Halifax real estate agents find housing market is stalling

WATCH ABOVE: Realtors in the Halifax area say it has been a tough year on the market. Global’s Dave Squires reports.

HALIFAX – The real estate market in Halifax may seem to be booming because condo and apartment buildings popping up everywhere. but one sector of the business is stalling, according to real estate agents: houses.

Scott Grace, broker of Exit Real Estate Professionals, calls this year one of the toughest of his career. He attributes the slow sales to a number of factors.

“It’s been challenging. We are seeing that prices are still going up, and there’s been a lack of buyers in the market place,” he said.

“People are moving out west for greener pastures. Baby boomers selling off their homes and moving into condos and apartments and that’s causing a huge amount of listings on the market.”

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According to statistics from the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, this July saw a 12 per cent drop in residential sales compared to last year

There were 490 residential units sold in July 2015 compared to 559 residential units sold last July. Meanwhile, the average sale price continued to climb. This July, the average sale price around $284,000 compared to just under $278,000 last July.

Ryan Macleod, lead economist with Greater Halifax Partnership, describes the downward housing trend as a change in demographics in Halifax. There is a decline in the number of young families, and more people are buying into the booming apartment and condo market.

“I think that this reflects is a shift in demand towards a different product,” said Macleod

Sutton Group realtor John Kenny says 2015 has seen a slump. Although his sales have been holding, the transition from the long winter has been tough.

“Sales residentially from January to August are showing they are down seven per cent over the prior year. It now takes longer to sell a house, the days on the market are a lot longer. But I find the business is still there, we are just as busy at times.”

Realtors are hoping the downward housing trend will change once the national shipbuilding program in Halifax kicks into high gear.

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“We’re hoping the shipbuilding activity that’s suppose to start up next month will start to being some people back home,” said Grace.