The Upper-End Luxury Housing Market In Halifax-Dartmouth in 2013 & what 2014 could bring

Published 28 January 14 12:16 PM | Merv Edinger 

Despite a considerable softening in overall residential activity in 2013, Halifax-Dartmouth’s

luxury housing market held up relatively well. Strength was evident, as the

upper end marked its third best year on record, although the segment posted a 10

per cent decline in sales. Nearly 270 homes changed hands over $500,000, compared

with 299 in 2012. Condominiums represented approximately 11 per cent of total

high-end sales, with 29 units moving over $500,000, two more than in the previous

year. Corporate transfers provided greater stability to the city’s luxury market, although

activity was hampered by a slowing in trade-up activity under the $500,000 price

point. The trend should reverse in 2014, as major projects gain traction and confidence

returns.  Buyer’s conditions characterized the market throughout 2013. Conditional

sales were commonplace, with some deals failing to move forward. Price adjustments

have taken place and days on market have edged up over 2012 levels. Absorption rates

began to improve late in the year, however, as many sellers opted to hold off until the

spring, when the relocation market typically picks up. With the current momentum

holding steady, Halifax-Dartmouth should work through its modest oversupply halfway

through 2014. The city’s blue chip areas continue to draw solid interest, with the

peninsula on the south end accounting for the lion’s share of sales, followed by Bedford;

Clayton Park and Hemlock Ravines; Fall River; Hammonds Plains, Westwood Hills,

and Kingswood; Purcell’s Cove; and St. Margaret’s Bay. Bedford South is up-and-coming,
as newer construction appeals to some.  The most expensive home sale recorded
* RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic News Release January 28/2014 

in Halifax in 2013, at $1.4 million, was a pre-confederation (1940s) home on the

Northwest Arm of Mainland Halifax, offering 3,200 sq. feet of living space on a rarely

available water lot (rights to the land under the water a certain distance out is included).

The most expensive condominium to change hands was an oceanfront townhome at Regatta

Point, offering 3,600 sq. ft. of living space on three levels. The highest-recorded

apartment-style condominium sale was noted at $935,000 and involved a new unit

in the Trillium building. The city’s most prestigious listings currently available are

both located on the Northwest Arm. They include a $5.45 million, 12,000 sq. ft. home

on Purcell’s Cove Rd. on the south side of the Northwest Arm(new construction)

and a $3.9 million, 8,400 sq. ft. renovated home on a rarely-available, one-acre lot on

the north side of the Northwest Arm. The priciest condominium, located in Downtown

Halifax, is listed at $1.1 million—a 1,750 sq. ft. unit on the 15th floor of the

Martello Project on Dresden Row, offering a balcony terrace with coveted harbour

views. The greatest demand continues to exist for upscale product priced between

$500,000 and $700,000, with the city offering excellent value for the dollar at the

luxury price points. No records were broken in 2013, in terms of sales benchmarks. The

highest price ever paid for a home in Halifax remains $2.55 million in a transaction that

occurred in 2012. The outlook remains positive. With an upswing in momentum

expected in 2014, Halifax-Dartmouth could match or exceed the record sales performance

set two years ago. Confidence will be the determining factor, and prospects are favourable,

as GDP growth in the province is forecast to return to the mid-two per cent range.

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