What Halifax Home Buyers Can Expect in 2021

What Halifax Home Buyers Can Expect in 2021

What Halifax Home Buyers Can Expect in 2021

Emma Taylor and Chris Morash consider themselves lucky. After two months of house hunting, they finally bought their first home late last year and moved into it in January. “It is a great feeling and makes us feel secure,” says Chris.  

Their experience ended well but it took some perseverance to find a home in the Halifax region’s intense seller’s market. They ended up looking at 10 homes and made offers on six of them. “It was exciting at first and then we were beginning to get discouraged towards the end,” recalls Emma.

They started out looking for a bungalow in Sackville but ended up buying a semi-detached, two-storey home in Eastern Passage. They also had to offer $35,000 over asking to outbid the other buyers. But they were relieved to finally get a home of their own. “It was extremely exciting,” says Chris. “We were worried we may have to wait a long time to secure a home due to the current market.”

Unique market conditions pose challenges for buyers

RE/MAX nova’s Mary-Lou Tallon helped Emma and Chris through the buying process. And she’s seen the same scenario play out for numerous other buyers over the past year or so. Fortunately, despite the stress of bidding wars, most were pleased with the end result.  

 “They’re happy, especially if they’ve tried a few times and have not been successful. And then when they finally are, it’s like winning the lottery.” 

Mary-Lou’s top tips for buyers include making sure you’re ready with pre-approval for financing and getting a clear understanding of how the market has changed. For instance, you can no longer just see a house you love, make an offer and expect to get it. It doesn’t often work out that way because so many other buyers are bidding against you. And remember negotiating? That’s largely a thing of the past, too. 

‘Some think when they write an offer, ‘Well, let’s just start here. Well, those days are gone, you can’t just start somewhere. You have to give it your best shot.”

Mary-Lou says competition is toughest for first-time buyers who are looking for homes under $300,000. “I would say I’ve written at least six or seven offers for clients before I finally find them something,” explains Mary-Lou, adding their determination intensifies the longer the process goes on. “By the time the last offer goes in, they’re finally more aggressive and they’re like, ‘Okay, we’re done with this game. We need to do what we can to get it.’”

Halifax-area house prices continue to rise

In competing offer situations, Mary-Lou says she faces a delicate balancing act between wanting her clients to get the home but also not wanting them to pay too much. And these days, a home’s list price doesn’t often reflect what the end price is going to be. “You don’t know what the prices are, so it’s sort of like playing darts in the dark.”

“It’s okay if you want to win that home, but how long are you going to be in it? Because we don’t when this market is going to stop or if it’s going to continue. It’s just a question mark right now.”

Mary-Lou feels prices will stay high. “My gut is telling me that it’s only going to continue to go up. In Nova Scotia, we’re a hidden secret.” Now that the secret is out, she thinks more people will want to move here.

Home buyers need to be patient and flexible

Emma and Chris are glad their patience and determination paid off. And they advise other buyers to be prepared to make sacrifices if they’re really set on buying a home.

“Sacrifice and flexibility is something home buyers are going to have to deal with right now,” says Emma. “Try to be open to different options and locations, otherwise you may not be able to find something within your budget.” 

Are you ready to step into the market to find your first or forever home? Our experienced agents at RE/MAX nova are here to help and we’re just a click away. Contact us today.