Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I wasn't at all surprised to read (SP Jan. 26/11) about the cost of housing in Saskatoon. What did surprise me was the statement that the average salary in Saskatoon was $63,900.00. I was even more shocked to lean that the average salary in Canada was only $43,000.00.

I am sure that all those Saskatoon younguns that can't afford housing will be shocked to learn how far behind the average wage they are. I know that Saskatoon has some very wealthy people and that government, institutional and health care jobs pay reasonably well. I can't help but wonder if the top echelon salaries have skewed what the average working joe really earns.

When you add to the mix the ever-increasing property taxes and levies that homeowners are burdened with, it puts home ownership further out of range for young families. Add again to the mix the soon-to-be users fees for garbage pick up and any mandatory recycling program.

Before our boom and the city's rapid growth, our main drawing card to have our young people come back to Saskatoon and/or Saskatchewan was housing affordability. Now housing in Saskatoon is higher than the former mecca called Calgary, but wages are substantially lower. Although we have created jobs here, they are not necessarily high salaried positions that might be found in Calgary or the Alberta oil patch.

So how did our housing costs escalate so rapidly?

Expect that the near future will see a demand for higher wages on jobs that may not warrant higher salaries which will increase costs of service and goods, or a call for tax subsidized home purchases. Either way we are all going to feel the brunt of scenario.

That road between Calgary and Saskatoon is going to be well-worn - both my the young citizens and those taxpayers who are looking for tax relief from the taxes to come.


  1. The number is hugely inflated thanks to the double dipping teachers, greedy nurses and a few decades of every unionized worker being given the farm by the NDP.

    Any idea where demographics could be found on this topic. I'm very curious as to the under 30 average wage, or the aboriginal average wages. I have a feeling, as you said, that the wages are jacked up based on quite a few tenured long term union workers. Gotta love seniority based pay.

  2. Statistics Canada has reports that show all the data

  3. Housing prices primarily respond to supply and demand. Saskatoon has a situation where the city has a greater role in urban development than most other cities. This may not matter during low demand cycles but when demand amps up, the city's involvement tends to put a drag on supply. The additional cost incurred until equalibrium is reached with supply meeting demand is what makes our housing less affordable.

    All those people who rant against urban sprawl are actually in favour of higher house prices.

  4. If I remember correctly it was the Saskatchewan party who gave nurses a 33% increase....only to announce months later the Saskatchewan party had put the province into its biggest budget deficit in history.

  5. I would like some clarity on how the City's involvement puts a drag on supply given how much their budget was pumped into servicing new land??

  6. It takes a lot longer to go from scratch to built neighbourhood in Saskatoon than in does in Calgary. Some people might not like the 'wild west' character of Calgary's home market but you get rapid urban development.

    When I moved from Calgary to Saskatoon's far west side, I was told that the land west of the city would be a neighbourhood some day. TWENTY YEARS LATER that land is still being farmed. The city only services land and puts it up for bids when it thinks it is 'prudent.' By acting as the source of supply, the price goes up whenever the demand rises above the amount of serviced land which is released for development.

    Current budgets for servicing land can't possible have an effect on current prices. New neighbourhoods will affect the average price only as they are made available for purchase. In a rapidly growing economy, the city landbank acts as a bottleneck.


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