Hot Halifax Real Estate Market Feels the Impact of COVID-19

Hot Halifax Real Estate Market Feels the Impact of COVID-19

Across the country, the fallout from the COVID-19 economic shutdown is slowing down the usually brisk spring real estate market. Even hot markets like Halifax are having to react.


“The impact is being felt by buyers, sellers and real estate agents alike,” says RE/MAX nova Broker Ryan Hartlen. “Buyers are reluctant to view properties in person, and sellers are hesitant about allowing potential buyers into their properties.” And he says agents have to be aware of and sensitive to this new situation.  


Spring is the busiest time of the year for real estate transactions. And before COVID-19 hit, many markets like Halifax were braced for a record year. The new reality is much different.  While some people are pushing ahead with their plans to buy or sell, real estate activity across Nova Scotia is down significantly.    


These statistics for March may give us a glimpse of what’s coming:


  • New listings are down 15% for the last two weeks compared to the same period in 2019

  • Showings are down 70%

  • Cancellation and withdrawals are up 30% from this time in 2019

  • Written sales are actually up 14% however much of this relates to early March prior to the impact of Covid-19 


“What these numbers are telling us is buyers and sellers are delaying activities for now. It looks like they’re waiting to see how long this goes on and what impact it has on listings and prices,” says Ryan.  


Best advice: Have patience.


Having patience and delaying your move is likely the best strategy at the moment, but not everyone can do that. Some people may already be well into the buying or selling process or may be forced to move forward because of a job transfer or life change. If you’re in that situation, you can be confident that RE/MAX nova is open for business. It’s just not business as usual. 


Like others in our industry, we’re using technology tools to adapt to the new rules around social distancing. RE/MAX agents across the country are following these guidelines to ensure work gets done and everyone stays safe:

  1. No open houses – For the time being, in-person open houses are on hold. Instead, potential buyers can view properties through virtual tours or video-conferencing.

  2. Enhanced safety at showings – Sellers are being advised to take extra precautions when it comes to social distancing and sanitization during in-person viewings and inspections. That means cleaning high-touch surfaces and providing hand sanitizer, latex gloves and tissues. To reduce touching, they should leave all lights on and doors open.


  1. Fewer face-to-face meetings – Real estate is an interactive business, but we’ve had to find new ways of connecting. Many steps in a real estate transaction are now being handled through phone calls, e-mails, electronic signatures and video-conferencing. Brokerage offices are also closed to the public and internal meetings and events are being held online.  


Restrictions around COVID-19 are also having an impact on scheduling inspections, appraisals and pre-closing walk-throughs. For that reason, Ryan says it’s important for buyers and sellers to stay in close contact with their REALTORS, lawyers and lenders and inform them about any delays in approvals or inspections that could impact closing dates.


While all of these changes may be unsettling, it’s important to remember that this is temporary not permanent. We don’t know how long this situation will go on, but we do know it will end. And when it does, we fully expect a surge of buying and selling activity and a return to the vibrant market that we’ve experienced for the past two years.


Need some help? Our agents would be happy to assist you, whether you need to buy or list now or want to be prepared for the time when the market returns to normal. Contact us today.    

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