Source – saltwire.com
- “…At the top was northeastern Nova Scotia (Antigonish,Guysborough and Inverness counties) with a 121 per cent increase in sales, while Cumberland-Colchester and Yarmouth followed close behind at around 90 per cent. “We still have our local buyers but primarily it is people from Ontario or British Columbia,” said John Armstrong”
Rural areas lead Nova Scotia’s hot real estate market
Aaron Beswick · April 15, 2021
House sales in the first quarter of 2021 were up 47 per cent in Nova Scotia over 2020, and the average price was up 27 per cent.
Data from the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors shows Halifax-Dartmouth at the back of the pack for growth in home sales and prices with just a 26 per cent increase in houses sold during the first three months of 2021 and a 35 per cent increase in price.
At the top was northeastern Nova Scotia (Antigonish,Guysborough and Inverness counties) with a 121 per cent increase in sales, while Cumberland-Colchester and Yarmouth followed close behind at around 90 per cent.
“We still have our local buyers but primarily it is people from Ontario or British Columbia,” said John Armstrong, who serves on the board of the association and works with Victory Realty in Yarmouth.
“They see this as an opportunity because they have discovered they can work from home, that they don’t have to go to their city office anymore. One of their prime concerns is access to high-speed internet. When you tell them there’s high-speed internet, that’s almost a deal closer.”
The new buyers are primarily retired or soon-to-be-retired couples.
The rush to leave increasingly unaffordable urban housing markets to move to relatively COVID-19-free rural Nova Scotia has seen a buying up of housing stock.
There were 2,590 properties on the market in Nova Scotia at the end of March, down 41 per cent from the same time last year. That’s the fewest properties on the market in this province in three decades.
“The silver lining is, for the first time in 10 months, there was a month-over-month increase in overall inventory, halting a persistent decline in active listings that started back in June 2020,” reads the report.
But it wasn’t because of new housing starts. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, there were 699 new housing starts in the first two months of 2021 in Nova Scotia, down from 753 during the same period in 2020.
Material costs continued their rocket trajectory, with two-by-fours and panels more than doubling between March 2020 and 2021, according to Natural Resources Canada.
For the Antigonish Affordable Housing Association, it’s meant the cost to build a 12-unit complex has gone up by $70,000 since October.
“We were in a crisis before the pandemic,” said Colleen Cameron, chair of the association.
“The pandemic has just highlighted it.”
The not-so-silver lining of the numbers is for the province’s low-income population.
Cameron said increasing sale prices and costs to build will compound the impact of Airbnb on rental stock and a dearth of investment in affordable housing by government over recent decades.
While the provincial government announced rent controls that will continue until December 2022, Cameron said they don’t cover increases made when properties sell and won’t fix the underlying trend of housing affordability. Her association is pushing ahead with construction on its building, which will add to the 14 units it currently rents