What a year 2019 was for our real estate market here in Halifax. 2018 was a benchmark year that felt like a high point about to turn, but 2019 took the reins and kicked it into high gear!
Sale prices: No surprise here, it seems that regardless of market type (buyer, balanced, seller), the annual growth is a steady gainer. We did see a few ceilings hit and surpassed this year however, and the last almost half of the year witnessed the single family home sale values constantly hit over the $310k mark. That was a height that has never been hit, and 2019 was actually the first year to report single family home sale averages over the $300k mark on a consistent basis. No doubt there was a bit of help from the lack of inventory that caused multiple and full priced offer, pushing many sales to asking, or over asking price. In some cases, way over asking price!
Sales: No doubt that the continued hot sales trend was a topic of conversation in 2019, which was actually a carry over from what was thought to be a hot market in 2018. Turns out, 2018 was just the beginning! 2019 started out like any other year, a slow start and gradual elevation to the end of Winter, then, April hit and things took off like a rocket, reporting in at 813 sales that month, which hasn't been that high since the late 2000's. The difference with the market from the late 2000's and 2019 is the lack of inventory. Back then, the peak of the seasons usually crested around the 4500-5000+ available units to choose from, when this year, those numbers fell around 3000-3500 respectively. I wonder if the supply had been greater last year, that we would have seen these sales that much higher. Now, the demand is still high, but with a lack of supply and this sustained activity, things could prove to be that much more challenging to buyers in 2020.
Inventory: Five years...that's all it took to come from the highest amount of inventory that the city has ever had, to the lowest levels in over 13 years, and possibly much longer. With the below average weekly additions over the last couple of years, coupled with an increased and sustained buyer demand, we have found ourselves in a Sellers market in many areas of the municipality. The property purchase entry bracket ($250-$350k) is by far the hottest, especially as you approach the peninsula, which has also changed because of unit value increase. Many buyers are now unaware how quickly things have changed in the last few years, causing disappointment with the selection and quality at the new price range, which has also increased significantly in that time. People who bought low in 2014/15 find themselves with a quick sale, sure, but finding something to move too after the sale has become the challenge, which is one of the reasons why new construction has blown up in the last couple years. Subdivisions and developments that had been sitting relatively dormant for years have exploded with activity, and other hot areas of new construction, like Bedford West, is selling units before they even list. Still, resale is the product most sought after, but new construction has definitely given it a run for its money.
2019 was a solid performer, which many highs and very few lows. On this path however, we could see even more changes and potential problems should this trend continue. Could we see some of the big market boom/bust issues that fall on larger cities? I can tell you from experience that multiple offers well above asking price have already begun, and the showing trains on certain listings can last for days. Inquiries are still peaking, and there is a surplus of buyers waiting to get in. The big question is will 2020 be the year of the market turnaround, or will we see even more records snapped and prices skyrocket as we sink deeper into a sellers market? Only time will tell! Make sure to stop by the Halifax Real Estate Blog regularly for your weekly updates and more! Thanks for stopping by, and Happy New Year!
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Jeremiah Wallace, CD
Jeremiah has been involved with many aspects of the Real Estate industry for over twelve years. This includes construction, residential renovations, interior design, and investing in various income generating property products..
Photo's by Jeremiah