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Nova Scotia Real Estate Report for 2023/2024

Table of Contents

A Comprehensive Overview as of December 2023 and Forecast for 2024

As 2023 concluded, real estate enthusiasts in Nova Scotia frequently questioned the current state of the market, the potential decrease in home prices, and the best times for listing properties.

This comprehensive analysis, will answer those questions along with focusing on December’s market activities and the past year’s trends, including notable property sales, and provide a forecast for 2024.

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Market Analysis Summary:

The analysis has been comprehensively compiled into a spreadsheet, catering to those who favor a detailed, data-driven approach. It’s essential to acknowledge the uniqueness of each buying or selling situation, necessitating discussions with trusted realtors or lenders. Personalized discussions with Dawn Magee are also offered upon request.

In a nutshell, properties are selling if they’re priced right. Please note that this report is using median calculations, which are the exact middle of the total number of items to calculate, rather than the average, which is the total sum of the data items divided by the number of data items.

This data compiled is for closed transactions for both single-family homes and condos taken from our provincial real estate board, NSAR, and the MLS system.

This report will focus on the district of Halifax Dartmouth, Annapolis Valley, South Shore, and Nova Scotia as a whole.  Data from other districts will be mentioned if they stand out for some reason. Also included at the predictions section, will be the Benchmark prices from across Canada, which is another way of calculating that the Canadian Real Estate Association does, incorporating popular home features into their calculations.

New Listings

New Listings: The typical year-end trend saw December’s new listings dropping by 50% compared to November. Compared to December of 2022, this  number was down 6.3% for Nova Scotia and similarly most of the other districts, except Annapolis Valley and Yarmouth.

The highest number of new listings there have been in one month was in the past three years was back in June of 2022 with 1985, while this past December was the lowest number of new listings to hit the market  in the past few years at 415.

Number of Sales: Nova Scotia experienced a substantial drop in overall sales by 39% from 725 in November to 444, with Annapolis Valley seeing the most notable decrease of 47%. with just 50 sales The juxtaposition of increased listings with reduced sales suggests a cautious approach from buyers.

Nova Scotia experienced a substantial drop in overall sales by 39% from 725 in November to 444, with Annapolis Valley seeing the most notable decrease of 47%. with just 50 sales The juxtaposition of increased listings with reduced sales suggests a cautious approach from buyers.

Compared to  December of 2022, sales were down 18.2% for NS. The greatest drop was 48% in the Highland district, with the second biggest drop was Annapolis Valley at 26.5%.

Reasons for these numbers are likely because the Highland region is very remote, rocky and Annapolis Valley has alot of agriculture zoning so housing developments  in these areas are limited.

So, even though the total number of listings are up from this time last year by approximately 30%, the number of sales are down 20%.

When a property comes on the market in Nova Scotia, that is of good value or a property has had a price reduction that brings it into real market value range, they are still getting multiple offer situations.

This is evidence that there are still a good number of buyers out there, but that they are sitting, waiting and watching  for prices or rates to lower.

Looking at the past few years, it was in April of 2021 that we had the highest number of sales in a single month with 1661 for all of Nova Scotia. The lowest number of sales were in January of 2023 with 409, so it will be interesting to see how January 2024 numbers compare.

What this means for REALTORs®

Considering NS has about 2500 realtors and only the top 5%  of agents do the majority of the business, this tells me there are a lot of agents who had a slow 2023. This is important to note because there will be a lot of hungry agents out there door knocking, calling expired listings and for sale by owner properties. So if you are considering selling in the new year, it is wise to interview a few agents and don’t necessarily go with the agent that says they can get you the highest price.

Number of Active Listings

A noticeable month-over-month reduction in listings (11-21%) contrasted with a year-over-year increase of 20-30%, possibly indicating buyers waiting for better interest rate conditions.

The most active listings that  we have had at one time in the past few years was 3699 back in March 2020. The lowest point  of total active listing was in January 2022, so months worth of inventory was in the 2-3 weeks in some areas!

Median Home Sale Prices:

December saw Nova Scotia’s median home sale price at $385,000, a 3% increase from November and an 8.5% rise from the previous year. Halifax Dartmouth’s median price was $465,000, up 3.3% year-over-year.

Home prices were up the most at 20% in the Highland area,  but down 9.4% on the South Shore. This decrease is because the Chester area  had a number of top multi million dollar homes sales in 2022.

COVID Highs and Lows

June 2023 marked the peak median home sale price in Nova Scotia at $437,000. The year-to-date totals for 2023 indicated a 20.9% decrease in sales compared to 2022, with the median home price at $390,000, a 5.7% increase.

