Sask. housing market starting to rebound as economy reopens

As Saskatchewan’s economy begins to open back up, the province’s housing market is rebounding.

During the midst of the pandemic in April, housing sales were down 50 percent compared to April 2019. The market rebounded in May, only seeing a 14 percent decline in sales.

While sales are still lower than last year, Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatchewan Realtors Association says the rebound can be attributed to how the market prepared for the pandemic.

“I think  we can attribute that to some of the decisions we made early on to give consumers confidence that when their home is on the market that they would be protected because we had a number of things that we told our members that we wanted them to practice, as far as best practices to protect themselves, protect the homeowner, protect the buyers,” said Yochim. “I think it’s about that comfort level.”

Yochim says that the real estate industry’s use of technology made it easy to prepare for the health guidelines for COVID-19, adding that Facebook Live tours have become very popular.

“A lot of the tools that were adopted by our members in the last number of months, or even years, have pretty much prepared us for this,” said Yochim. “The consumer buying experience as well, is such, that they get onto the internet and search different websites, so that when it comes time to viewing a property, there’s only a handful, or less, of properties that they actually want to see.”

Yochim adds that he expects to see the demand in the coming months, makeup for the demand lost in April and May.

He says the future of the housing market in Saskatchewan post-pandemic, is relatively bright, despite what some studies have shown.

“I’m optimistic about the future of the market in Saskatchewan,” said Yochim. “The economic driver is what will determine how the market goes. The more transactions we can have, the more people that are out there working again, then everything just spins off from there because those working people need homes and places to live. It keeps that economy strong.”

Yochim says that one hurdle that the provincial housing market will need to overcome in the next few months is pent up demand and an increase in inventory levels.

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