The Atlantic bubble is being cited as one of the reasons for the Maritimes red hot real estate market.
In Halifax and other cities, people are moving home, and others are just moving, as offers are going well above the asking price, fueling a sellers market.
“I would say it’s rather insane right now. It’s definitely a sellers market for sure,” says Chris Peters, president of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.
Peters says three of his clients recently tried to buy homes by offering tens of thousands of dollars more than the asking price, but all were outbid.
He says the real estate market was hot before COVID-19, but now the demand is even higher, and inventory is down.
“I believe (COVID-19) is a factor, but we don’t have the stats to confirm that,” says Peters.
There are no current housing stats indicating where home buyers are moving from, but one Halifax moving company says that they are noticing more people moving to the Maritimes from away.
“Often times its people that are originally from Atlantic Canada that have decided to move back,” says Jason Morais, general manager of Two Men and a Truck movers. “We’re also seeing people that have mentioned that due to COVID-19 and the current situation, they chose to leave some of the larger metropolitan areas.”
James Langille and his fiancé returned to Halifax on a repatriation flight from Peru at the height of COVID.
Langille plans to stay, and while he’s renting now, eventually he’ll consider buying.
“This is where I was born and raised,” says Langille. “I still have friends here, so this is where we decided to come back to.”
Peters says he’s heard that from others.
“Because of the fact that we do have such low levels of COVID-19, and it’s a very safe place to live if you’re going to be within Canada,” says Peters.
The Maritime real estate explosion isn't limited to Halifax.
Moncton real estate agent Sylvie Cormier has been in the industry for nearly a decade.
When COVID-19 restrictions began affecting how she sold homes, she wasn't sure what that meant for the market in Moncton.
"A lot of us thought that the market would go down and it would be terrible," said Cormier. "For us, it's the complete opposite. I've never seen anything like it in my 9-10 years of doing real estate."
Statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association last month put Moncton in the top five hottest housing markets in Canada, with the price of homes up by 12.5 per cent compared to 2019.
"They're going for higher than before. Some are seeing an increase in the sales prices, and if people are putting their homes on the market at the price we're recommending, there's a bidding war," explains Cormier.
"Basically this year in 2020, we're going to do 12 months of real estate in a 9 month period," says Andre Malenfant, president of the N.B. Real Estate Association.
Katie Drisdelle's Moncton home was listed for just two days before it was sold.
"Once we found out what was going on with the housing market, we decided to roll the dice and see what we'd be able to get for our property with the market how it is right now," says Drisdelle.
But a sellers market does have a downside, as Drisdelle says she is having a hard time finding a new place to find home.
"I've noticed that you have to go in with aggressive offers if it is a property you really want, and if there's something that you're interested in, not to waste any time before putting in an offer because things are getting snapped up," says Drisdelle.
In a red hot market where sold signs are a sign of the times.