Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. real estate having banner year post-lockdown, says industry association

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians haven't let the restrictions of a global pandemic stop them from buying and selling homes. 

'We've just had the best July we've had in decades,' says CEO of Association of Realtors

Bill Stirling, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Realtors, says the last couple of months have been the best in years in terms of sales of homes across the province. (Curtis Hicks/CBC)

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians haven't let the restrictions of a global pandemic stop them from buying and selling homes. 

In fact, over the last two months the province recorded some of its strongest sales numbers in years, according to Bill Stirling, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Realtors. 

"We've just had the best July we've had in decades in terms of the number of sales across the province," Stirling said. 

"I've been in this role now for a little over five years and it's the first time that I can feel some excitement and a little bit of a pulse in the marketplace."

Stirling attributes the boom in sales to the tight lockdown under pandemic regulations in March and April, on top of a harsh winter that also kept people mostly inside after record snowfalls buried the province's east coast in January. 

The lack of sales through the lockdown months saw sales come roaring back as the province began to reopen, he said.

"We're going to finish August with probably the best August we've had in five or six years," Stirling said.

Further, Stirling believes the pandemic itself may have actually helped boost sales, where travel hesitant customers, travel bans throughout Canada and the closure of the Canada-United States border allowed people to sit on their money. 

"Personally I think there's a lot of people who would normally be spending their discretionary income on a trip down south, or a trip to Europe or a trip to Toronto to see a hockey game, none of which is happening," he said. 

"That discretionary money is finding its way into real estate and renovations and that sort of thing." 

Good prices, good buyers

Realtor Martin Byrne says 2020 will probably be his best sales year to date. 

Byrne said most summers are generally a slow period for real estate but this summer is the busiest he's been in 10 years. 

Realtor Martin Byrne says 2020 will be his best year for sales to date. (Curtis Hicks/CBC)

"The number of sales have shot up. We were down 30 per cent to start off the year, I guess with lockdown and Snowmageddon," Byrne said. 

"We're now down 10 per cent, but with taking into consideration the sales are actually up 16 per cent for the year over year and sales prices in St. John's have actually risen for the first time in a long while."

Both Byrne and Stirling said there's a lot of movement from first-time home buyers right now, but all areas of the market are moving, including properties listed at over $1 million. 

Both also say the province is a buyer's market, and low interest rates are helping people make the decision to buy.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Carolyn Stokes

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now