Jordan Boyes - Broker/Owner

Boyes Group Realty INC.

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Saskatchewan's 2023-24 Provincial Budget, tabled today by Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer, has a projected $1.0 billion surplus, driven by an economy that is leading the nation and creating thousands of new jobs.

"Saskatchewan is growing at its fastest pace in more than a century," Harpauer said. This budget is designed to ensure that growth continues and that it's growth that works for everyone."

There are no tax increases and no new taxes included in this budget, helping keep life affordable for Saskatchewan people. When taxes, utilities and housing costs are combined, Saskatchewan is the most affordable place to live in Canada for a family of four.

Saskatchewan's economy is expected to lead all provinces in growth in 2022. Momentum is forecast to continue in 2023 with Saskatchewan achieving the second highest growth according to private sector forecasts. The economy is driven by strong commodity prices, solid job growth, increased private investment and a rebound in crop production from the 2021 drought.

More people than ever are working in Saskatchewan. More than 20,000 full time jobs were created in 2022 and employment is expected to continue to grow this year and over the medium-term.

Strong Finances

The 2023-24 Budget projects a $1.0 billion surplus.

Revenue of $19.7 billion is forecast in the 2023-24 Budget, up $2.5 billion or 14.7 per cent, from last year's budget. The higher revenue forecast is largely due to $9.6 billion in taxation revenue, a $1.5 billion increase over last year with Corporate Income, Personal Income and Provincial Sales Tax revenue reflecting a strong economy.

Non-renewable resource revenue is forecast to be $3.3 billion, up $435 million over last year's budget, largely driven by solid potash and oil price expectations.

"With a growing economy and strong finances in Saskatchewan, our government will pay down up to $1.0 billion in operating debt this fiscal year, reducing interest costs and investing those savings into needed services, programs and capital," Harpauer said.

Including last fiscal year, debt retirement and lower borrowing have generated $117 million in annual interest savings.

Expense in the 2023-24 Budget is forecast to be $18.7 billion, up $1.0 billion or 5.9 per cent, from last year's budget.

Investing in Health Care

"This budget delivers a 6.7 per cent increase to the Ministry of Health to $6.9 billion, strengthening the health care system and taking significant steps to further attract, train and retain doctors, nurses and other key health care professionals in a growing province," Harpauer said.

The 2023-24 Budget includes $98.8 million, an increase of $82.7 million over last year's budget, for the Health Human Resources (HHR) action plan. The plan, funded through the ministries of Health, Advanced Education and Immigration and Career Training, will recruit, train, incentivize and retain health care professionals.

In Health, $55.5 million in this budget, an increase of $44.9 million from last year, will recruit 250 full-time positions and expand part-time positions in rural and remote areas around the province. The budget also includes support for recruiting internationally educated health care workers and for the College of Medicine for new academic and research positions, special residency seats and family medicine seats.

This budget invests $518 million into mental health and addictions programs and services, including a targeted investment of $12.4 million over last year, representing the highest investment ever in Saskatchewan for these programs and services. Mental health and addictions funding now makes up 7.5 per cent of overall health spending.

In Advanced Education, $25.2 million in new funding will expand training programs. Approximately 550 seats will be added across 18 health training programs to help address critical markets. The budget includes $10 million to support the continuation of a 150-seat expansion in nursing programs and $2.4 million to train internationally educated health care providers.

Immigration and Career Training supports the HHR action plan with $5.2 million in this budget to assist with initiatives to fill current vacancies through the licensing of internationally educated health care workers already in Saskatchewan.

This budget includes a $42.5 million increase to fund the largest volume of surgical procedures in the history of the province. 6,000 more surgeries will be performed this year, bringing the total to 103,000 and reducing the waitlist to its pre-pandemic level by March 2024, a year ahead of schedule.

A $39.0 million increase in this budget supports seniors' care and includes a number of important initiatives, including $17.6 million to procure additional long-term care beds in Regina and $9.3 million to support third-party long-term care providers. There is $5.5 million to hire 75 continuing care assistants (CCAs) for the final phase of the three-year $18.4 million government commitment to hire 300 CCAs to deliver home care and support services for seniors living in long-term care facilities.

