House listings up, sales down in Nova Scotia
© Thomas Becker - Amherst News
The average price of a home is down (4.5 per cent), yet sales have decreased (15.7 per cent) from last year.
AMHERST – If you’re looking to purchase a home, you may be in luck. The Nova Scotia housing market is currently a buyers market.
Throughout Northern Nova Scotia (during Jan. to June 2013), in particular, the region Amherst is located in, there’s been an increase in listings (1.2 per cent), while the average price of a home is down (4.5 per cent). Yet sales have decreased (15.7 per cent) from last year during the same timeframe.
Based off these stats, it’s clear Nova Scotians aren’t buying as many homes as they did a year ago.
“I think that people are leery of investing in real estate, when in fact now is probably one of the best times to buy because lending rates are still low and inventory is high which is good for a buyer looking for a well priced home. The issue is that banks are starting to tighten their lending rules, which makes it difficult for first time buyers to enter into the market,” Jamie Smith, a real estate agent with RE/MAX County Line Realty said.
Historically, the housing market has consistently gone through a series of peaks and valleys, Rod Gilroy, owner of Royal LePage Cumberland Realty said.
In 2011 the market hit one of those peaks. What will often happen is the housing prices will rise and once potential buyers think prices are getting a little high they’ll wait to make a purchase. When the market hits a low point the prices start to soften and as the prices soften potential buyers then rush back in.
“It’s all price relative. Sales activity picks up as prices soften,” Gilroy said.
With new projects on the go such as housing developments that are starting to take hold and building lots that are opening up again (which has been an issue over the last three to four years), Gilroy expects the market to peek again within 12 months.
“I’m expecting some movement late next spring and into summer. Over the next two quarters prices could slip another 3 to 5 per cent across the board and then the market will turn the corner.”
People are still buying homes, it’s just the listings to sales ratio is more skewed than a few years ago, Smith said.
“Rates are good, inventory is high, there are definitely buyers taking advantage of this. A lot of buyers out there find it difficult to come up with a down payment, legal fees, deed transfer costs, etc. I think that is holding some people back, but first-time buyers are more educated than they ever were and also more cautious.”