Reports Point To Weakening Economy
On the economic front a duo of recently released reports point to poor economic conditions on the local scene.
Called a “canary in a coal mine” or an indicator of the state of the local economy property tax arrears to the City of Moose Jaw are once again at record levels.
In the September 30th City of Moose Jaw quarterly reports property tax arrears are now at an all time record of $1,291,477.
Property tax arrears have been on an upward trend according to the City's September Quarterly Report for at least the last six years.
Using September 30th as the benchmark, year over year tax arrears have been increasing.
On September 30th, 2013 arrears were $406,046 a year later in 2014 they were $517,962, in 2015 they were $651,632, in 2016 they were $753,878, in 2017 arrears totalled $854,822 and finally on September 30th, 2018 tax arrears were $1,291,477.
With September 30, 2013 tax arrears at $406,046 and the September 30, 2018 arrears at $1,291,477 there was an increase of $885,431 in tax arrears or just over a three fold increase in a six year span.
To put it into greater perspective the $1.291 million in tax arrears is close to five percent of the estimated $27.15 million the City will collect in 2018 property taxes.
The amount of tax arrears where the City has filed a tax lien against the property has almost doubled in the last three years.
On September 30, 2016 property tax liens were $623,663 and on September 30, 2018 they were $1,180,776. A tax lien indicates a property where taxes are in arrears several months past the annual June 30th property tax due date.
HOUSING MARKET SOFTENS
According to the latest market report from October by the Association of Regina Realtors Inc “housing prices continue to trend downwards” in the Moose Jaw market.
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) benchmark housing price at the beginning of November was $209,000 falling 5.4 percent during the month of October and down 5.9 percent from October 2017.
The MLS Benchmark Price for a single family home in October was $209,900 versus $220,900 in September.
In October 38 homes were sold in Moose Jaw through the MLS system compared to 41 in October 2017. New listings added in October were 59 homes.
In October $6,480,200 worth of homes were sold through the MLS system with an average selling price of $170,532 a decrease of 29.3 percent from October 2017.
Year to date housing sales total $89,278,700 for an average price of $235,564 or a 2.2 percent decrease. There has been 892 homes listed through the MLS system with 379 homes sold from January 1 to October 30 this year.
Housing prices and sales are usually indicative of the local economic conditions according to many economists.