In this special episode of Mortgage 101 with Clinton Wilkins and Todd Veinotte, as heard…
We most often think of spring and summer as the most ideal seasons to buy a home, but does that mean it’s not at all recommended to do so in the winter? Buying a home this winter might actually be a great option for you, even if it’s a bit unconventional. In fact, since most other buyers choose to house hunt in different seasons, this could work in your favour. Before you start searching for your perfect home, however, you should update yourself on the current state of the market here in Halifax. Here’s what you can expect in terms of supply and demand, as well as the pros and cons of winter buying.
Supply and demand
Inventory in Halifax is at historic lows, but demand has dropped off a bit. That’s why the market doesn’t feel quite so terrifying, even though prices are still higher than they were pre-pandemic. The lack of other buyers helps people feel calmer about the fact that supply is low and prices are increasing, albeit increasing more slowly. Buying this winter will come with fewer competitors, but also fewer options.
We’re sorry to say that prices aren’t set to go down this winter. They will likely increase at a slower rate than we’ve gotten used to, but they’ll be on the rise nevertheless. Data from the Canadian Magazine of Immigration shows the average house price in Halifax last November was $393,461. By this past May, it had jumped to $466,633, but by September it only increased to $471,746. Prices are definitely going up, but the jump in prices between months is getting smaller.
Pros of winter buying
Winter is traditionally not associated with the desire to buy a home, as spring and summer typically hold that honour. This means there will generally be fewer buyers trying to snap up homes in the winter season, which clears your path considerably. You have a better chance of avoiding bidding wars, and can therefore dodge the need to offer way over asking.
More attention from professionals
When the market is red-hot, everyone from mortgage lenders and brokers to agents and movers have jam-packed schedules. In the winter months, you’re far more likely to find professionals who have time for you. You can secure a top-rated agent, brokers can find the best lenders, and even moving companies will have more availability.
See the home for all its flaws
This doesn’t sound like a good thing, but hear us out. In the summer months, it’s easy to look at a home and decide it’s beautiful and without fault. The sun and warm weather make everything look gorgeous, but in the winter, you see how the home holds up against wind, ice, and snow. If the property is prone to slippery ice build ups, or there are drafts in the home, these are things you’ll only know in the winter. It’s much easier to see any red flags before you buy in the winter.
Cons of winter buying
Fewer people want to buy in winter, but fewer people want to sell in winter too. This means there is less supply to choose from, on top of the supply shortages we’re already experiencing. Depending how selective you are about property size, budget, and other factors, you might have a harder time buying in the winter.
Inspections may miss issues
Just like winter exposes issues in homes, it can hide others. Things like roofs are covered in snow, which can disguise problems like weak shingles. Mold might be hidden because the signature scent of a moldy area is covered. It’s extra important to hire a great inspector who will take the time to search for any and all problems in the home during a winter inspection.
Things to remember…
Don’t be afraid to put the seller on the spot. After all, this might become your home! If the yard or house is covered in snow, you can ask to see pictures from warmer months with the yard exposed. You can also ask about any renovations that have been done. It’s okay to want background details on anything that comes to mind! This is when it’s great to work with a trusted real estate agent — they typically know exactly what questions they need to ask on your behalf.
Don’t wait too long
Even though the winter market isn’t quite as competitive, it’s still going to be busier this year than in years past (with the possible exception of last year). Don’t waste too much time when looking at a home — if you see one you like, put an offer in right away. Of course, don’t buy a home you’re unsure of, but be prepared to commit to the one that catches your interest.
Get in touch with a broker
Of course, buying a home is an experience best shared with a mortgage broker. We can advise you on your budget, help you connect with lenders, and tell you the interest rates and financing you’re likely to qualify for. We take so much work and stress away from you, leaving you to focus on what you care about most: Finding a new place to call home.
If you have any questions about buying a home this winter, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902)482-2770 or contact us here.