News / Halifax

‘A better year:’ Halifax realtor predicts slight upswing in real estate for 2016

Gordon Burns said a jump of about eight per cent in housing starts for 2015 is a good sign for the year to come

Metro file

While the Halifax real estate market likely won’t have a “banner” year in 2016, it’s not all doom and gloom according to one realtor.

Although the market is still below 2013 numbers, the president of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors said Halifax saw an eight per cent jump in housing starts in 2015 over the year before.

“This coming year is going to be a better year,” Gordon Burns said Monday.

“Not going to say it’s going to be a banner year, but if we can build on the reasonable success of 2015 we should be fine.”

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) numbers as of this November, there were 2,546 starts in Halifax compared to 1,614 in 2014.

Burns said it’s a buyer’s market in Halifax with a surplus of property to choose from, but sellers can look forward to a “slight” trend downward in the length of time it takes to sell, as well as increased prices, indicated by a five per cent jump in 2015.

Although there was a decrease in military families moving here in 2015, Burns said they’re hoping for an increase this year along with those coming for the shipbuilding contract as vital first-time buyers.

“Without them things tend to slow down,” Burns said.

Sherry Donovan, CEO of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association, said a rough spring meant a late start to the building season, but 2016 seems brighter.

“Low oil prices might … encourage those who were away to come home,” she said.

Although some realtors have been talking “doom and gloom,” the jump from 2014 shows things are starting to turn around, Burns said.

“Things are happening out there, it’s just maybe not at the level that everyone expects,” he said.