A $7.0 million increase for more medical imaging, primarily CT and MRI scans, and a $2.6 million increase for more endoscopy procedures are included in this budget to help reduce wait times.

Investing in Education

The 2023-24 Budget includes more than $4.0 billion for Prekindergarten to Grade 12 and post-secondary education.

"More than 189,000 students are attending Kindergarten to Grade 12 in Saskatchewan, the most in more than 20 years," Harpauer said. "Growth that works for everyone means every student receives the best possible education."

In this budget, the Ministry of Education provides record investment of $3.1 billion, an increase of $192.8 million or 6.7 per cent over last year, to support schools, early learning, child care and libraries in a growing province. Saskatchewan's 27 school divisions will receive $2.0 billion in operating funding, an increase of $49.4 million over last year.

There is $23.0 million to support the startup and operation of the new Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation - Sask DLC. The new corporation offers more opportunities for students to access a wide variety of online courses from Kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as high school electives. Grade 12 completion and electives will be available to adult students as well.

This budget includes $382.4 million for early learning and child care, an increase of $72.1 million or 23.3 per cent over last year. The funding supports young families in our province, helping make life more affordable. It will reduce child care fees for families of children up to the age of six to $10 per day as of April 1, 2023.

This budget includes $764.8 million for the post-secondary education sector this year, an increase of $24.5 million or 3.3 per cent. It includes $47 million for student supports, a 24 per cent increase from last year due to growing use of the Student Aid Fund and the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship.  There is also $65 million for the Graduate Retention Program, which provides up to $20,000 in tax credits to post-secondary students who stay and work in Saskatchewan after graduation.

Investing in Social Services and Assistance

"Saskatchewan's growing economy means more people are working in this province and fewer people require income assistance," Harpauer said. "At the same time support is increasing for those who need it. That's growth that works for everyone."

The 2023-24 Budget for social services and assistance is a record $1.7 billion.

This budget includes an additional $26.6 million in benefits to support people with low incomes, families and seniors. There are increases to benefits for Saskatchewan Income Support, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability, the Senior's Income Plan, and the Personal Care Home Benefit.

A $13.5 million increase for Social Services community-based service delivery partners is part of Government's total $17.6 million increase for community-based organizations (CBOs) which are also funded through the ministries of Education, Health, Justice and Attorney General and Corrections, Policing and Public Safety.

"CBOs have a critical role in helping create positive outcomes and a better quality of life for Saskatchewan's people who need support and assistance," Harpauer said. "This increase helps organizations address operational pressures and recruit and retain qualified staff."

Investing in the Protection of Persons and Property

The 2023-24 Budget includes over $1.0 billion in investments in public safety and the justice system.

"Operational funding for second stage housing ensures women in dangerous situations can safely leave and stay away from abusive partners," Harpauer said. "This budget includes a new investment of $876,000 over three years to support survivors of interpersonal violence with the expansion of counseling services for clients living in second stage housing."

Over $27.5 million in interpersonal violence supports and services are included in this budget.

The 2023-24 Budget invests in police and law enforcement initiatives, including $7.0 million to establish the new Saskatchewan Marshals Service (SMS) to increase policing capacity within the province, with a focus on rural and remote areas.

When fully operational by mid-to-late 2026, the SMS will have approximately 70 officers, providing an additional law enforcement presence across Saskatchewan, supporting RCMP and municipal police operations were appropriate.

Investing in the economy

The 2023-24 Budget includes a $1.4 million increase to open a trade office in Germany - the fourth largest economy in the world and the economic, financial and manufacturing hub of the European Union. The investment, which is part of the $19.3 million International Trade and Investment Strategy, will advance the province's economic interests abroad. The new office will join existing trade offices in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Vietnam, Japan, India, Singapore and China.

Officials in these offices connect Saskatchewan businesses with investors and customers and provide on the ground support, with knowledge of local business culture, rules and regulations in key markets.

"Those efforts are paying off. Saskatchewan's merchandise exports rose from $37.0 billion in 2021 to $52.4 billion in 2022 - an increase of 41.6 per cent," Harpauer said. "More exports abroad means more jobs here at home. That's growth that works for everyone."

