Around the world, millions of people dream of finding a reclusive hideaway to call their own. More and more frequently, those people are finding that home on Canada’s prairie.
Table of Contents - Real Estate Investing in Saskatchewan
Welcome to Saskatchewan, the breadbasket of Canada. This gorgeous stretch of land is covered in expansive prairies in the south, dense forests in the north and more than 100,000 rivers and lakes. That makes Saskatchewan something of a sportsman’s paradise. Add to that natural beauty millions of acres of fertile farmland and it’s not hard to get the appeal.
Historically, Saskatchewan is known as a farming province. Indeed, that reputation is well-earned, as Saskatchewan produces 54 percent of Canada’s wheat and nearly 30 percent of its grain year after year.
As you might suspect from the province’s farming focus, fully 35 percent of Saskatchewan’s population lives in a rural setting, far from bustling cities. That makes Saskatchewan one of the least urban provinces in Canada. Still, real estate investors in the area can make a living in one of the province’s growing urban centers. A fair number of people have gravitated toward larger cities in recent years, and while there is still a lot of growing to do, roughly half of Saskatchewan’s 1.1 million residents are split between the province’s two biggest cities, Saskatoon and Regina (that’s hard ‘i,’ by the way: Reg-eye-na).
The perfect invitation
Of all of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, Saskatchewan might be the most inviting to outsiders. It’s a reputation that Saskatchewan has worked hard to perfect and adapt over the decades. In the past, immigrants were attracted to the availability of wide swaths of farmland. Today, job seekers come to Saskatchewan to pursue a career in one of its three most prominent industries: finance, insurance and — especially — real estate. Indeed, though Saskatchewan may seem small by the numbers, the province has real investment potential.
Even if you’re not investing in Saskatchewan’s housing market, the province still makes jobs readily available. Saskatchewan’s 4 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in Canada. That makes it easy for natives and immigrants alike to find work. Add to the plentiful number of jobs, a housing market that tends to be less competitive than others, and Saskatchewan suddenly becomes a very lovely place for Canadian immigrants to call home.
The government of Saskatchewan is openly hungry for new residents. As a result, they’re doing everything in their power to draw in new people. The ultimate goal is to attract 10,000 new immigrants to the province every year.
It’s working, too, which explains why the real estate sector is one of the three fastest-growing industries in the province.
Saskatchewan is a buyer’s market
For those people looking to buy a home in Saskatchewan, the market is skewed in their favour due to a surplus of available housing units. The excess of available housing means that home prices and home values, by extension, are falling.
Even as the rest of Canada saw an average 8.4 percent rise in the sale price of homes in 2019, the prominent urban areas in Saskatchewan saw a slump. Home prices in Saskatoon drooped 2 percent, and home prices in Regina fell by 5-and-a-half percent.
That isn’t necessarily bad news, however, for a cunning investor in Saskatchewan. The entire region is looking at a promising economic future. Its history of encouraging immigration is also a good sign. Those two factors add up to one conclusion: the housing market in Saskatchewan is poised to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years. That means that this is the perfect time for an investor to strike, and take advantage of lower property values before they begin to soar in the coming years.
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A stable market
Before the Saskatchewan housing market begins to climb, it’s worth noting that the province’s overall housing market is still notably stable. A growing reputation for biotech expertise is drawing outside firms to the region, which is spurring the growth of businesses, which should, in turn, bring in more people. Most experts believe the Saskatchewan housing market is poised for serious growth in the coming years. Based on consistent growth over the last two years, predictions assert that home sales throughout Saskatchewan will continue to rise at least through 2021.
There’s more good news, too. Even as the housing market in the rest of Canada shrivels under the weight of the COVID-19 outbreak, the region of Saskatchewan remains strong. Though sales dipped a little bit, it’s worth noting that in March of 2020, there were three more residential home sales in Saskatoon than there were during the same month last year.
While it will take the market some time to recover from the novel coronavirus (as one might expect), real estate investment in Saskatchewan is still something of a safe bet.
Looking for a leg up?
As any seasoned veteran can tell you, the key to success in real estate investment is doing your homework. The second key is getting to know the people involved in the industry. Perhaps more than any other industry, networking is essential in the field of real estate investment. Before you sink even a single dollar into a property in Saskatchewan, it’s worth the time and effort to get to know the specifics of the area’s real estate investment market and the people who inhabit it.
Enter the Real Estate Investors Group of Saskatchewan. This meetup group describes itself as “a group of like-minded people networking and learning the ins and outs of Real Estate investing in today’s market.” The group is ideal for novice investors who are keen to learn.
REIGS Saskatchewan holds bi-weekly meetings for its members. Time is given to speaker presentations as well as casual meet-and-greet periods. You can find them on Facebook.
