The Canadian real estate market is shifting towards stabilizing. With interest rates rising and the frenzy of demand beginning to subside, the pandemic-era meteoric price growth appears to be easing, allowing hopeful homebuyers who were previously priced out of the housing market a chance to get their foot in the door.
Over the last two years, cities and towns across Canada have experienced monumental price gains, from the Prairies to Ontario’s cottage country to the Maritimes. Mobility and inter-provincial migration became notable trends, with people no longer confined to a physical place of work.
Population growth figures from Statistics Canada provide a compelling take on which jurisdictions experienced an influx of new residents. Saskatchewan wants to get a piece of the action, with the provincial government proposing to welcome 1.4 million residents by 2030.
Is it doable? Chris Guerette, CEO of the Saskatchewan Realtors Association (SRA) told the Regina Leader-Post that more needs to be done to encourage more people to come to the province, whether it is offering tax rebates or slashing red tape.
“Those are the kind of impacts we need to have across the province at a local level,” Guerette said in an interview. “If there is a way, for example, that the City of Regina can reduce processing time for any fees, any permits, that they can speed up or help builders build homes faster, that’s the kind of thing that we want to look at.”
Overall, the province requires more than 141,000 new housing units to avoid a housing deficit in the next eight years. Since 1990, only 98,000 new housing units have been constructed.
Real Estate Activity Continues to Heat Up in Regina
The Regina real estate market is expanding at a record pace, joining the overall province’s massive push to grow the housing sector and the broader economy. However, the city of Regina did experience a modest slowdown in March, much like the overall Canadian real estate industry.
Real estate sales totalled 351 units in March, which is one of the best performances in Regina’s history. However, the one piece of data that many industry observers say could prove that Regina is witnessing a cooling down period is listings.
According to the Saskatchewan Realtors Association (SRA), new listings showed a modest increase for the first time in seven months, lifting inventory levels to 982 units. This is down nine percent from the same time a year ago.
At the same time, housing stockpiles were 12 percent below the long-term trends.
Of course, the benchmark price for a home in the Regina real estate market totalled $264,000. This is up two percent from the same time last year and up one percent from February.
Despite the notable gains in the provincial capital since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis, price levels are still approximately 13 percent below the monthly high posted in June 2012.
“March is typically the month that we start to see more people listings their homes adding supply to the market. While we did see more new listings compared to the winter months, it hasn’t been enough compared to the sales to make any significant change in supply, resulting in further price gains in the market,” said Guérette in a statement.
“As we move more into the spring market, supply will be a crucial factor,” he added. “Should supply levels start to improve, we could see more balanced conditions slowing the upward pressure on prices. However, this transition could take longer than expected, especially in our largest cities, which is why we’ve begun outreach to our industry partners to discuss how to address these supply shortages.”
In addition, new housing construction activity has picked up steam in Regina as housing starts totalled 96 in April, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Can Regina Continue the Boom?
Regina is one of the top municipalities in Canada. The sights and sounds are impeccable, the infrastructure is adapting to modern times, and public policymakers are getting serious about becoming an attractive city to young families, professionals and companies. Like Calgary and Edmonton, Regina’s economy is diversifying from its immense resource industry.
Will Canadians take the bite? Market analysts are expecting competitive pricing levels and sales activity in Regina. If more households are being priced out of the markets where they grew up, why not relocate to Regina, Saskatoon, or anywhere in Saskatchewan or the Prairies?