By Dawn Magee, REALTOR®
Spring is in the air, but does that also mean that the Spring Housing market is upon us too? The weekly stats and data that I have been tracking since the end of March have produced some indicators to say that, although a couple of months late, we are entering into the spring market.
Moving onward and upward in the Nova Scotia Housing Market is we enter the second half of Q2 is being done with cautious optimism by the majority of industry members and analysts.
The Nova Scotia provincial government has begun to ease some COVID-19 restrictions during the second week of May. Along with the Real estate industry members educating and promoting the safe practices they in place for listing and showing homes, home Buyers and Sellers have started to exhale and started wading back into the real estate market.
There are at least three indicators to support that the signs we are seeing with the new listings, sales, and showings data, are signs that we are easing into the busy spring season.
The past month (April 19- May 10) has seen a decrease across Nova Scotia of new listings of 65-75% of single-family homes, over the same period last year. Evidence of stronger Seller confidence is, while this past week there has been a jump in new listings so that we are only seeing a 45% decrease in new listings.
There was a short-lived spike in confirmed sales (conditions met but not yet closed, the last week of April, beginning of May, which could have been the residual Buyers and Sellers who needed to purchase or sell a property on due to work transfers, change in circumstances, etc.
There has been a continuous decline in confirmed sales since then including this past week, which is most certainly due to a lack of homes available. Expect to see this number increase as the number of new listings begin to increase and sales conditions get confirmed, usually 7-10 business days after an accepted offer.
Any new listing that comes onto the market that is properly priced or within 5% of market value, many of them are getting a barrage of showings and multiple offers, especially in the Halifax-Dartmouth area.
If Buyers are working with an agent who is sending them new listings as they come on the market, then they need to review them quickly and decide if they want to view, because many listings aren’t lasting more than a couple days without getting an offer.
Buyers should have a mortgage pre-approval as well, because if a Seller is choosing from multiple offers, they may often choose to accept an offer from the Buyers who have been identified as having their financing in order.
Closed deals have shown some interesting numbers as well over the past few weeks. Home sales in Nova Scotia did see an increase this past week over the week before, which gives more support to the fact that we may very well be at the beginning of the spring market.
Sales are still down when compared to the same period last year by 60% for Nova Scotia overall, but for the Halifax market, this past week they were only down 7% from last year!
Homes sale prices have increased as well overall, With Halifax home sale prices showing an 18% increase from the same week last year. This dramatic increase could be from the $1,000,000 sale on Partridge lane in Bedford, so once May comes to a close, this increase may average out.
April 2020 saw an 11% market value increase over April 2019’s single-family homes sales in the Halifax Dartmouth region. The Halifax Dartmouth region only saw a 7% decrease in sales volume from last year as well.
SHOWINGS ARE UP
The last piece of data to also support that we are entering the spring market is the fact that the number of showings has increased by 15% for the last two weeks in a row.
Currently, Nova Scotia only has 4 months’ worth of inventory. Competition is highest in Halifax Dartmouth with just 2.6 months-worth of homes. Annapolis Valley has 5 months and the South Shore is sitting more comfortable with 7 months’ worth of inventory. Anything less than 6 months of inventory is considered a Seller’s market.
Low inventory and entering the pandemic in a Seller’s market has been a driving force behind the “V” shaped economy that recovery financial institutions and market analysts predicted post-COVID-19.
In Nova Scotia, the construction industry, with is lack of skilled labor and the housing industry with it’s with the low inventory of homes will be leading the economic recovery from the impact of COVID -19
Peter Norman, Vice President and Chief Economist at Altus Group talks with Financial Post’s Larysa Harapyn about the housing sector amidst COVID-19.