Given Saskatchewan’s reputation as a rural province, it can be easy to conjure up images of isolated farmhouses and remote communities when you think about it. Those exist, to be sure, but Saskatchewan still nurtures a few rapidly expanding urban centers. The largest of those cities is Saskatoon, with a population of roughly 300,000 people.
Saskatoon is home to the University of Saskatchewan. As a result, the area is home to a high number of college graduates. The high education level in the city is one reason the median household income in Saskatoon is relatively high at $67,000 a year. The average home price clocks in at roughly three-quarters of a million dollars. Renters who want a spot in the city center pay an average of $1,082 every month for a one-bedroom apartment.
Of course, there’s more to investing in Saskatoon than the residential sector. In addition to the city’s thriving residential housing market, opportunities also abound in the commercial sector. Once a prominent agricultural hub, Saskatoon has since reinvented itself. Leveraging its position as a University town, Saskatoon has poured millions into burgeoning tech. The effort has produced one of Canada’s most prominent biotechnology research epicentres. That reputation has drawn pharmaceutical companies and financial investors to the city in droves. This economic surge has been a real shot in the arm for the city’s commercial real estate sector as office and laboratory space become increasingly valuable.
Before it was renamed after England’s Queen Victoria Regina, the city of Regina was just called Pile-of-Bones. That’s hardly the way you should picture the town these days, though. The second-largest city in Saskatchewan, Regina, is also its capital and home to nearly a quarter of a million people.
Though Regina doesn’t have a vast population, its cultural diversity is stunning. Thanks to the region’s relatively affordable housing — an average house costs just $338,800; renters in a one-bedroom apartment can expect to pay about $1,068 per month — and a persistently low cost of living, immigrants flock to Regina. In 2004, Heritage Canada even called Regina the Cultural Capital of Canada.
Another high level of college graduates means that the median household income is quite high at $84,971 a year.
It’s worth pointing out that, in previous years, Regina’s housing market has been criticized as being relatively weak. That said, the city is seeing rapid economic growth; the GDP went up to $400 million in 2019 alone, a trend that is expected to continue. One financial expert summed it up like this: “We are now in a period of growth — full stop.”
While that economic and employment success hasn’t translated to the housing market yet, that is soon to change. Investors in Saskatchewan hoping to make money off of growth should zero in on Regina as the region continues its aggressive expansion. In the next few years, it could be poised to explode.
Roughly 150 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon lies Prince Albert, the province’s third-largest city. A driver can make the trip between the two cities in about 90 minutes, which makes it possible to supplement real estate investment in Saskatoon with a few side deals in Prince Albert (and the land in between). Considering that Prince Albert has a population of just 35,000, moonlighting in both cities is a good idea provided you don’t mind the drive.
Prince Albert’s housing market is very agreeable for new buyers and investors alike. The average house price is just $239,900, and a renter in a one-bedroom apartment will pay as little as $787 a month. Those relatively inexpensive housing costs explain why the area’s housing market saw nearly 5 percent growth in 2019. That’s a substantial figure regardless of where you’re sitting.
It’s also essential to take into account Prince Albert’s role as the so-called “Gateway to the North.” Prince Albert is the last major urban center before the province gives way to dense boreal forests in the North. That designation means that there is a market for short-term rentals in the area. Travellers passing through the city on their way to somewhere more remote often find that a one-night pit stop in Prince Albert is well worth the price of an Airbnb.
With a population of just 33,000, Moose Jaw is Saskatchewan’s fourth-largest city. Where population centers like Regina and Saskatoon favour a more intellectual approach to their days, the region of Moose Jaw is known for its workers. The city in southern Saskatchewan has a thriving industrial and agricultural sector. As a result, real estate investors in Moose Jaw would do well to consider learning how to evaluate rural properties for both businesses and private citizens.
There is a notable military presence in Moose Jaw, as well. Moose Jaw’s flat terrain and a huge number of cloudless days make it an ideal spot for flight training. Indeed, the Canadian Air Force Base at Moose Jaw is the country’s primary flight training facility. As a result, a defined military presence has grown up around the city. Of course, these are pilots, not enlisted men, which helps explain why the median household income is so high at $81,578.
The average cost of a house in Moose Jaw runs just $204,300 and the average monthly rent on a one-bedroom apartment is only $890. As a result of that relatively inexpensive real estate, Moose Jaw’s housing market has seen consistent upticks in popularity year-over-year.
It’s also important to note that Moose Jaw is home to a casino, which can provide a significant boost to the city’s short-term rental market.
In short, Saskatchewan’s rural land and excellent employment rate make it a sleeper hit for real estate investors. This province is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, so now is a good time to invest in real estate before the market gets more expensive. There are several real estate investor groups available, including the Real Estate Investors Group Saskatchewan, for networking and more resources.
Investing In Saskatchewan Real Estate
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