(Originally published in the January 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - Outlook 2012 Special Edition)
It’s hard not to be optimistic about Nova Scotia’s real estate industry in 2012. Continued low interest rates and the procurement of the $25 billion federal shipbuilding contract promise an active housing market. While the full rewards will not be immediate, we will see a gradual increase in upgrading, first-time homebuyers and returning Nova Scotians.
The Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® (NSAR) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) predict a sales increase of approximately 3.0 per cent in 2012, and an average price increase of about 0.5 per cent. However, the average price in the Halifax-Dartmouth region and bordering areas may see higher numbers, as could areas with recreational properties, as the shipbuilding contract moves into full operation.
Other future developments that could affect our economy and the market include a new hospital, civic centre and shopping area in the Northern region, and the completion of the Sydney Harbour dredging project that will make way for the development of a multi-million dollar container ship terminal. Unfortunately there are uncertainties in some regions which could or already have had an impact on real estate activity, including the closing of the NewPage Mill in the Highland region, and the cancellation of the international ferry service from Yarmouth to Maine which has meant lost jobs, less tourism dollars, and businesses closures.
A healthy, active real estate market is good for everyone. Between 2008 and 2010, the economic spin-off benefits of Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) activity in Nova Scotia totaled $295 million. Local REALTORS® continue to lobby the federal government to pass initiatives that will stimulate the economy, including indexing the Home Buyers’ Plan to the Consumer Price Index in $2,500 increments to ensure it never loses its purchasing power, and allowing the deferral of previously written-off depreciation on investment properties when owners sell in order to reinvest.
*Outlook 2012 Special Edition: Read more about what 2012 holds for Nova Scotia's top industries at: http://www.ns.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/Industry-Spotlight-17342