First-Time Buyers Key Driver in Hot Halifax Housing Market

First-Time Buyers Key Driver in Hot Halifax Housing Market

Despite being a seller’s market, Halifax continues to attract young buyers looking to purchase their first home before prices get out of reach. In fact, first-time buyers were one of the driving forces behind Halifax’s hot housing market in 2019.

“We think we’re kind of getting in at a good time while it’s still quite affordable. But it is increasing rapidly,” says Erin Moore who recently bought a condo in north-end Halifax with her fiancé Alex Lavoie. Still, the seller’s market did pose a few challenges for them. “It’s been kind of a rollercoaster ride since we started looking,” recalls Erin.

Before they decided on a condo, they were initially searching for a single-family home. They even put an offer on one last summer. But they didn’t get it, even though they made the offer the day the house went on the market and offered more than the list price.

“Our offer was $25,000 over asking price for a single family home in Dartmouth and we were beat out considerably,” explains Alex. “It made us realize, okay, this is a seller’s market for sure. 

Competition for homes pushes prices higher 

RE/MAX nova agent Mary Stickings helped Alex and Erin find their new home and deal with the challenges of the city’s seller’s market. She says today’s reality is buyers, especially in popular areas, have to be ready to pay more and act fast. “It’s raising the average sale price, so it’s making homes more expensive to get,“ explains Mary. “It’s also putting them in a situation where there are multiple offers and when a listing comes on the market, they’ve got to be prepared to move quickly.” 

Mary cautions buyers who end up in a multiple offer situation to consider the home’s value and decide what price they’d be comfortable with so they don’t end up paying too much. She even offers her clients an independent market assessment to help them make a more informed decision. 

Last year was Mary’s most successful year yet but she says she’d still prefer a more balanced market that’s good for both buyers and sellers. “As a buyer, it’s a difficult market and it’s difficult [as an agent] to be constantly disappointing your buyer by not being able to find them what they’re looking for.” 

A balanced market may not be coming anytime soon, at least not in 2020. Companies like RE/MAX  are predicting another seller’s market for Halifax and another year of increasing prices. 

Halifax market challenging but affordable 

While Halifax house prices are at a record high, they’re still well below many other cities across the country. Young people like Alex and Erin have been virtually shut out of the market in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver. But with prices averaging about $320,000, first-time buyers can still find an affordable home in Halifax.

“We’re very happy to be in the city that we’re in and have the opportunity that we’ve had to do this,” says Erin. And Alex has a tip for anyone thinking about getting into the Halifax market.

“Buy now. I feel like it’s only going to go up from here, especially on the peninsula,“ he says.

“I think it would be difficult to make a bad real estate investment in Halifax at this time.”

And there are a few other reasons why now might be a good time for first-time home buyers. For one thing, the city’s population is growing, interest rates are still low and there are several government programs for first-time buyers.

If you’re ready to start searching for your Halifax area home, we’d be happy to help you. Contact us today and one of our RE/MAX nova agents will be in touch with you soon.

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