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Booming real estate market reaches rural N.S. – CBC.ca

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Realtors in rural Nova Scotia are adjusting quickly to a new way of selling houses as buyers from places like Ontario and B.C. snap up properties without seeing them in person.

Christopher Snarby, the co-owner of Exit Realty Inter Lake, sells properties from Chester to Queens County and estimates he’s sold 12-15 of them sight unseen since May.

“People have been desperate and they can’t get here to see it, and they know things are moving quickly so they just kind of have to make a choice,” Snarby told CBC’s Information Morning on Monday.

“And not everybody’s comfortable with it, but certainly I’ve had a number that have been.”

He admits selling a property virtually can be a challenge. 

“It’s hard to describe a smell or feel of a house, but it really does become our responsibility to try to convey as much information as we can,” Snarby said. 

October was a record-breaking month for property sales across the province with inventory low and prices continuing to soar, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.

Bobbi Maxwell said half of her buyers right now are from outside the province and won’t see their houses in person until they arrive. Most are middle-aged people who can work from home and are looking for a place to retire at some point.

“We’re starting to see more people … migrate this way because they want the solitude, the peace, the quiet, the safety and the beauty of the beaches,” said Maxwell, a realtor with Viewpoint Realty Services who sells properties around Barrington and Clyde River in Shelburne County.

“We’re not as hot as the metro [market], but it’s definitely been one crazy market for us as well.” 

Record October across N.S.

The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors compiled data for the month of October that shows 1,427 units were sold across the province, up more than 30 per cent from October 2019.

The average sale price was a record $304,590, rising just over 21 per cent from the previous October. 

In Yarmouth, there were 24 residential sales in October, up 41 per cent from last year and in the Annapolis Valley, 203 properties were sold, up 30 per cent since last October. The average sale price also went up in both areas last month. 

Christopher Snarby, co-owner Exit Realty Interlake, said people are moving to communities on the South Shore for the relative affordability, friendliness and proximity to the ocean. (Robert Short/CBC)

On the South Shore where Snarby works, sales in October were up about 30 per cent from last year and the average residential price was just over $291,000, an increase of 36 per cent over last October. 

The booming market is a major win for sellers but can be frustrating for buyers

“We’re not usually accustomed to that many bidding wars in our area, but now … most properties have gone into at least two or three offers and the time frames are a lot quicker as well,” Snarby said.

In the past, houses would sit on the market for six months to a year and now they’re gone in weeks or days, he added.

Rural internet still a challenge

Even though people are eager to move to Nova Scotia for its friendliness and relative affordability, Snarby and Maxwell said they are routinely asked about internet service.

“It’s really funny because people are more concerned about the internet than they are health-care services,” Maxwell said.

She said newcomers are good news for rural areas like Shelburne County that have struggled with out-migration. 

Bobbi Maxwell hopes the tide is turning for communities like Shelburne, which have seen an out-migration of residents in recent years. (Robert Short/CBC)

But she said there could be challenges, too. 

Many new buyers say they eventually want to build their own homes but finding skilled labour in the area isn’t always easy, she said. 

“I think we’re going to have a lot of growing pains because with the demand, we’re very short on tradesmen like plumbers and electricians and carpenters,” Maxwell said.

“I really am hoping that a lot of the people who are moving here from away are bringing in new skills or new motivation to want to … become career oriented or focused and become tradesmen in our area.”

Snarby said some of his clients are selling homes in the $800,000 range in Ontario and buying a property in rural Nova Scotia for around $200,000, leaving a healthy amount for their retirement fund.

 “And at the end of the day, if they’re not comfortable with their house or if it’s not quite the right one, they can put it back on the market and there’s a good chance it’ll sell,” Snarby said. 

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‘Where is Snoopy?’: Dartmouth Realtor suspended, fined for taking tenant's dog – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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A Dartmouth Realtor is in the doghouse with her regulatory body for taking a hound named Snoopy from a tenant in a home she was trying to sell.  

The Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission suspended Sarah Sullivan of Century 21 Trident Realty Ltd. effective Jan. 16 until Feb. 15 for violating the province’s real estate laws. Sullivan has also been ordered to pay $2,500 in fines. 

