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  • Dec 30, 2013
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Market Projected to Improve

The real estate market in Nova Scotia had a sluggish fall, but industry groups remain optimistic that a rebound is around the corner.

According to numbers released by the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS Monday, provincial sales were down 6.8 per cent in the three-month period ending in November when compared to last year. Halifax-Dartmouth led the way with a 10.2 per cent drop in sales.

Listings in the association’s multiple listings service increased by 2.7 per cent, again led by the Halifax-Dartmouth region, which saw a 7.1 per cent jump from the same period last year.

However, the Highland area, which includes Guysborough, Inverness, Richmond, and Antigonish counties, had a 26.4 per cent drop in listings in the fall.

Average sale prices increased by 0.1 per cent in Nova Scotia to $205,234, with Halifax-Dartmouth showing a 1.4 per cent increase to $263,051. Yarmouth and the Highland area had the biggest decline in sales prices, at 13.8 and 12.1 per cent, respectively.

“The story has been similar for most of the year provincially — stable pricing, fewer sales, and more listings,” Gary Mailman, association president, said in a news release. “Of course, this varies in every region and every community. Other variables include the time of year and economic factors that may be influencing buyers and sellers at that time.”

The association noted that the return of the Yarmouth-Maine ferry in May 2014 is “likely to improve the housing market in Yarmouth, which took a hit when the ferry service was cancelled.

“It will take time to re-establish the job and housing market, and a sense of security, but the opportunities are promising,” the release states.

Additionally, other parts of the province can expect a resurgence as well next year, when “we can expect to see slightly more activity in the real estate market than in 2013.”

Last week, Re/Max released a report that suggested that the Halifax-Dartmouth region would experience a five per cent increase in sales in 2014, with an average selling price of $278,000.

And nationally, the Canadian housing market is expected to stay strong in 2014, while sales of previously owned homes now look to come in slightly better than expected this year, according to the country’s largest real estate association.

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s 2013 sales projections, released Monday, have risen slightly across Ontario and the four western provinces. And the group says prices have been generally firmer than originally forecast.

“Most housing markets are well balanced, including many large urban centres,” said Gregory Klump, the association’s chief economist. “Housing price gains are always stronger in places where supply is tight relative to demand, such as we’re seeing in Calgary and in parts of southern Ontario, including the low-rise market in Toronto.

“Prospects for price appreciation will be limited in parts of Quebec and some areas in the Maritimes, where competition among sellers has increased.”

Nationally, the association is projecting 458,200 homes will be sold through its members this year — eight-tenths of a per cent more than in 2012 and up from the September forecast of 449,900.

It also anticipates sales next year will be even stronger, coming in at 475,000 homes nationally, up from the previous 2014 forecast of 465,600.

It attributes the gain to a weak start to 2013, which it does not expect to happen in early 2014.


With The Canadian Press