The 2023-24 Budget includes the highest level ever of Municipal Revenue Sharing - $297.9 million, an increase of $35.3 million or 13.4 per cent, from last year's budget. The budget includes $503 million of direct provincial support to municipalities, an increase of $54.5 million or 12.2 per cent over last year's budget, primarily due to higher revenue sharing, the provincial portion of infrastructure funding and a number of grants and initiatives from across government.

The 2023-24 Budget includes $249.1 million in targeted funding for Indigenous and Métis people and organizations, representing an increase of 6.8 per cent from last year.

Investing in Capital for a growing Saskatchewan

Our government continues to build highways, schools, hospitals and other important projects that a growing province needs," Harpauer said. "With a record $3.7 billion included for capital in the 2023-24 Budget and $15.2 billion in planned capital investment over the next four years, that's growth that works for everyone."

The 2023-24 Budget includes $337.6 million for health care capital, an increase of $181.0 million from last year. This includes major ongoing construction at the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital and the Weyburn General Hospital replacement.

This budget invests $442.9 million into transportation capital, including over 1,000 kilometres of improvements on provincial highways. Significant projects include twinning near Rowatt and Corinne on Highways 6 and 39 between Regina and Weyburn and completing passing lanes and widening on Highway 5 from Saskatoon to Highway 2, and planning for construction to extend twinning on Highway 5 east of Saskatoon.

The 2023-24 Budget includes $152.3 million for education capital, largely for five new school capital projects, and support for the ongoing planning and construction of 15 new schools and the renovation of five existing schools.

This budget includes $348.1 million for municipal infrastructure and Crown corporations will invest $2.1 billion into major capital in 2023-24, largely through SaskPower, SaskEnergy and SaskTel for a number of electricity generation, gas transmission and distribution and communication network projects.

"This budget is about more people, more jobs, and more opportunities," Harpauer said. "More doctors, more nurses, and more surgeries.  More students, more schools, and more affordable child care.  More support for seniors, for young people, and for people with disabilities. Safer families and safer communities.  A growing economy, a brighter future, and a growing province whose best days are still ahead."

"That's growth that works for everyone."

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According to a new report by RBC Economics, Canada’s housing market correction is slowing down, with a bottom expected to be formed in the coming months

The report predicts a 15 per cent peak-to-trough decline in the national RPS Home Price Index, with roughly half of that decline still to come. 

While RBC economists expect the recovery phase to start slowly later this year as affordability issues and a weaker economy continue to hold back buyers, the pace of the recovery should progressively pick up in 2024 once the economy clears its “soft patch,” inflation returns to target, and the Bank of Canada reverses part of the massive rate increases it has imposed since March 2022.

Immigration will continue to fuel demand through the medium term (and possibly beyond), raising the odds of supply shortages if housing starts don’t increase.


Unless the “economy craters,” there is little downside left


The steep slide in home resales, which began in March 2020, ended a two-year market frenzy, but the slowdown has significantly calmed since the fall. 

RBC Economics predicts that unless the economy craters, there is little downside left.

Accounting for the growth in housing stock, nationwide resales are the quietest they’ve been since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, excluding the lockdown period in the spring of 2020. 

RBC predicts that some markets, like those in Ontario and possibly Atlantic Canada, might be ahead of the pack in forming a bottom, while others, like those in the Prairies and Quebec, might lag somewhat.


No further rate hikes expected, but no cuts either


RBC expects that the Bank of Canada’s rate hiking cycle is likely on hold and that January 2023’s 25 basis-point hike was the final strike in a historic campaign that drove the policy rate up by 425 basis points, taking it to 4.5 per cent in less than a year. 

RBC believes the interest rate environment will remain restrictive for a while, and the Bank of Canada will abstain from cutting rates until 2024.


Affordability issues will continue


Buyers will continue to face steep challenges due to affordability issues, especially in the country’s more expensive markets, with RBC predicting the sharp deterioration in housing affordability since 2021 won’t unwind quickly. 

Lingering affordability issues will stand in the way of a quick market rebound and a material easing in buyers’ budget constraints.


