Halifax boom still ahead

Nova Scotia’s real estate market was abuzz with speculation after news of a $25 billion ship building contract was announced in late 2011. Mortgage broker Brad Compton, of Invis, however, suggested that investors still had time to snatch up deals after the initial frenzy died.

With Nova Scotia's July sales down just over 9 per cent ova Scotia almost 10% year-over-year.

“I think there was a blip in the market when it was announced two years ago but the ship building hasn’t begun yet so there are no workers coming in yet,” Compton said. “I think they’re predicting the building to start in 2015 and we may see a bit of an uptick then. Time will tell how quickly they build and how many people will come in to work.”

Compton originally spoke with CanadianRealEstateMagazine.ca in April 2012, advising investors to wait out the storm and his tune hasn’t changed.

“What will probably happen is that migrant workers will come in, do their piece of the ship and when that is done, move on,” he said. “I’m not sure how many workers will stay in the city. The contract could change and they could build fewer ships.”

When and if a real estate boom happens is still up for debate.

“If the uptick happens, great. It certainly won’t be happening in the next couple years and if it does, it will be slow and gradual,” Compton said. “First we’ll see an uptick in rentals and then maybe an increase in sales as workers feel more secure. Some workers may leave their families to work and then maybe move them over and look to buy property.”

Scott Bentley of Premier Mortgage Centre isn’t surprised by the decline in home sales in Nova Scotia this year.

“I think year-over year-unit sales are down significantly. There was a lot of hype and speculation – last year’s numbers were a bit of an anomaly; they increased as a result of the announcement.”

Bentley still has hope for the future. Once the actual building starts, that is.

“I think what you’ll see is that once they start building in 2015 sales will go up. Right now they are doing infrastructure work but most of the design work isn’t done here; the actual building will be part of the boom. Right now there aren’t a lot of people flocking to live there.”

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