reduced residential construction activity in February; last month featured 133 total housing starts, lowering 46 % from 247 in February of 2015, yet another progressive and corrective measure for the Saskatchewan Real Estate market.
In addition to the correction in inventory, there are many other positive changes to note in relation to our Real Estate Market. New schools are scheduled to be built and ready for students by September of next year in Greens on Gardiner in Harbour Landing, and Rosewood Park in Coppertown. I am left to wonder whether this will add movement among residents in honour of the new schools in these newly developed areas, to add to the growth and sustainability in our Real Estate Market. Down-town Regina is also proposed to expand to new boundaries which would bring more than 160 additional properties, adding businesses south of 13th Avenue, east of Osler Street, and those along Broad Street to College Avenue as per the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID). The idea is being explored and could make an impact. Perhaps this will help shake up some movement in Real Estate downtown, considering it will add to the shops and businesses available within the downtown district for residents and visitors with the expansion and revitalization in the works.
Regina’s hiring climate is expected to improve in the second quarter this year, as per the latest Manpower employment outlook survey released. The survey indicates 30% of employers plan to hire for the upcoming quarter from April to June.
In conclusion, due to the growth and proposed productivity within the lo-cal economy, I am optimistic of the sustainability and up-sweep in the current real estate market, achieved by the correction in inventory and future plans for the City of Regina and Saskatoon alike. Happy Spring Everyone!