SASKATOON -- According to a recent house price survey, Saskatoon’s sluggish housing market has seen prices begin to rise.

"We’re seeing an increased level of interest in entry-level homes; the first-time buyer market has picked up," Norm Fisher, broker and owner at Royal LePage Vidorra, said in a release.

"There are strong indicators for an improving Saskatoon housing market in 2020."

The survey, conducted by Royal LePage, said the aggregate price of a house in Saskatoon dropped one per cent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $368,954.

Matt Miller, also a broker and owner at Royal LePage, said although the number is still decreasing, compared to previous years being down only one per cent shows improvement.

"We see a one per cent decrease really as quite a modest decrease and if you look at what’s behind those numbers, we’ve come out of about a four-year period of decreasing demand in Saskatoon and that’s kind of weighed on the market," Miller said.

"What we’ve seen in the last year, in 2019, is really the first year since 2014 where we’ve seen increased demands, and that’s being reflected in the price numbers."

Miller said there were eight per cent more unit sales in 2019 than in the previous year.

Increased wages and lower unemployment rates are helping to increase consumer confidence.

"Incomes are rising and mortgage delinquencies are falling,” Fisher said.

Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage, said many buyers returned to the market after waiting in the first half of the year to see what effect the federal mortgage stress test would have.

"The stress test pushed people out of the real estate markets across Canada temporarily," Soper said in the release.

"For the most part, buyers have adjusted, yet it still represents a significant hurdle as families pursue the dream of owning their own home."

Nationally the aggregate price for a house in Canada increased 2.2 per cent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $648,544.

The Royal LePage survey is comprised of data from 64 of the nation’s largest real estate markets.