YARMOUTH - Initial observations for 2018 on the real estate market in Yarmouth and area range from “stable” to “very positive.”
Residential sales in the region are up over 2017 but new listings are down in the area, narrowing the selection, says Tanya White, communications advisor for the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.
“Sellers are getting slightly less than their asking price over last year (down 2 per cent) but are still receiving 88 per cent of their asking price,” she said.
The number of days for properties on market is down: 122 days on market versus 148, and the average sale price is up 3 per cent over this time last year to $110,694.
New listings of residential properties were down in 2017 by about 32 per cent and as of February were down 4 per cent compare to this time last year.
White says local realtors mentioned that there are not a lot of rentals in the Yarmouth area and that rents are either too high to afford or so low-end they aren’t livable.
“They mentioned that there is also an influx of seniors renting and moving from outlying areas into town. Realtors in the area are not noting that young people are buying for that reason,” she said.
Local realtors also noted that there isn’t much in the downtown area for commercial properties because they aren’t being listed for sale, which is common in the area, she added.
“What local realtors are seeing is an increase in 25-to-55-year-old buyers. When modern/renovated properties hit the market we are trying to get these buyers in as there are many buyers in that market, with a price point of $150-$250k. Younger buyers are seeing value in buying versus renting,” she said.
“So far the real estate market for the Yarmouth area is very positive for 2018.”
The Real Estate Store realtor Mike Randall refers to the local market as stable.
“There are still an excessive number of listings and they still surpass the sales. It’s still a buyer’s market,” he said.
He added that there is a good appetite for older heritage-style homes in the Town of Yarmouth.
In the past year, Randall’s sales have been to Canadians, primarily Ontario and British Columbia.
“Because of the strong Toronto and Vancouver market, we’re realizing the outcome of it. They’re selling properties out there for high, high prices. People are coming here and retiring because of our slow pace of life, good lifestyle and climate. They’re putting the proceeds of their house sale in the bank and buying a moderate home in Yarmouth and with a small pension and some proceeds invested from their sale, they’re living happily ever after,” he said.
Sales to American residents are practically non-existent in his recent experience.
Randall has noticed the migration of older folks to senior residences in recent years.
“I have many clients in that situation. They’ve made a commitment to go but they can’t really, until they’ve sold their house.”
Another thing he’s noticed is buyers’ increasing necessity for reliable, fast internet.
“A lot of people have small, home-based businesses. The internet is not a maybe, it’s a must.
“I just sold a place in Argyle Municipality and they told me, we have to have it (high-speed internet). It’s necessary for us to buy. That was a local buyer,” he said.
John Armstrong, a realtor with Victory Realty, says he’s noticed there are very few commercial properties for sale around town.
He added that overall, residential properties tend to stay on the market for “easily” 90 days, some over 100 days or six months to a year.
“That may have shortened somewhat. In my opinion the market hasn’t changed very much. It’s stable, not overly fast-paced or busy. You’ll have your busy days and your slow days,” he said.
Other statistics from the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.
As of February, there were 9.5 months of inventory versus 11.4 months this time last year. (The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell all active listings at the current rate of sales activity. It is calculated based on the number of active listings at the end of a given period divided by the number of sales during that period.)
Sales to new listings: February 61.8 per cent versus this time last year at 56.1 per cent (The sales-to-new-listings ratio is calculated based on the number of sales
during a given period divided by the number of new listings during that period and is expressed as a percentage (i.e. the quotient is multiplied by 100))