Keep in mind, the Halifax Dartmouth district covers a large area with a range of home prices. If you are looking at a newly renovated, detached 3+bedroom home on the peninsula of Halifax, you are looking at prices of $850,000 and up.

Now, looking at the year as a whole, the 2023 year-to-date totals compared to the year-to-date 2022 figures show that home sales were down 20.9%.

The median home price for NS was $390,000 ytd for 2023, which is up 5.7% compared to the year-to-date for 2022.

Top Properties of 2023

In the luxury segment, the top two sales in 2023 sold for over $3 million and both located  on Young Street in Halifax Peninsula.  The top sale on the South Shore was for $2,179,500 on Hermans Point Rd. In the Annapolis Valley, the top sale was $1,653,000 for a property on Castle Fredericks Rd. in Upper Falmouth.

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Top Sale for Nova Scotia
Top Sale on South Shore

2024 Market Predictions

The 2024 real estate market in Nova Scotia is expected to be influenced by global events, economic conditions, mortgage trends, demographic shifts, and government policies.

Economic Factors: Despite global economic uncertainties, 2023 showcased a resilient economic landscape, with policymakers focusing on balancing inflation management and economic growth.

Mortgage Trends: Stringent mortgage appraisals may lead to price renegotiations. Lending practices are adapting to accommodate diverse buyer profiles, including new residents, investors, and unrelated buyers.

Population and Wages: The province’s increasing population and wage growth are key factors affecting housing availability and economic inflation.

Wage increases of approximately 4.8% have been recorded for October and November.  This creates a delicate balance between providing consumers with spending power while avoiding excessive inflation.

Government Policies:

There are some federal tax incentives and exemptions that should help developers in 2024. Even if the Federal government offers up incentives for new construction, it doesn’t solve the red tape at the municipal level.

New construction has, on average, an additional 20-25% more cost due to permits, taxes, and fees.

Initiatives aimed at mitigating the housing shortage have demonstrated mixed effectiveness.

Advice for Sellers

If you are considering putting your home on the market but are worried you missed out on COVID prices, well, if you are hoping to get the same price as the peak in the 2nd quarter of 2022, first of all, that period was an extreme period with never-before-seen mortgage rates.

Second of all, 2023 year-to-date sale prices range from just 6%-16% below those home prices from that period. When looking at CREA’s benchmark prices for NS, they are 29% above what they were 3 years ago and 45% above benchmark prices from 5 years ago. So even if you bought just 5 years ago at $213,600 and haven’t done any upgrades, it should be worth today $390,000. That’s $176,400 in just 5 years.

Advice for Buyers

Mortgage pre-approval is a critical first step. Many sellers don’t even want you viewing their home unless you are pre-approved, and certainly, if you end up being in competition with another offer, the seller will surely choose the one that has been pre-approved.

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Additionally, government programs are available to assist first-time homebuyers and those looking to make improvements to their homes.

For those buyers waiting on the sidelines will be disappointed to find there will be no major home price drop or foreclosures in the future.

45% of homeowners hold no mortgage. And because of the mortgage stress test that has been in place for years, that rules out foreclosures.

To the contrary, analysts anticipate a continued upward trajectory, albeit at a more sustainable rate of around 6% per year, resembling a more typical market from years gone by.

Looking Ahead to the New Normal

The real estate market is undergoing quantitative easing, with the Bank of Canada unlikely to make hasty decisions. Predicted is a minor 25-point decrease in basis points by the end of the first quarter to entice some homebuyers from the sidelines without inciting a buying frenzy and driving home prices even higher.

In 2024, the real estate market will be moving towards normalization, with 2022/2023 year-over-year home price increases of 5-6%, resembling market value increases from pre-COVID years. Fixed mortgage rates sre expected to continue a sporadic decline into the 3rd quarter, where it will stay steady at 4.65-5% for a few months to engrain the inflation rate at just over 2%.

Aspiring homeowners will be prioritizing saving for a down payment and improving credit scores. There will be an evolving attitude towards side hustles, learning new skills, and pinching pennies. There will be an increased interest in energy-efficient homes, homes that are south-facing for solar installs, and there will be a movement of homesteading in 2024.

As the real estate market evolves here in Nova Scotia with a focus on sustainability and self-sufficiency, staying informed and adapting will be crucial for buyers and sellers.

Conclusion:

The Nova Scotia real estate market is gradually adapting to new norms of sustainability and self-sufficiency. For tailored advice and market analysis, interested parties are encouraged to schedule a consultation without pressure. Additional insights into home buying and selling in Nova Scotia are available through other videos and resources.

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