Prince Albert’s housing market has proven itself a hot commodity this summer.
“Our sales are up about eight per cent, so that’s usually a good indicator,” local realtor Elaine McMillan said. “Our average price has jumped up almost 10 per cent from last year.”
This price jump brings the average selling price to $215,641.
McMillan, president of the Prince Albert and District Association of Realtors, said that the mid-range market is tight at the moment, with houses turning over quite quickly.
This mid-range includes houses priced between $200,000 to about $270,000.
“What’s there is definitely selling,” she noted, adding that even higher-priced homes are moving quickly.
This year’s jump in average house selling price isn’t indicative of a tighter than average market, McMillan noted, with overall listings up about 14 per cent from last year, representing 205 listings currently on the market in the Prince Albert area.
So far, 960 houses, commercial properties and acreages have been sold in the Prince Albert area this year.
“This is the place to be!” McMillan explained.
“I think the rest of Canada has finally figured out that Saskatchewan is definitely where it’s at, and we’re definitely seeing a lot of people moving in. We’ve got some new companies that are starting up and it’s all good.
“It doesn’t reflect the worldwide market, that’s for sure. It’s our turn and we’re cashing in on it.”
Condominiums are seeing increased popularity, with a handful of new condominium buildings coming up in and around the city.
These buildings are popular among snowbirds and small families, McMillan noted.
“That’s the type of place they like to live in because they’re looked after while they’re gone and there’s no yard work to do, or very little,” she said.
There’s a great market for flippers, right now — people that want to make a buck on selling a property if they pick it up cheap enough and go in and totally redo it and put it back on the market. - Prince Albert and District Association of Realtors president Elaine McMillan
Second properties are also a hot commodity, with people from throughout Saskatchewan purchasing summer homes in the Lakeland area.
“We are seeing our lake properties selling and we’re seeing a lot more development at the lake as well,” she said, citing Laurel Green, an upcoming gated community development at Emma Lake as an example.
One area that Prince Albert is lacking in is affordable housing availability, with the Prince Albert Community Housing Society’s waiting list sitting at between 140 and 170 applicants.
“We do have a little shortness of that — entry level homes, under the $150,000, under the $100,000 for sure, that are decent,” McMillan said, noting that the word “decent” is key.
There are quite a few houses in the market that are in dire need of repairs, she said.
“There’s a great market for flippers, right now — people that want to make a buck on selling a property if they pick it up cheap enough and go in and totally redo it and put it back on the market,” she said.
“It would be nice to see investors pick those up and renovate them and turn them over to that lower-end market … There’s definitely a need for people to be doing that.”
Though she confesses a lack of magical crystal ball, McMillan said that if things progress as expected, prices should keep going up.
“I think we’re just going to continue to busy and we’re going to see more growth in our city,” she said. “I can’t see it going down at all. All indications of our market, prices are going to continue to rise — slowly, but they’re going to continue to rise.
“If you’re thinking of buying a house or investing in realty, don’t wait!”