Canada’s housing market has “solid fundamentals”


Despite the recent swings in the Canadian housing market, analysts suggest that the fundamentals remain solid. 

The market’s recent volatility can largely be attributed to the unique circumstances of the global pandemic and exceptionally low interest rates. However, once the market has adjusted to higher interest rates, analysts predict that solid fundamentals will once again come to the fore in 2024.

One key indicator of the strength of the Canadian housing market is the historically low inventory of homes for sale, and “there are no signs of overbuilding virtually anywhere in the country,” RBC reports.

This is particularly noteworthy given the rapid growth of Canada’s population, which has seen its largest increase in generations over the past year and booming immigration is expected to keep this trend going over the medium term.


full report, authored by Robert Hogue

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SASKATCHEWAN FARING BETTER THAN OTHER MARKETS DESPITE INVENTORY CHALLENGES


In recent weeks, and although not all segments of the market but we have began to see multiple offers and delayed presentation offers again on some properties. 


There were 854 sales recorded across the province in February, a year-over-year decline of 19 per cent. However, while sales are down year-over-year, sales activity remains stronger than pre-pandemic levels and above long-term, 10-year averages.


As seen in prior months, Saskatchewan continues to report new listings and inventory levels significantly below long-term trends. There were 1,360 new listings in February, down 18 per cent year-over-year and nearly 28 per cent below 10-year averages. While the months of supply did push above six months, inventory levels were down 6 per cent year-over-year and 31 per cent below 10-year averages.


“We continue to see higher lending rates and supply challenges contribute to a pullback in sales,” said Association CEO Chris Guérette. “I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but our biggest concern is still inventory levels, specifically in the more affordable segment of our housing continuum.”


The provincial benchmark price reached $318,500 in February, slightly higher than the $317,400 recorded the month prior and 0.4 percent higher than February 2022.


“Year-over-year sales declines were to be expected as we returned to a more balanced market where sales activity is more consistent with the historical 10-year averages,” said Guérette. “Saskatchewan remains one of the most affordable jurisdictions in the country with a resilient market that is well-positioned for stable demand in home ownership."


City of Regina

Sales activity slowed for the second consecutive month, contributing to a year-to-date decline of 21 per cent. Despite the decline, sales activity remains consistent with long-term trends for this time of year. While both sales and new listings have improved over January levels, the monthly gain in new listings did not change the inventory situation. February inventory levels fell to the lowest level reported for the month since 2013 and the months of supply once again fell below four months.


Regina reported a benchmark price of $310,200 in February, slightly below the $312,200 reported in January but well above the February 2021 price of $295,900.


City of Saskatoon

Sales activity slowed for the second consecutive month, contributing to a year-to-date decline of 19 per cent. Further declines in new listings kept inventory levels 36 per cent below 10-year averages for the month and the months of supply remained under four months.


Saskatoon reported a benchmark price of $372,400 in February, up from $366,000 in January and nearly three per cent higher than this time last year.

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SASKATCHEWAN REMAINS RESILIENT, SUPPLY LEVELS A MAJOR CONCERN


Pullbacks in both the attached and detached sectors resulted in 631 sales being recorded across the province in January, a year-over-year decline of nearly 16 per cent. While January sales are lower than the activity reported over the past two years, sales remain consistent with pre-pandemic levels.


Despite gains in new listings, January inventory levels were at their lowest levels reported in over a decade. While inventories did improve in homes priced above $300,000, it had little impact on the low inventory situation that continues to be experienced across the province.


“Rising lending rates paired with ongoing inflationary pressures are impacting what individuals can afford, and our market has struggled to see improvements in supply levels in lower-priced homes,” said Saskatchewan REALTORS® Association CEO Chris Guérette. “Prospective buyers impacted by rate hikes are also faced with less choice in the more affordable segment of our market. Without question, these factors are contributing to a pullback in sales activity.”


Following two consecutive years of price growth, the total residential benchmark price remained relatively stable in January. However, apartment condominiums reported further gains in benchmark prices due to rising demand, relative to supply, in apartment-style products.