“The violations resulted from an investigation of a complaint from a member of the public. The complainant, who owned a dog, was a tenant of a property that was listed for sale. Ms. Sullivan viewed the property with a potential buyer,” said the decision from the commission. 
 
“At a later date, Ms. Sullivan approached the complainant, and asked if they were interested in selling the dog, which they advised they were not. Ms. Sullivan offered to take the dog while they moved out of the property.” 

Threatened to use inside info

Sullivan took the dog and failed to return it, said the decision.  

“In response to efforts by the complainant to have the dog returned, Ms. Sullivan inappropriately used or (threatened) to use information she acquired only as a result of her access to the property as a real estate licensee. When the matter was investigated, she provided false/misleading information to the investigator on several occasions.” 

This isn’t the first time she has been in trouble with the regulatory body.  

“Ms. Sullivan had previously been disciplined in 2014 for providing false information to the commission during the course of an investigation.” 

‘Dishonourable’ conduct 

Sullivan’s actions hurt the profession as a whole, said the decision about taking the dog. 

“This conduct is dishonourable, unprofessional, harmful to the best interests of the public and to the reputation of the industry at large. The public must have confidence that when they provide access to their property to members of the profession, that their privacy will be respected and information shall be gathered, used and shared, only for reasons related to the trading in real estate. Further, it is a violation to provide false/misleading information to the commission.”  

Sullivan, a mother of four, declined to comment when reached Monday by telephone. 

“I am unfortunately not able to discuss or disclose my side of the story,” she said. 

Brother still looking for dog

A Dartmouth man named Robert Smaggus said in an email to The Chronicle Herald that the dog in question, named Snoopy, belonged to his brother.  

“I have been looking for him since June 4, 2020,” Smaggus wrote. 

He said he complained about the missing dog to police, but was told it was a civil matter.  

He also noted in his email that he contacted Patricia Arab, the minister responsible for Service Nova Scotia, but was told she couldn’t intervene in the case.  

“Where is the accountability?” Smaggus said. “Where is Snoopy?” 

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St. John's Real Estate: The Housing Market That is Topping the Charts – RE/MAX News

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At the start of 2020, few would have anticipated that St. John’s real estate would be one of the hottest Canadian housing markets by the end of the year. Twelve months later and the nation’s east coast is witnessing exponential growth in its housing sector. Commercial development, population growth, and a rebounding economy are contributing to the area’s booming real estate market. And this could be a main headline in Canadian real estate news for many years to come.

St. John’s is one of Atlantic Canada’s hottest cities, despite having one of the country’s coldest winters! From impressive sales activity to record-breaking valuations, St. John’s is becoming the envy of the nation for its eye-popping real estate data. But is this only temporary, or is it a long-term trend that will carry into 2021, and beyond?

For years, Atlantic Canada had been considered a buyer’s market. Housing was cheap, the economy was struggling, and the region was experiencing a population exodus. Fast forward to the present, and St. John’s and its neighbours are sitting comfortably in a seller’s market. Here is what you can expect if your home-buying sights are set upon this historic Atlantic city:

St. John’s Real Estate: The Housing Market That is Topping the Charts

According to the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of REALTORS®, residential activity in St. John’s ballooned by 62.9 per cent year-over-year in December. This outpaced the 50-per-cent growth in the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador. Single-detached home transactions soared at a record 47.2 per cent from the same time a year ago.

What about prices?

St. John’s overall benchmark price climbed by an annualized rate of 5.7 per cent in December to $268,200. But certain properties outperformed others: the benchmark price for single-family homes increased by 6.7 per cent year-over-year to $271,400, while the benchmark apartment price tumbled four per cent to $225,000.

With supply not increasing in line with demand, these prices could continue to climb heading into 2021. Active residential listings province-wide in December were down 21.1 per cent compared to December 2019, marking a five-year low inventory level for the month of December.

