How the pandemic ‘lit the fire’ of a red-hot real estate market inside the Atlantic bubble

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As a result of the added competition for homes, locals, according to multiple realtors, are having a difficult time adjusting.

For example, Bryant said she’s used to selling homes on Connolly Street in Halifax’s west end for between $300,000 and $400,000, but that’s no longer the case. One recently sold for close to $800,000, she said, and others on the street have gone for $100,000 above listing price.

Homes that used to sell for $300,000 and $400,000 in Halifax are now selling for $800,000. Photo by P.M. Franklin, HRM Tourism

Those prices might be difficult for locals to swallow, but Ontarians, used to aggressively bidding above asking price, already know the drill.

“Think of this, I always call it bigger dollars and deeper pockets, if you’re coming out of Toronto, then it’s no big deal,” she said.

In Fredericton, Roy has already seen similar price action. In multiple-offer situations, it’s the comfort that a bidder from Ontario has in going $60,000 to $80,000 above the listing price that ultimately allows them to win out.

But it’s difficult for realtors to assess whether the current activity in the market is here to stay.

In St. John’s, Kennedy has seen temporary waves of interest that may last a few months, maybe even more than a year, such as what occurred in the early 2000s, but the market has always settled back to the norm.

A fellow realtor at Hanlon Realty in St. John’s, Larry Hann, worries that change could come as early as the winter.

Many high-earning Newfoundlanders were laid off due to the struggles of the Alberta oil patch. Their high incomes allowed them to buy expensive property in their home province, but if the sector doesn’t recover before their cash runs out, Hann suspects Newfoundland will see a wave of foreclosures.



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