“[Foreclosures] are just a reflection on [the current state of] business,” says Paul MacNeil, an agent in Halifax. “Percentage wise, because there is so much government influence in the province, [foreclosures are] going to happen.”
Indeed, the recent announcement of a hiring and spending freeze left some workers dependent on those government-funded projects – or altogether employed by various levels of governments – unable to pay their mortgages, despite the currently low interest rates.
MacNeil says foreclosures are more common in rural neighbourhoods and in the lower price range of homes. However, Jeff Newson, an agent in Charlottetown, says they’re not an everyday – or even every month – occurrence.
“I probably do about five [foreclosures of 70 sales] a year,” Newson tells REP. “Are they common? Not really, but they do pop up every now and again.”
And when they do pop up, Newson says, they don’t stick around for long.
“I sell every one,” he says. “They’re a hot commodity when they do come about.”
MacNeil, too, says they’re a great deal for most buyers.
“It gives the common man a way to get 100 acres of land in the middle of Nova Scotia,” he says, “for $100,000 or less.”
The best way for agents to get their hands on a foreclosure listing is to head straight to the source: the bank. However, Newson says agents usually need to go through the brokerage to close the deal.
“It requires agency to sell,” he says. “It has to be done through brokerage in most cases.”
For his part, MacNeil says he gets passed foreclosure business through his relationships with mortgage brokers.
“I’ll get [foreclosed property listings] from a certain brand [of bank],” he says. “I have a relationship with the banks, so I have a little bit of an in.”
It’s a real estate landscape that poses both pros and cons for the local market, says agents in the region, pointing to overblown reports of property foreclosures.