Months of inventory fell to 7.1 months in December, down from the 14 months of inventory recorded at the same time a year ago. The long-run average of months of inventory is 10.5 for this time of the year. This is an important metric the industry uses because it is the number of months it would take to sell current stocks at the present rate of activity.

Despite long-term bullishness, the RE/MAX outlook for St. John’s residential real estate in 2021 is a drop of as much as three per cent to approximately $285,027 across all property types.

Is the St. John’s Housing Market ‘Vulnerable’?

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) published its latest Housing Market Assessment (HMA) for the third quarter of 2020. The HMA examines the nation’s biggest real estate markets’ level of vulnerability, using four primary factors: overbuilding, overvaluation, overheating, and price acceleration.

Regina, Hamilton, Montreal, and Moncton topped the list of cities more vulnerable in the Canadian housing market. St. John’s, meanwhile, joined the list of six markets that received overall low vulnerability scores (Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Quebec City were the others).

“Although the unprecedented income supports from governments provided temporary relief, the COVID-19 crisis negatively affected the level of permanent disposable income available to households,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, in a news release. “Along with the weakening of other drivers of the housing market, overvaluation imbalances increased further or started to emerge in several markets in the third quarter of 2020.”

Beyond Pent-Up Demand in St. John’s

The term “pent-up demand” has become a fixture in conversations about the Canadian real estate market last year, to explain the monumental surge in housing activity. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, much of the spring and summer buying and selling had been delayed by a few months. But while it is believed that the pent-up demand has been exhausted, St. John’s situation is beyond this market phenomenon.

Indeed, the east coast city’s rejuvenation is potentially part of a long-term trend of economic revitalization, population growth, and a strong housing sector. The COVID-19 public health crisis could be the contributing factor to its long-term rejuvenation.

From historically low interest rates, to a change in how we work and the adoption of digital tools by real estate agents, Canadians have more options at their disposal to navigate the housing market during these unprecedented times. This is great news for Canada’s former underdog housing markets like St. John’s.

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Avoid These Common Problems with Professional Window Installation

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Window Installation

It may seem easy to hire any affordable contractor to install your new windows in your home, or to attempt the job yourself. The reality, however, is that even if your windows look good at first inspection, there are a number of devastating problems that can easily arise further down the road if you don’t get a professional to do the job.

Proper Functioning of Your Windows

Whether you’re doing a retrofit to match new windows into old frames or are starting from scratch with an entirely new build, an expert installation by a knowledgeable team is key to ensuring that your windows function as intended.

If your windows won’t open and close properly, then it should be obvious that things are going poorly during the installation itself. Slight errors, however, can result in function problems that develop over time – the worse the error, the quicker the problem will develop. The best solution is to find a window company in Ontario that offers professional installation directly from in-house experts.

Condensation Buildup

Plain and simple, if you can’t see through your windows then they aren’t doing the job that they are designed to do. Foggy windows will also spoil the time and money that you put into giving your home a unique and elegant look.

While there is no avoiding a certain amount of condensation buildup at times when it is warranted – such as when the weather calls for rain or a high amount of humidity in the atmosphere – it should not be present all of the time. When you notice condensation developing between the panes of glass inside your windows, this is a sure sign of an improper installation.

Improper Caulking

When the caulking on your windows is poorly applied, it can give the entire appearance of your room a messy look. Unfortunately, the appearance of your windows is the least of your concerns if the job has been done badly. Caulking is not only added to give your windows a finished and sleek appearance, it serves the important purpose of keeping your windows sealed and water-resistant. Improper caulking can cause leaks and render your home susceptible to mold.

Drafty Windows

If you live in an area that experiences extremes in temperature through the year, it isn’t difficult to detect cold air coming in near or around your windows. A poor installation can result in windows that are not doing the job of keeping heat inside and cold outside, which can result in a large increase to your power bill. Buy your windows from a company that you can trust to avoid having this expense sneak up on you later on.

You may think you’re saving yourself some initial cost by going with an amateur to install windows on your home, but if that route results in one of these major issues then the expense will end up growing astronomically. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to pay to have the entire job done over or, worse, an inexperienced contractor could even end up doing further damage to your home.

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