Nova Scotia real estate sales in defiance of national trend

In stark contrast to the situation in most other housing markets across the country, Nova Scotia’s residential real estate sales have seen a steady downward trend in the past few months.

Latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association revealed that the Halifax-Dartmouth market saw a 15.8-per-cent year-over-year decline in the total value of sales in February, down to $79.9 million.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, home sales in Nova Scotia’s urban core plummeted 5.2 per cent compared to January 2017, The Chronicle Herald reported.

Throughout the province, the number of home purchase transactions fell by 13 per cent in February, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors—a departure from the national trend found by CREA.

“Home sales over Canadian MLS systems rose by 5.2 per cent month-over-month in February 2017, to reach the highest level since April 2016,” the CREA’s latest report stated.

And while purchase prices in Nova Scotia remained comparatively steady—with the average sale price rising 1 per cent month-over-month in February, up to $209,889— Nova Scotia Association of Realtors president Anne Da Silva argued that much of the slowdown in sales activity could be attributed to the tighter federal mortgage rules implemented in the final months of 2016.

“[The stress test] didn’t affect your costs but it does affect what you can purchase,” Da Silva explained in an interview. “It has had a strong impact.”

“If the seller does not pass the stress test to get their next house, then they many not list their current home,” she added, in reference to the provincial market’s recent decline in listings.

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