Retirees continue to flex their muscles in the Annapolis Valley and Yarmouth, dominating home-buying activity and prompting an increase in average home price across Western Nova Scotia in the first quarter of 2019.
Overall, Atlantic Canada is poised for strong housing market performance in 2019 as economic performance ramps up, unemployment rates decline, and first-time buyer incentives at both provincial and federal government levels take hold, according to the RE/MAX 2019 Atlantic Canada Housing Market Report. The report found strong momentum in the larger urban centres, as well as spillover into several smaller markets. Home sales are on par or up in just under half the markets surveyed (7/15), likely due to the current shortage of inventory, while housing values have climbed in almost three-quarters (11/15) of the Atlantic Canadian markets surveyed.
While unit sales are down from last year’s peak Q1 levels, active listings are at their lowest point in close to a decade, down by double-digits compared to the same period one year ago. Just over 10 months of inventory is available for sale in Annapolis Valley; 9.3 months in Yarmouth. Upward pressure on values exist as a result, with year-to-date average price hovering at $139,000 in Yarmouth, up 15.7 per cent from the year ago levels. Average price has climbed almost five per cent in the Annapolis Valley, rising to $174,286 in Q1 2019. Out-of-province buyers from Ontario and points west are especially active, as the tail-end of the baby boom generation moves to secure retirement housing. Most buyers are looking for one-level homes, priced between $200,000 and $225,000, in close proximity to major centres. A wide variety of housing types are available in the area, ranging from century homes with character to oceanfront properties starting at $250,000 (seasonal cottage). Newer oceanfront homes are selling for between $400,000 to $700,000, depending on size and location. Western Nova Scotia has traditionally experienced slow but steady growth, and that trend is expected to continue in 2019.