“As our market continues to return to pre-pandemic sales levels, it’s important to remember that we typically see fewer transactions occur in January,” said Guérette. “As higher commodity prices and a strong agricultural sector continue to support our economy, Saskatchewan remains resilient and well-positioned for stable demand in home ownership.”


Regional Highlights


Many regions across the province experienced a year-over-year decline in sales, apart from Moose Jaw and North Battleford. Inventory gains in Melfort, Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Yorkton were not enough to offset the declines in other regions, as inventory levels remain far below long-term trends.


While the months of supply have trended towards more balanced conditions across all regions outside of Moose Jaw and North Battleford, all other regions across the province continue to report months of supply lower than 10-year averages.


Price Trends


Year-over-year price gains ranged from a low of just under one per cent in Estevan to a high of over three per cent in Swift Current. Meanwhile, prices eased in Meadow Lake, Melfort, Regina, North Battleford, and Yorkton, with the largest year-over-year price decline occurring in North Battleford.

 

City of Regina


Regina reported 134 sales in January, slightly below long-term trends for the month. The dip in sales can be attributed to declines in detached activity and ongoing supply issues. With less than 300 new listings this month, January levels are at their lowest level since 2010. Additionally, the pullback in new listings ensured that inventory levels remained well below long-term averages, with much of the inventory decline being driven by homes priced below $300,000.


Regina reported a benchmark price of $312,200 in January, down one per cent compared to January 2022 and above the $291,300 reported in January 2021.


City of Saskatoon


Saskatoon reported 201 sales in January, relatively consistent with long-term trends for the month. While higher lending rates are impacting sales, a lack of new listings and low inventory levels also remain a challenge. New listings eased to 415 in January, the lowest level since 2008 and over 35 per cent below levels typically seen this time of year. As seen in other areas of the province, inventory declines have been mostly concentrated in the more affordable segment of the market.


Saskatoon reported a benchmark price of $366,000 in January, up nearly two per cent compared to January 2022 and above the $336,600 reported in January 2021.


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Vacancy rates going down can lead to higher rental costs


Both Regina and Saskatoon renters are facing the toughest markets in nearly a decade, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC).

The housing agency released its annual rental market report Thursday. It showed that both of Saskatchewan's major cities' vacancy rates declined to their lowest levels since 2014.

For Saskatoon, the numbers in the report were for purpose-built rental apartments, so don't include what's happening in condos, or in apartments built out of occupied family homes. In Regina, they also cover purpose-built rental apartments and condos.

In Regina, vacancy rates for purpose-built rental units plummeted to 3.2 last year from 7 per cent in 2021— while in Saskatoon vacancy rates dipped to 3.4 per cent from 4.8 per cent.

The national vacancy rate for purpose built rentals in Canadian census metropolitan areas dropped to 1.9 per cent in 2022.

Pete Nelson, CMHC's Senior Analyst for Saskatoon, said a tighter rental market allows landlords to increase rental costs.

"In general you'll see an inverse relationship, so as vacancy rates are going down, prices will be going up," Nelson said.

Increased rental costs in both cities

In Saskatoon, the average rent of a two-bedroom purpose-built rental unit is $1,243— a 3.4 per cent increase from 2021. Meanwhile in Regina, rental costs jumped by 3.3 per cent to $1,186.

The monthly rent for condos is even higher in both cities. 

The report showed the average rent for a two-bedroom condo in Regina rose by 14.7 per cent last year to $1,467— while the cost in Saskatoon increased by 11.4 per cent to $1,346.

These rental cost increases leave low income renters struggling to find affordable housing. In Regina, households who make less than $32,000 per year can only afford to rent eight per cent of rentals, while in Saskatoon they could only afford 7 per cent.

Anita Linares, CMHC senior analyst, said the majority of those affordable units are one-bedrooms.

"So for larger families who are in that bracket, there is a concern that they will not have adequate housing in the future," Linares said. 

Linares said it's important to increase the rental supply in both cities, but also increase adequate housing options for all households in the province.

What is causing increased demand?

In 2022, Saskatoon's rental universe expanded at its fastest pace in three decades, with 801 added units, but demand is still outstripping supply, according to the report.

Nelson said economic enthusiasm in the province is driving rental demand.

