SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN – Today, the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) released its Quarter 3 2017 Economic Dashboard for the Saskatoon Region. Recent economic indicators continue to indicate modest growth for the economy by year end.
“The Saskatoon labour market has performed well with over 2,300 jobs created so far this year. Cautious optimism in the business sector continues to drive up new business start-ups and building permit applications,” said Alex Fallon, President and CEO of SREDA.
SREDA rates the status of the local economy with a C+ grade, maintaining the Quarter 2 2017 rating.
“Overall, the Region’s economy has gained enough traction to grow 1.6% this year. For these reasons we’re maintaining the C+ rating for the local economy and continue to forecast modest growth for the economy by year end,” said Fallon.
The dashboard includes recent economic indicators related to GDP, employment, housing, retail, business licenses and more. Quarter 3 highlights include positive results for GDP, new business licenses, retail sales and wholesale trade. On the downside, the Saskatoon Region’s unemployment rate remains unchanged at 8.2% compared to the national average of 6.5%.
“The third quarter of 2017 has brought with it a mixed bag of opportunity and uncertainty. Opportunity stems from the Conference Board of Canada’s forecast that Saskatoon’s economy is on pace for a 3.6% increase in growth, fueled primarily through rising commodity prices. The uncertainty, however, has been spurred by proposed federal tax policy changes that, although softened, remain uncertain which has business leaders on edge,” said Keith Moen, Executive Director of the North Saskatoon Business Association.
“A YTD decline in home sales combined with high inventory levels continues to soften home pricing. Recent changes to mortgage rules, which come into effect in January, may spike yearend sales, however, it will no doubt have a negative effect in the market in 2018 and beyond. These changes are primarily aimed at the larger overheated Canadian markets but their impact can be compounded in an already challenged local market such as Saskatoon and Region,” said Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors.
“Our commercial real estate industry remains a strong long term destination for investors and businesses. The retail sector has performed well, posting a 3rd consecutive quarter of positive absorption for a city wide vacancy rate of 4.1%. The industrial landscape by an outside view would seem slow, but the recent City of Saskatoon land tender saw developers snap up prime corners to land bank for future development. Although the office sector has a high vacancy rate (15.8%), there are positive longer term signs with the announcement of two major office towers (River Landing and The World Trade Centre) and a substantial renovation of the former police station. The activity around new and redeveloped office spaces proves tenants still require higher class office and developers are responding. Overall statistics may indicate a slow market, but activity in all sectors proves that developers and tenants still view Saskatoon as a strong long term market to take stake in,” said Josh Walchuk, Partner, Senior Sales Associate of ICR Commercial Real Estate.
“Our 2017 Visitor Survey, conducted by Fast Consulting, shows 96% positive rating of Saskatoon as a destination, (47% very positive), with strong majority agreeing or strongly agreeing that Saskatoon is a safe city (75%), provides good value (78%) and has friendly and helpful residents (84%). These attributes are fundamental to the growth of our tourism economy,” Todd Brandt, President and CEO, Tourism Saskatoon.
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