Immigration to boost Halifax housing market – maybe

by Jamie Henry16 Oct 2014
Agents in Nova Scotia’s HRM remain bullish on the market, despite the latest CREA numbers suggesting a boom from the much-touted shipyard contract could take more time than expected.
“I think Halifax has a pretty solid record historically,” Paul MacNeil, a 26-year veteran sales rep in Halifax, tells REP. “I can see some changes here; immigration will be changing things.”
While Halifax saw year-over-year increases in the average sales price, namely a 1.8 per cent rise, that’s still below the national average of a 5.9 per cent increase. The hike in the number units sold throughout the HRM was higher at  9.3 per cent, likely a function of supply continuing to outweigh demand as some sellers look to capitalize on the buzz associated with the city’s $2 billion shipyard contract.
Many of those sellers are baby boomers who are trying to cash out, says MacNeil.
But they may still be too early to the game.
Like many of Halifax’s industries, the shipyard will is effectively a government project phased in over a number of years. Its announcement two years ago stirred interest in the Halifax region and, for real estate agents, lifted their expectations around home sales but also a rapid growth in prices.
That hasn’t yet happened.
“You might get more density in the northern parts,” says McNeil, pointing to the shipyard. “But in terms of a city, you need more than that to keep it going.”
Still, MacNeil isn’t alone in believing the future for Halifax is a good one.
“Evidence suggests that some sellers have begun to soften their position on what they are willing to accept by way of offers in regards to price,” says CREA’s chief economist, Gregory Klump. “Over the rest of the year, CREA expects that sales will gradually draw down inventories, return the market from buyer’s to balanced territory, and ultimately cause prices to become firmer.”

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