Moose Jaw… A Great Place to Call Home

2017 HOUSING OUTLOOK According to CMHC’s Market Outlook Report for the Prairie Region, economic conditions have remained weak, as the low commodity environment continued to negatively affect economic activity and consequently, labour market conditions. As a result, builders have lowered new production focusing instead on inventory reduction, especially multi-family units. Housing starts are forecasted to stabilize in 2017 as inventory reduction olds back growth. By 2018, reduced inventories, stronger economic and employment growth will increase housing starts. In Saskatchewan total housing starts are projected to increase to 4,600 to 5,200 units in 2017 and 4,900 to 5,500 in 2018, compared to the 5,000 units built in 2016 and 5149 units in 2015.

Housing starts are regarded as an indicator of a region’s economic vitality. CMHC says in Saskatchewan there is “moderate” evidence of overbuilding and “strong” evidence of overvaluation in some markets. The scaling back of construction has helped reduce housing inventory going into 2017, but even so the trend of more homes for sale than buyers is likely to continue well into 2017.

For the same reasons, the number of resale transaction in Saskatchewan is also down but improving economic conditions should gradually lift the number of MLS sales. In Saskatchewan, resales are projected to stabilize in 2017 to a range of 11,600 to 11,900 transactions, compared to 11,500 - 11,700 MLS sales in 2016 and 12,245 sales in 2015.

The Buyer’s market conditions throughout 2016 caused the average MLS price to decrease to $289,700 from $297,487 in 2015. This year prices are expected to stabilize and then firm up due to economic and demographic growth. The average price will gradually rise to a range between $291,500 to $300,500 in 2017 and between $294,500 and $304,100 in 2018.

In the past few years, Saskatchewan’s large influx of migrants has generated momentum in resale market. Relatively improving economic conditions in other provinces has moderated the inflows of migrants. For the housing market, the slowdown in population growth and employment comes at a time when a glut of supply is looking to be absorbed with a record number of completed but unoccupied units.

2017 MOOSE JAW HOUSING OUTLOOK “New home” inventory and increasing supply of resale homes remains a constraining factor to single-detached starts in 2017. Population growth is necessary to allow existing single-family and multi-family units to be absorbed. The average MLS price is expected to remain stable or possibly moderately decline. The continuation of low interest rates in 2017 will support home sales although the recent addition of PST on labour for new homes may prompt home owners to look at used homes as a more affordable option.

2017 MOOSE JAW MLS RESALE MARKET HOUSING The new matrix Home Price Index (HPI) which measures residential price trends based on four benchmark home types, is considered more accurate of housing prices than average or median. In April 2017, the city of Moose Jaw’s MLS Home Price Index (HPI) reported a residential Benchmark price of $226,100 compared to $225,900 in the same month last year and second lowest compared to neighboring cities.

For the period January-April 2017, the city of Moose Jaw recorded 134 sales compared to 137 for the same period in 2016. Meanwhile the year to date number of new listings is up with 395 for the period compared to 363 last year. The average days on the market has increased to 62 day in 2017 compared to 57 in 2016. Year to date 2017 experienced the poor “solds to listings” performance and is deemed a “buyer’s market” continuing the long term trend since 2015. The sales to new listing ratio this year is 33.9 percent year to date compared to 37.7 per cent for the same period last year.

MOOSE JAW RENTAL MARKET REPORT

2017 PROVINCIAL RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS Vacancy rates in the province have increased while rents have declined in many of Saskatchewan’s urban centre as supply of new rental units out paces demand. As a result of weaker migration to the province and recent additions to the rental stock, the provincial vacancy rate saw upward pressure in the October 2016 to 9.4 per cent up from 6.8 per cent in October of the prior year. According to CMHC’s Fall 2016 Survey, apartment vacancy rates ranged from a low of 3.3 per cent in
Moose Jaw to a high of 27.6 per cent in Estevan. Two bedroom apartments had the highest vacancy rates causing rent to decrease by 1.2 per cent.

The rental supply in the province increased by 567units - with a significant rise in condominium rentals. Overall, the increase in supply in both the primary and secondary rental markets and the decrease in demand resulted in higher apartment vacancies in the Province. The average monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment in Saskatchewan urban centres was down to $1,053 in October 2016 compared to $1056 in October 2015. This compares to $1,075 in April 2015.

2016 (FALL REPORT) MOOSE JAW RENTAL MARKET REPORT Increased Inventory lifts vacancy rate Supply and demand are considered in balance when vacancy rates are above three per cent and closer to five per cent. Over the past five years, builders have taken advantage of tax incentives to increase the local stock of purpose built rental units. Moose Jaw has over 1,200 rental units.

Moose Jaw’s Fall 2016 vacancy rate was 3.3 per cent, down from 3.4 per cent in October 2015 and 4.1% in October 2014. Despite the increased rental supply, CMHC reported that Moose Jaw recorded the lowest vacancy among all other communities in the province. Increased supply has helped to stabilize Moose Jaw’s vacancy rates which were a challenging 2.7 per cent in October 2013 and 1 per cent in 2012. In the past, low vacancy rates (around 1%) were a barrier to attracting new workers.

MOOSE JAW - RENTS ARE DECLINING According to CMHC’s 2016 Fall Rental Report, Moose Jaw’s average rent has decreased to $802/month compared to $806 in October 2015, up from $795 in October 2014 and $752 in October 2013. Moose Jaw’s average rent remains one of the lowest in the province, with only Swift Current ($779/month), Weyburn ($764/month) and North Battleford ($796/month) experiencing lower rates. This compares to Regina at $1,023/month. Estevan is feeling the brunt of the decline oil and gas sector with the city’s average rent, once the highest in the province at $1,036/month, down 27.6 per cent to $898/month.