"The commodity prices have been booming, investment has been picking up, that causes more people to be migrating to Saskatchewan and causes less people to leave," Nelson said. "You might even see the vacancy rate fall more in this coming year as the demand side picks up."

Nelson added that higher mortgage payments and inflation create disincentives for people considering buying homes — which also leads to increased demand in the rental market.

"I think we are starting to see in the second-half of 2022, these people who are on the fence about purchasing a home, and maybe have been in the market, are thinking maybe I'll just sit on the sidelines and kind of wait and see what happens," Nelson said.

Linares said a return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic is also contributing to the tighter rental markets.

"There has been a return to in-person activity, particularly for students and workers returning to the office," Linares said.  "Some of the lowest vacancy rates were in the surrounding areas of the university and the [downtown] core."

 
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Bank of Canada raises key interest rate for eighth time, to 4.5 per cent. What you need to know


The interest rate hikes are over — probably.

The Bank of Canada raised its key overnight lending rate for the eighth straight time Wednesday morning, but signalled its rate-hiking campaign could finally be over.

The central bank bumped the overnight rate up by 25 basis points — a quarter of a percentage point — to 4.5 per cent, just what markets had been expecting.

“If economic developments evolve broadly in line with the … outlook, Governing Council expects to hold the policy rate at its current level while it assesses the impact of the cumulative interest rate increases,” the Bank said in a news release announcing the 25-basis point increase.

The Bank also said previous hikes have been having their desired effect of slowing inflation by hitting consumer demand.

“There is growing evidence that restrictive monetary policy is slowing activity, especially household spending. Consumption growth has moderated from the first half of 2022 and housing market activity has declined substantially,” the Bank said.

“As the effects of interest rate increases continue to work through the economy, spending on consumer services and business investment are expected to slow. Meanwhile, weaker foreign demand will likely weigh on exports. This overall slowdown in activity will allow supply to catch up with demand,” the Bank predicted.

The Bank also said the Canadian economy likely grew by 3.6 per cent in 2022, slightly higher than it had forecast in October. It also predicts the Canadian economy will grow by just one per cent this year, and by two per cent in 2024

Despite evidence of a slowdown, the Bank justified Wednesday’s increase by pointing to continued high inflation. In December, the Consumer Price Index was 6.3 per cent higher than it was a year earlier. While that was down from 6.8 per cent in November — and a big drop from the 8.1 per cent seen in June — it’s still more than three times the Bank’s two per cent target for inflation.

“With persistent excess demand putting continued upward pressure on many prices, Governing Council decided to increase the policy interest rate by a further 25 basis points,” the Bank said.

The Bank also released its quarterly analysis of the state of the Canadian economy, and for the first time ever, published minutes of its internal debate that led to Wednesday’s decision.

In an attempt to get inflation under control, the Bank raised the overnight lending rate seven times in 2022, most recently bumping it by 50 basis points (half a percentage point) to 4.25 per cent in early December.

The overnight rate began last year at 0.25 per cent, where it had been since the Bank dropped it three times in one month in March 2020, as the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared.

The theory is that by making it more costly to borrow money, people will spend less, eventually driving prices down.


Source:

 
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2022 was once again amazing year and we again owe it all to our wonderful clients. We were able to sell over $100,000,0000 worth of real estate in back to back years despite a shifting market.


We were able to be the lead agents on the Hudson Row project in Rosewood where we sold over 40 townhouse units in the development. We are very appreciative for all the developers that utilize our services, some that date back as far as the first year we were in real estate.


The brokerage has now grown to over 100 agents and staff heading into our 8th year as a company. We have office locations in Saskatoon, Regina and Battleford as we look for opportunities to expand and grow further in coming years. The Property Management division continues to grow, and we will continue to expand the portfolio of properties we are managing and seek opportunities for condominium, commercial and multi family management.


This brokerage began in 2015, with myself, a handful of agents and one full time staff. We had signed a 5 year lease on a space at Quebec Avenue. After a few short months we found ourselves having to try negotiate our way out of the lease so we could purchase a building. An early and expensive lesson about running a business. This allowed us to purchase 714 Duchess Street, which is still our head office today.


