Real estate trends for 2017 in Nova Scotia

Strongest selling points include location, amenities and age of home

Published on March 2, 2017

YARMOUTH, N.S. - Last year turned out to be a positive one in Nova Scotia real estate with residential sales rising 21.6 per cent overall and sellers receiving asking price for their homes.

Tanya White, communications adviser for the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, says most younger buyers are looking for homes that require little work.

“They aren't willing to do much work even if it’s only cosmetic,” she said.

Older buyers are looking to downsize from their large, two-storey homes, which is proving difficult due to the lack of interest.

“They are dated and hard to heat. Older clients are looking to get bungalows with everything on the main floor, including laundry,” she said.

There are still first-time buyers and people returning from away to purchase cottages and land.

Buyers are interested in affordability, while seeking modern finishes, modern appliances and updated home furnishings such as farm house sinks and decorative faucets, kitchen islands, granite countertops, hardwood flooring and heat pumps.

 In some areas, there is a big attraction to bank foreclosures. These sometimes serve as a good start for low-income buyers or as rental opportunities for clients looking to make extra money.

Halifax-Dartmouth shows a strong real estate market with condo sales increasing by 2.6 per cent over 2015.

However, the all-residential category was still the strongest type of sale at an increase of 5.8 per cent over 2015.

The average sale price of a home in the province is $195,151; for Yarmouth area $93,668; and the Annapolis Valley area $138,388 (Jan 2017 MLS data).

 The median number of days a house is on the market in Nova Scotia is 95.5 days (down from 99 in 2016).

White says because each region of the province is different, trends vary.

“However, it seems that rural areas continue to struggle to keep the younger demographic from moving outside the province or to Halifax-Dartmouth and in the rural areas people are remaining in their homes a bit longer, then moving into apartments or seniors homes.”

 In the Yarmouth area, homes in the $100,000 to $150,000 range are popular.      

Overall in Nova Scotia, data shows that the sales-to-listing ratio is up 14 per cent. The sales-to-new-listings ratio is calculated based on the number of sales during a given period divided by the number of new listings during that period and is expressed as a percentage (i.e. the quotient is multiplied by 100).

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The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors (NSAR) represents about 1,500 real estate brokers and salespeople across the province.

For current statistics on market conditions and other information, visit the NSAR section on the Canadian Real Estate Association website