Regina Real Estate News from Corrine Boivin-Englund January 2018   

One of the biggest decisions house hunters have to make is whether to go old or new. This month's article will hopefully help make the decision a little easier.

There are also some tips on what to do if you hear strange noises coming from your home as well as the lowdown on geocaching which is a fun and healthy way to enjoy the great outdoors this winter!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Enjoy the day!

In this issue...
Regina Real Estate Market Update 
2017 was a sluggish year for Regina home sales.

The number of sales reported through the Regina and area Multiple Listing Service® System in 2017 was down from 2016 and the fewest in the past ten years, while supply levels were up and prices were down, said the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.

During the year there were 3,271 residential sales reported in all geographic areas, down 4% from 3,408 recorded in 2016. This is the fewest number of sales in the past ten-year period and the lowest since 2006 when 2,943 sales were reported. Sales in the city came in at 2,677, a decrease of 5% from 2016’s 2,814.

The number of active listings for sale on the market, particularly in the city, was consistently higher throughout the year when compared to recent years. This was due to fewer sales, it is taking longer for homes to sell and a higher number of new listings coming on the market during the year.

At the end of the year there were 1,183 listings on the MLS® System in the city, an increase of 19% from last year’s 991. This is the highest level of active listings in the city at a year-end in decades. Supply peaked at 1,537 listings in August and had been on a steady decline to the end of the year albeit at historically high levels. New listings received on the System in the city for the year totaled 5,685, an increase of 9% from 2016’s 5,239.

The ratio of total sales to new listings for the year was 47% in the city down from 54% in 2016. This indicates more of a tilt towards to more of a buyer’s market when compared to previous years.

Based on sales activity in December, the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) - a much more accurate measure of housing price trends than average or median price - reported a composite residential price of $282,900 in the city. This is down 4% from 2016’s composite price of $294,600, 2.2% from three years ago and 7.9% from five years ago. These all indicate price losses during the year, not only from 2016 but also from prior years. The HPI measures residential price trends based on four benchmark home types.

For the year-to-date, the average selling price in the city was $318,372 compared to $319,003 in 2016 – a decrease of 0.2%. For all geographic areas, the YTD average price was $316,156 – a decrease of 0.1% from $316,619 posted in 2016.

Total sales dollar volume of $1,034.1M was reported in all geographic areas during the year, down 4% from 2016’s $1,079.0M. Dollar volume in the city was up coming in at $852.3M compared to $897.7M the previous year – a 5% decrease.

For the month of December there were 157 sales posted in all areas, virtually identical with 2016’s 156 sales. This compares to the immediate past five-year average of 180 sales and ten-year average of 187. Sales dollar volume was $46.5M, down 5% from last year’s $48.9M. There were 132 sales recorded in the city, a 7% increase from 123 recorded in 2016.

During the month in the city, homes which sold were on the market for an average of 64 days before selling. This compares to 53 days in 2016.

“By all key measures, 2017 was the slowest year since the residential real estate boom of 2007. A combination of slower economic and job growth, higher supply levels and public policy decisions such as the federal government making it more difficult for buyers to qualify for mortgage financing all contributed to the slow down” said Gord Archibald, Chief Executive Officer of the Association.

“Going into 2018, economic and job growth forecasts for Regina and area are optimistic. This should help stimulate demand for housing, although another round of new and more stringent mortgage stress rules introduced by the federal government to make it even more difficult for buyers to qualify for mortgage financing is concerning. This market needs stimulus on the demand side, not the dampening effects this will have” concluded Archibald.

Old or New; What's Best for You? 
There are various pros and cons with newer and older homes.

Home buyers face countless decisions when purchasing a home. One of the first things to figure out is whether you prefer a newer home or an older home.
Comparing newer and older homes can be tricky as it depends on individual preferences as well as family priorities. Here are a few advantages of older homes:

  1. Solid as a Rock - The craftsmanship that went into building homes years ago was usually second to none.

  2. Old World Charm - Older homes usually boast unique architectural features such as crown moulding and stained glass windows.

  3. Location - Older homes are often located in well established communities with mature trees. They're also usually close to popular downtown amenities.

  4. Outdoor Space - Older homes usually have larger lots which is important if you value your privacy or wish to possibly extend your home in the future.

Newer homes on the other hand have their own unique set of advantages. Here are just a few points to consider:

  1. Customizable - You can customize a brand new home to your own tastes with options like heated floors or granite countertops.

  2. Functional - Newer homes are laid out with functional features such as attached garages, larger storage areas and ensuite bathrooms.

  3. Low Maintenance - You're not likely to encounter any serious issues as everything's brand new. The home's exterior will also be much easier to maintain.

  4. Energy Efficient - Better windows, insulation and appliances mean newer homes are more energy efficient which translates into lower monthly utility bills.

Newer homes are usually more functional but older homes offer a level of character that new homes can't match. You may already have a good idea of what you prefer but keep an open mind as you become more familiar with the pros and cons of each. This is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make so do your research before signing on the dotted line!

Things that go Bump in the Night 
Are your home’s strange sounds keeping you up at night?

Part of settling into a new home is figuring out what noises are normal. Most are nothing to worry about but some could signal a deeper issue. Here are a few that you should pay attention to:

  1. Furnace Noises - A humming noise is normal but loud pops, scraping, grinding or squealing sounds should be checked out professionally.

  2. Scratching Sounds - The dreaded sound of scratching likely means you have rodents that are making themselves at home so take notice before it gets out of hand.

  3. Running Water - Check for leaks and water damage around the home. If you can’t figure it out quickly, call a plumber as it could mean a broken pipe.

  4. Gurgling Toilet - Gurgling noises coming from the toilet could signal a blockage in the toilet or drain, a blockage in the vent stack or a main sewer drain blockage.

  5. Noisy Fridge - Some whirring and clicking is normal but if your fridge is cracking or popping, it could be a compressor or a temperature regulation issue.

You can expect to hear some noises coming from your home as the various building materials will contract and expand. Just keep an ear out for anything unusual and don’t hesitate to call a professional if in doubt! 

GeoCaching -- High Tech Hide and Seek 
If your New Year’s Resolution was to get active, consider geocaching!

Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunt where a GPS app is used to locate various hidden caches. It's a great way to get active with your family while exploring the great outdoors!

Geocaches are hidden stashes that contain small treasures along with a logbook. Once you find a geocache, you replace the treasure with something of your own, log in your details and then check-in online.

Exploring hometown hiking trails takes on a whole new meaning when geocaching and the best part is it doesn't cost a cent! Instead of searching around for the remote this Sunday afternoon, head outdoors for a real life treasure hunt!

PS Are you sick of scouring the paper and MLS sites looking for homes? Tired of playing telephone tag with agents only to hear the home's already sold? Sit back, relax and let me do the work for you! Drop me a quiet note with your parameters I'll set you up on my Matrix program with the MLS board. Whenever a home matching your criteria hits the market, it'll be automatically flagged and emailed to you so you'll never have to worry about missing your dream home. This service is free and there's no obligation!

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.