South Shore Breaker
Home sales through the roof
Nova Scotia’s overheated real estate market has become personal.
To my great delight, my youngest daughter expressed a desire to move here from Ontario, so during the past month or so we have been discussing various South Shore and Annapolis Valley realestate listings.
One particular Valley property caught my eye. The perfect home for my daughter, her husband and two young girls: a tastefully and extensively renovated 2,460 sq. ft., five-bedroom, three-bath, century farmhouse set on 1.4 acres in the picturesque farming community of Weston, just north of Berwick. List price was $425,000.
My daughter and her husband agreed with my assessment, then she quickly spoke with the listing agent and researched the property, community and schools, keeping in mind the current sellers’ market – underpinned by record-low inventory levels – doesn’t allow buyers much thinking time before pulling the trigger on offers.
My daughter’s offer was going to be slightly higher than the asking price, a level at which she and her husband felt comfortable. Many folks were interested in the property, which was shown constantly during the course of a few days. In the end, my daughter wanted no part of a bidding war and stepped away.
The property was on the market only 10 days before it was sold, sight unseen, to an Ontario couple for $525,000; $100,000 above the asking price. Citing privacy issues, the realtor couldn’t divulge the number of offers presented to the seller, who, while viewing all offers, likely felt as excited as a child opening presents on Christmas morning.
Prior to renovations, the home was purchased in 2020 for $180,000, a scant $100 above the $179,900 asking price.
I spoke with the listing agents, Sherri Lonar and Carrie Poyser of EXIT Realty Town and Country, headquartered in Wolfville. The innovative business partners, along with their buyers’ agents and support staff, are marketed as the Sherri and Carrie Real Estate Team, which has won many industry and community awards and distinctions.
A Newfoundlander, Lonar fell in love with Nova Scotia while studying at St. Mary’s and Dalhousie. She has been involved in the sales and service industry for most of her working life. Poyser has a background in marketing and video production. She and her husband operate a farm in the Valley. The couple has four children.
Lonar said most properties in the Valley are selling for more than list price.
“We list our properties at market value. In a sellers’ market, it’s not the early bird gets the worm, which is the case in a buyers’ market,” commented Lonar during a recent interview.
“We show every property we list for a specific period of time, then all offers have to be submitted by a certain deadline. The seller can review all offers at one sitting, then respond,” said Lonar.
Poyser confirmed there has been a lot of interest in Nova Scotia properties from outside the province, resulting in more competing offers.
“Competing offers have been the norm in the Halifax region for quite some time, but about when COVID-19 hit, we really started to see more competing offers in the Annapolis Valley,” said Poyser.
“We had 35 showings on one property alone, and since January we have experienced anywhere from five to 25 offers on a single listing. Overall, we are seeing everything from full list price to $150,000 over list price, which is new for the Valley,” she added.
A realtor for 10 years, Lonar said she has seen the market increase every year, including high-value homes.
“Until recently, it was rare to see a million-dollar listing in the Valley. When one was offered for sale, it would take a year or two or longer to sell. Sellers were in it for the long haul. In the past year and a half, Carrie and I have sold, fairly quickly, three properties priced at nearly $1.5 million each,” she said.
Lonar said she and Poyser provide on their website Youtube community profiles which shine the spotlight on Annapolis Valley towns, local businesses and key family events such as the popular Apple Blossom Festival.
“We get enquiries from buyers who say they watched a video about one of our communities and have decided to move there. They ask us to assist them in their search for properties,” said Lonar.
A portion of commissions paid to the Sherri and Carrie Real Estate Team is donated to the IWK Foundation. In 2021, $5,000 was donated to the foundation. For details on the team’s initiatives, visit www. sherriandcarrie.com
It’s not just the Halifax region, South Shore or Annapolis Valley that are experiencing multiple offers and sales prices far exceeding list prices. It’s happening throughout the province, from Yarmouth to Glace Bay.
Frankly, some homes are selling above list price a few days after going on the market in regions where you couldn’t give away the homes not that long ago. Two years ago, I wrote in my column that some homes have been languishing on the market so long, the owners should consider holding birthday parties for the aging FOR SALE signs on their front lawns.
Just for fun, here are three properties that sold recently for well above list prices.
A Coldbrook home sold in two days for $870,000, a whopping $200,000 above the asking price of $670,000. The five-bedroom, three-bath 3,430 sq. ft. home on nine acres features an inground pool and triple-car garage.
The sale price is probably considered a bargain to someone from Toronto or Vancouver. In 2010, it took 111 days to sell the property for $315,000; $4,000 below the asking price of $319,000.
A Halifax home sold in seven days for $752,000; $202,100 above list price. The three-bedroom, one-and-ahalf-bath, two-storey home on a tiny 3,810 sq. ft. lot was sold as-is and will require cosmetic upgrades.
In Bedford, a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath, 2,800 sq. ft. home sold in 12 days for $1,007,000; $307,100 above the list price of $699,900. In 2018, the home sold for $459,000.
Here’s what I’m thinking: unless inventory levels and interest rates rise substantially, home sellers will continue to trump buyers for quite some time in Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, my daughter and I will keep searching.
It pained me to write this column.
The subject matter wasn’t troublesome, but my fingers need to get used to tapping away on my keyboard as I recuperate from breaking my left hand during a fall on the ice in February. Nice to be back, though.