American interest in Sask. properties jumps 200%
After Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, there was a surge of American interest in Canadian real estate.
The spike in interest continues to grow in six provinces, including Saskatchewan, according to Royal LePage. Based on tracking Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, more than 100,000 Americans were looking at house listings on the company’s consumer real estate port after Trump was elected Nov. 8, 2016.
American interest in Saskatchewan properties increased from 0.1 per cent between Jan. 1, 2016 and Nov. 1, 2016, to 0.5 per cent between Jan. 1, 2017 and Nov. 1, 2017.
That’s an increase of nearly 200 per cent, year-over-year, said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer with Royal LePage.
“What it says to me is that the interest that was triggered by the change in federal administration last November, a year ago, has persisted,” he said. “It wasn’t a short-term spike. It has changed fundamentally the interest level that Americans have in potentially immigrating.”
Even though the number of Americans looking at Saskatchewan real estate is small, it is a legitimately large increase, said Doug Elliott, publisher of Sask Trends Monitor.
However, he noted immigration from all countries in the first half of 2017 is down six per cent from the first half of 2016.
“It certainly doesn’t suggest there’s anybody acting on coming here more likely than the year before — in fact, the opposite,” Elliott said.
So why the increased browsers? “Perhaps wishful thinking,” Elliott said.
“If Mr. Trump was my president I would be perhaps casting around looking for options for sure,” he added.
Americans viewing Regina listings on the realtor’s home page grew by 14.12 per cent year-overyear (Jan. 1, 2017 to Nov. 1, 2017 compared to Jan. 1, 2016 to Nov. 1, 2016).
Meanwhile, in Saskatoon, American page views on Royal LePage’s listings in the Bridge City grew by 57.70 per cent year- over-year.
While interest in Saskatchewan properties grew, the percentage of total American page views on the Royal LePage website was lowest for our province.
“Roughly, the largest population centres and the largest number of homes for sale attract the largest number of American shoppers,” Soper said.
With the widespread availability of the internet, people are immigrating to cities, large and small, Soper said.
“Traditionally, they looked at Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary — roughly in order of population,” he said.
“Now, they’re looking at Saskatoon and Moncton and places where there is economic opportunity and the cost of living is much more reasonable than in our larger cities and they can find that information online.”
Soper wonders if there is a fundamental shift in the attractiveness of Canada as a destination in contrast to America and its changing approach to immigration.
“We don’t actually track the nationality of purchasers, but we continue to track the activity level on our web property,” he said. “What we can’t say with certainty is that this percentage of people are now buying homes that originate from the United States.”
Ontario continued to lead the country as the top-researched destination by Americans on royallepage.ca.
That province’s page views increased from 44.4 per cent between Jan. 1, 2016 and Nov. 1, 2016 to 45.4 per cent between Jan. 1, 2017 and Nov. 1, 2017.
British Columbia and Quebec came in second and third.
“Where it gets skewed a little bit was there was more interest in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick from Americans than you would guess, based on their population,” Soper said.
However, that has traditionally been a part of Canada that attracts a lot of Americans from New England, particularly for recreational property.
One of the silver linings of the Trump administration is Canada will “get the pick of the litter in terms of the best and brightest from around the world who are looking to create a new life for themselves in North America,” Soper said.
“Many of those people will now be looking at Canada more favourably because it’s a tolerant nation with functioning finance systems, functioning governments and a health-care system that is stable,” he added.