Jim Irving, CEO of Irving Shipbuilding, and Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter celebrate the shipbuilding deal in October. (CBC)

The real-estate market in the Halifax area heated up after the announcement of a major ship-building contract, new figures show.

The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors statistics show sales increased 34 per cent by November 2011, compared to a year earlier.

Wayne MacIntosh, the president of the association, said he thinks it was a reaction to the $25 billion ship-building contract awarded by the federal government to Irving Shipyard in Halifax in October.

He said the increase in sales came as listings decreased by four per cent. 

"That's why our listings are down a little bit, because the sellers are holding off a little bit to see how things play out," he said.

"The longer they hold off, they think they'll be able to get a larger price for their homes."

MacIntosh said there's also a big demand for two-, three- and four-unit apartment buildings. He said there are not many of them on the market and those that are listed sell very quickly.

North End houses hard to find

Houses in the city's North End — close to the shipyard — are especially scarce. 

Darlene MacLeod and her husband listed their High Street home on Nov. 21. It sold ten days later for about $6,000 under the asking price.

"In that ten days, we had 15 people through the home," she said.

Wayne Macintosh said people who had been undecided about home ownership made up much of the increase.

"I think it finally caused buyers to get off the fence and get out there and purchase something before the prices went up," he said.