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If you’re thinking of becoming a homeowner, you might be wondering if this summer is a good time to take the plunge and buy a home in Halifax. Summer is traditionally the busiest time of year for real estate, but every month in 2021 has already been red-hot. While the market is continuing its competitive streak, it’s hard to know if you should act now, or wait for things to cool down before committing to buying. So, is it the best time to buy a home here in Halifax?
While Halifax is undoubtedly a great place to live, there are several factors you should consider before deciding whether or not to buy a home this season. To help you out, here’s an overview of the current real estate market. It’s also important to keep in mind that the “right” time to buy largely depends on you and your own personal situation. Here’s what you should watch out for!
Market update: still hot
It might seem like old news hearing this once again, but the market is still hot. Halifax grabbed people’s attention at the beginning of COVID-19 as a more affordable city option than places like Toronto. Many people have come from out-of-province to live here, and this, combined with the seller’s market in Canada, has had a huge impact on real estate. Demand for homes in the Halifax area is still incredibly high, driving supply down and prices up.
As for the low interest rates we’ve been seeing? They are still low, for sure, but not the “historic lows” we were seeing earlier this year. Fixed interest rates are on the rise, and this can have a big impact on your decision to buy a home. People have either been jumping into buying now before rates increase further, or else holding off altogether until the market balances out. Either way, there’s no room for being indecisive right now.
It all depends on you
The truth is, there’s no time to buy a home that will suit every single potential homeowner. The market doesn’t always dictate our personal situations, so the decision to buy really rests on you. If you’re unsure whether you’re in a place to buy a home this summer, here are some things to consider.
Do you have a down payment?
Have you been working toward saving up for a down payment for a while now? You won’t get far in the homebuying process if you don’t have a down payment. Remember, you need at least 5% of your home’s purchase price ready to pay down, and up to 20% in some situations.
Depending on your ideal home budget, calculate how much of that you have available for a down payment. If you have 20% saved up, that’s great news! You’re likely in a good place to enter the market. Buyers with less than a 20% down payment can also still buy a home, but with the mandatory addition of CMHC insurance. You can either buy now, or keep saving to avoid those insurance costs in the future.
Do you have a steady income?
Having a stable income and employment is essential for securing a mortgage and buying a home. Especially during a summer pandemic in Halifax, lenders will want to be sure you have the ability to make your mortgage payments. This competitive market means it’s important to have your finances lined up as neatly as possible. If you have a long-standing history of income stability, you might be in a good place to buy a home this summer.
If you have a steady income, but it’s through non-traditional means such as self-employment, you’ll have a different mortgage experience. You can still buy a home, but you should be prepared for a more challenging process.
Good credit is important
Your credit and debt ratios are also super important in terms of your ability to buy a home this summer. Lenders take your credit score into consideration, so it’s good to have an idea of where your score stands. While some lenders can be flexible with their standards, your score should at least fall in the “Good” range. You can find more information on raising your credit score here.
As for your debt, it’s not the end of the road if you have some debt before applying for a mortgage. In fact, good debt can sometimes work in your favour if you can use it to prove you’re responsible with making payments. For example, if you have a car loan, it will reflect well on you if you show you always make your payments on time. This will show lenders that you are responsible, and can handle the debt from a mortgage.
Buy a home to settle down
There’s no avoiding the fact that buying a home in Halifax right now will be expensive and stressful. With that in mind, don’t buy a home if you’re not committed to staying there long-term. Trying to secure a house is a lot of effort, and all that time and money will go to waste if you sell in a couple years. Breaking your mortgage terms at any time can hurt. However, it will be extra painful after all the trouble you went through to buy this home.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t wait to take action. If you think you need more time to save for a home, focus on building your credit and putting together your down payment. If you think you’re ready to buy, secure a pre-approval and start house hunting. You can read more information on pre-approvals and your next steps here.
The market moves fast, and there’s no time to be unsure of your goals. Using a mortgage professional is a great way to help you get the home you want and keep you on track!
If you’re planning on buying a home in Halifax this summer, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902) 482-2770 or contact us here.