As the year is coming to a close it is interesting to take a look at what Real Estate has done over the past year not only in Victoria and British Columbia but also in other provinces. Saskatchewan has one of the hottest real estate markets in Canada. A recent article published in the Times Colonist and written by Darren Bernhardt of Can West News Service reads:
Saskatchewan boasts hottest real estate market
Rural communities that once faced uncertain futures filling up with families fleeing rat race
SASKATOON — Something big is going on in Saskatchewan’s small towns.From the northern boreal forest to dinosaur country in the south, property is a hot commodity.“I don’t remember another time like this,” said Ken Engel, executive director of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM). “It’s a common story across the province: We haven’t got any lots left anymore. It’s made for a sense of optimism all around that hasn’t been for a long time.”For decades, rural towns have resembled abandoned cocoons. They shrivelled up as the youngest people moved away, leaving behind empty shells.Unconventional buildings — churches, schools, banks complete with steel-door vaults — all found their way onto real estate listings.
Now suddenly, being in Saskatchewan is the hottest thing.“It’s amazing seeing all of these new houses being built,” said Darryl Senecal, SARM’s director for Division 6, comprising 48 rural municipalities in the province’s northwest. “In Lashburn, guys are building houses and they’re being sold before they’re done pouring the basement. After gloom and doom for so many years, this is a nice change.”He operates a farm in the Rosetown area, where you couldn’t give land away not long ago. Now there’s none to buy. Many believe its due to Albertans moving here but it’s more likely Saskatchewanians returning from Alberta. Statistics Canada numbers show 3,300 more people moved out of Alberta between July and October this year than moved into that province. In that time span, Saskatchewan’s net gain from other provinces was 4,324 people.
The overall rate of growth is the fastest in the country, nearly doubling Alberta, said Benjamin Tal, a senior economist with CIBC World Markets in Toronto, who says people are fed up with the rat race of bigger cities.
“They’re looking for a place that’s quiet, where the air is clean, and where they can raise their families and enjoy the time with them,” he said. “Those are the values of these smaller communities that are being recognized.”
Of course, there’s always the danger those qualities will be lost as the populations increase, Engel added. “But I think we’ve got a lot of open space out there yet to worry about that.”
One drawback is the pressure and costs put on communities to expand their infrastructure, but compared to the uncertain futures rural areas were once facing, “it’s a nice problem to have,” he said.
Another factor in the turnaround is the improved economy provincewide. The unemployment rate is four per cent, compared to the national average of 5.9.
It’s easier for people to make a decision to relocate when job prospects are good, said Senecal.
Global grain prices have skyrocketed, the oil industry in the province is expanding and new mining opportunities are sprouting. And the world’s biggest producer of fertilizer, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., recently announced a $1.8-billion expansion of its mining and milling operations in Rocanville.
The Canadian Real Estate Association projects the number of existing homes in Saskatchewan sold through the Multiple Listing Service to rise 33.7 per cent this year, the biggest proportional growth in the country.
Saskatoon is the strongest local real estate market in Canada with an average resale price in November of $251,202, a jump of 50 per cent from a year earlier.
Communities near the major cities have benefited as young families find it less affordable to buy a home in the urban centres. Warman, Osler and Martensville have fingers of newly-developed neighbourhoods reaching toward one another. The large houses rival anything in Saskatoon’s posh suburban areas.
“We’ve got a bit of a building boom going on, that’s for sure,” said Rosthern Mayor Doug Knoll. “If we had more houses available we’d have been able to expand our population by 200.”
Houses don’t stay on the market very long, if they make it there at all, he said. People in the know are snatching them up as they get wind someone’s thinking of selling.
In Kipling, the housing market has brought out contractors with plans for the first new homes to be developed in more than a decade.
“It seems like every day, we hear from somebody who is moving and they wonder if we know where they can rent or they can buy,” said Gail Dakue, administrator of the town of about 1,000 people in southeastern Saskatchewan. “It’s just a daily thing now whereas last year at this time, it just wasn’t.” End of Article.
We have mentioned in some of our previous blogs what impact the higher prices will have on Victoria and British Columbia’s real estate market. Many people want to move to Victoria and now with the prices increasing in many of the prairie provinces these people can move out here. We have already seen that this year with many Saskatchewan clients purchasing property here in Victoria. Our prediction for 2008 is an average price of 650,000 here in Victoria.
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Happy Holidays, Anders
Anders Treiberg, Associate Broker, REALTOR®
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