According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Saskatoon is one of Canada's most affordable cities.
And the future of the housing market in Saskatoon is looking bright: the Saskatchewan economy is hot, the city is experiencing a population boom, and property values are rising.
At the end of April, the Star Phoenix reported that residential property values in the province are rising faster than anywhere in the province.
“Assessed home values jumped 133 per cent between 2006 and 2011,” Saskatoon's daily newspaper reported. “Values in Saskatoon jumped by an average of 150 per cent in five years, while values in Regina rose by 135 per cent.”
The story in Saskatchewan is much different than in other provinces in the country. Across the country, the housing market has been slow, with sales activity 15.3 per cent lower than in March 2012.
Toronto and Vancouver – the most expensive markets in the country – have both seen drops in sales this spring. The Financial Post reported that in Toronto, sales dropped 40 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, and that Vancouver saw some of the worst sales numbers for April in more than a decade.
Some naysayers think this is the beginning of a housing bubble burst, while others argue these are just signs of a market correcting itself, and are nothing to worry about.
In Saskatoon, there's even less to worry about.
Is Saskatoon in a housing bubble?
According to Wikipedia, there's a debate about whether a real estate bubble can ever be properly identified, but the definition of a bubble is characterized by rapid increases in valuations of property until they reach unsustainable levels and then decline.
Saskatoon's housing prices were undervalued for years, and many see this increase in price as an upwards correction of the market, rather than a sign that the city is developing a housing bubble.
Sales activity was up eight per cent last month compared to April 2012, and while the overall Canadian housing market is stable, the Saskatoon housing market is hot!
Lots of new homes will be needed in Saskatoon over the next number of years, with the City of Saskatoon expecting the population to expand to 400,000 by 2033. That means the city will need the equivalent of 15 new neighbourhoods and 60,000 new homes to meet housing demands in the city.
That might seem like more than the city can handle at the moment, but the good news is that City Council is aware of the need, and are preparing in advance for the influx of new neighbours.