Halifax Housing starts improve
Housing market conditions improved somewhat in the month of June to end the first half of 2009 as both single starts and MLS® sales showed signs of improvement in the Halifax area. The single-family detached home market recorded the highest number of starts since September of 2008 while existing home sales posted its first year-over-year increase in over a year. This could be attributed to the NDP’s 50% tax rebate on new home construction.
There were 111 single starts in June of 2009 compared to 134 in June of 2008, representing a decline of about 17 per cent but still pretty good seeing as we are in a “recession”. Single starts have been trending downward since the second half of 2008, however, these declines have become less pronounced in recent months and June was the first month where there have been more than 100 starts since last September!
New Home Sales
There was a total of 484 new home sales in the Halifax area in the first six months of 2009 with an average selling price of $332,865. This is about 1.6 per cent less than the average new home price of $338,227 in the first six months of 2008 and continues to reflect a change in the types of new homes being built and sold in the Halifax area.
Existing Home Sales
Existing home sales finally increased in June of 2009 for the first time in over a year. This could represent consumer confidence returning to the housing market in Halifax. Historically low interest rates are also playing a huge role in this. The last time we saw an increase in MLS® sales was in July 2008! There were 786 sales last month compared to 739 in June 2008, representing an increase of 6.4 per cent. Halifax City, Bedford-Hammonds Plains, Halifax County Southwest and Halifax County East all posted an increase in sales in June of 2009. Sales increased the most in Bedford-Hammonds Plains, rising 41 per cent compared to June of 2008, followed by Halifax City where sales increased by 25.5 per cent in June of 2009. Only Dartmouth City and Sackville recorded fewer sales in June of 2009 compared to the previous year while sales were flat in Fall River-Beaver Bank.
Sackville sees a dramatic increase in average selling price
The average selling price this June was virtually unchanged from last year at $233,137 throughout the HRM compared to $232,685 last year. Double-digit increases in most submarkets were off-set by double-digit declines in Halifax City, Bedford-Hammonds Plains and Fall River-Beaver Bank (mostly more expensive properties). The average selling price increased the dramatically in Sackville rising 32 per cent to $240,637 in June compared to $181,522 last year. The average selling price declined the most in Fall River-Beaver Bank, dropping 26 per cent to $197,794 from $267,097 a year earlier although the number of sales were down dramatically as well.