I think that's still what I love about this everyday. Each day will present new issues, new challenges in the market, constant changes and we have somehow been able to adapt throughout the years to grow to where we are today.


SASKATCHEWAN CONTINUES TO FARE BETTER THAN MANY REGIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY


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 relative 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. 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.


“Without question, higher lending rates are contributing to the pullback in sales. We saw the Bank of Canada raise interest rates seven times in 2022,” said Saskatchewan REALTORS® Association CEO Chris Guérette. “When paired with declining inventory levels, particularly in homes priced below $500,000, we do see that having an impact on sales.” Following strong growth throughout the spring, benchmark prices began to ease toward the end of the year. While many regions have recently reported downward price adjustments, home prices rose on an annual basis.


Overall benchmark prices for 2022 were over four per cent higher than the year prior. “The housing market is changing as consumers adjust to higher lending rates and rising costs of living. That said, Saskatchewan continues to fare better than many regions across the country and we expect that to continue in 2023” said Guérette. “With prospective buyers having to qualify at higher rates, our biggest concern heading into the new year is the lack of supply in homes priced below $500,000.”


While many regions have experienced recent downward price adjustments, home prices rose on an annual basis. Annual benchmark price gains ranged from a low of one per cent in Moose Jaw to a high of seven per cent in Warman. The growth in prices in 2022 saw many regions set new record highs, with the exception of Estevan, Swift Current and Weyburn.


The City of Saskatoon reported 4,587 sales in 2022, a 15 per cent decline over last year’s record high but over 12 per cent higher than 10-year trends. Supply continues to be a challenge, as new listings have eased significantly and were 14 per cent below long-term averages in 2022. Meanwhile, inventory levels eased even further, resulting in average supply levels 31 per cent below long-term trends. While a pullback in sales relative to inventory levels in the second half of the year did allow the months of supply to rise, the market remains far tighter than what we would traditionally see in Saskatoon.


On an annual basis, benchmark prices rose nearly five per cent over 2021 levels.


The average price of a Canadian home that sold in December was $626,318, a decline of more than 12 per cent from where it was the same month a year ago. The Canadian Real Estate Association, which represents more than 150,000 realtors across the country, released new numbers about the country's housing market on Monday, showing that the number of homes sold and the prices they fetched were both sharply lower in December than they were the same month a year earlier.


Sales fell by more than 39 per cent from December 2021's level. And prices were also well down from an average of $713,500 at the end of 2021, and a peak of $816,720 reached in February 2022, before the Bank of Canada started aggressively raising lending rates. The realtor group says the average selling price can be misleading since it is easily skewed by sales of expensive homes in places like Toronto and Vancouver. So it tabulates a different number — known as the House Price Index — that adjusts for the volume and type of housing sold. The HPI was down by 13 per cent from its peak last year, with Ontario and British Columbia seeing the biggest declines, while just about everywhere else saw either small declines or even slight increases in some cases.


Rishi Sondhi, an economist with TD Bank, says that while it's clear that Canada's housing market has cooled significantly from its red-hot status earlier in the pandemic, the numbers for December "signal that a bottom in the housing market may be forming." Prices fell by 0.3 per cent on a monthly basis, the smallest decline since the market began correcting in March. "With new listings dropping significantly last month and the level remaining low, there are no real signs so far that forced selling is dominating the supply picture." Looking ahead to 2024 Growth in sales and average prices should return to positive territory in 2024 on an annual average basis, as the economist anticipates inflation will be contained and the economy should begin to heal after a weak performance in 2023.


The outlooks projects sales activity will increase, though at a pace that will continue to lag pre-pandemic levels for much of the year. Sondhi says that improving housing demand will likely stoke renewed price growth, but a still-constrained affordability backdrop will be a limiting factor. “Regionally, broad-based price gains are likely in 2024. However, we expect some mild outperformance in the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador as those markets continue to benefit from a favourable affordability gap,” the report states. “In contrast, tougher affordability conditions in Ontario, B.C. and across much of the Atlantic should restrain growth.


“ Sondhi cautions, “If higher interest rates and economic weakness result in significant amounts of forced selling on the part of homebuyers, price growth could be weaker than we expect.”


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