COVID-19 pandemic leads to surge in Saskatoon housing demand
SASKATOON -- Megan Ward was looking to move out of her condo and find a place with a yard and where she could work from home.
“There were a couple of houses that we were really excited about. Unfortunately, before we could even get a chance to look at them, those houses had sold. They were gone.”
According to a Saskatchewan Realtors Association report, the number of houses sold in Saskatoon rose more than 108 percent year-over-year.
“I’ve had to hire a number of agents just to keep up with the buyers we have on the go right now,” said eXp Realty realtor Chris Molenaar. “I’ve noticed a couple of neighbourhoods that had seen vacant lots, on the market sitting vacant for years in many cases, that are now completely sold out.”
Since COVID-19 hit, Molenaar estimates prices have risen five per cent in addition to the five per cent they had already risen the year before.
“The COVID market has created demand because (people want) the home school, the home office, home gym,” said Molenaar. “The home that was sufficient prior to COVID is now no longer sufficient considering we’re spending so much time at home.”
The Saskatchewan Realtors Association report says Saskatoon homes stayed on the market for an average of 36 days in March, down 34.5 percent from 55 days last year.
Ward eventually found a home in Martensville after other ones she looked at sold quickly.
“We were trying to arrange a showing, and by the time we were arranging a showing, there was also an offer on this house as well," said Ward.
She put in a backup offer on the home and says she “got really lucky” since the primary offer on the home ended up backing out.
“It had been quite a process. It seems like the market is very competitive,” said Ward. “People are forgoing a lot of things such as home inspections, things like that to try to get into a house as quickly as that.”
Molenaar has advice for those looking to buy.
“Find an agent that has the capacity to get you in on time represent your best interest to get the property at a good price but also, simply, just getting the house under contract in this market is a big win.”