Earlier this week, the Nova Scotia government announced new border restrictions. Effective today, people will not be allowed to enter the province unless their trip is deemed essential or they are permanent residents of the province (except for essential travel or people from PEI & Newfoundland). This restriction is set for 4 weeks, but may be extended if necessary.

The Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® met virtually with Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang, and his team to help clarify what this means for out-of-province buyers.

They confirmed that buyers entering the province during this restriction period must be moving here permanently, and have an a signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale dated April 21, 2021 or earlier. Once they enter the province, they must continue straight to their new home without stopping, and follow the 14 day self-isolation rules.

They also indicated that buyers who sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale dated April 22, 2021 onwards should set their closing date to after May 20, 2021.


Here is the full FAQ from this discussion:


Who is allowed to enter Nova Scotia?
Starting 8 a.m. on April 22, people can only enter Nova Scotia for the following essential reasons for the next 4 weeks.

  • permanent residents of Nova Scotia who are returning home
  • people who live in Nova Scotia but their primary employment is in another province
  • people who need to participate in-person in a legal proceeding in another province
  • post-secondary students coming to study in Nova Scotia
  • post-secondary students returning to their primary or family residence in Nova Scotia and parents who accompany them
  • parents picking up a student in Nova Scotia to take them home as quickly as possible
  • people who already have a new permanent address in Nova Scotia as of April 21 and are moving here permanently
  • people following the child custody protocol
  • people following the exempt traveler protocol
  • people following the NS NB travel protocol for work, school or other tasks that are necessary and cannot be done virtually
  • rotational, specialized and federal approved temporary foreign workers

People coming to Nova Scotia, unless in a special category, must follow self-isolation requirements.

If you are buying a property in Nova Scotia and the closing date is after April 21, can you enter the province?
Buyers entering the province must have a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement dated April 21, 2021 or earlier to enter the province. Once buyers have entered, they must continue straight to their new home to isolate for 14 days.

What do you need to provide as proof of permanent residency in Nova Scotia?

One of the following:

  • purchase and sale agreement signed on or before April 21, 2021
  • government-issued identification card
  • driver's licence
  • passport
  • utility bill or bank statement that shows your permanent home address
  • long-term lease signed on or before April 21, 2021

What do you need to provide as proof of permanent residency in Nova Scotia?
One of the following:

  • purchase and sale agreement signed on or before April 21, 2021
  • government-issued identification card
  • driver's licence
  • passport
  • utility bill or bank statement that shows your permanent home address
  • long-term lease signed on or before April 21, 2021

If I have buyers entering Purchase and Sale Agreements between April 22 and May 19, when can they close?
Buyers entering agreements during border restrictions should set close dates after May 20, 2021.

MOVING (all of these answers are based on a person permanently moving to Nova Scotia)
If I’m moving to Nova Scotia, do I have to self-isolate?

Yes. You must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in before you arrive at the border. You must isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Can I come to Nova Scotia to house hunt?
No. Until at least May 19, this is not considered essential travel.

If I am moving from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia, can I follow the NS-NB travel protocol?
No. This travel protocol is for frequent travel back and forth or for quick necessary trips. It is not for moving to Nova Scotia.

Can movers bring my belongings into my home?
Yes. You and your family should stay as far apart from the movers as you can, such as in a different room. If you need to be in the same room, everyone should wear masks and maintain as much distance as possible.

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Mortgage Broker News has compiled recent data from Point2Homes to determine the 10 most affordable Canadia real estate markets. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines "affordable housing" as when households spend less than 30% of their gross income on their mortgage, and in these 10 markets the morgage takes up less than 15% of a houseold's average income:


10. Trois-Rivieres, QC
Benchmark home price (2020): $409,567
Average household income (2020): $121,216
Share of mortgage in average income (2020): 14.5%


9. Regina, SK
Benchmark home price: $322,624
Average household income: $104,036
Share of mortgage in average income: 13.3%


8. Winnipeg, MB
Benchmark home price: $259,722
Average household income: $86,003
Share of mortgage in average income: 12.9%


7. Sherbrooke, QC
Benchmark home price: $249,816
Average household income: $84,189
Share of mortgage in average income: 12.7%


6. Saguenay, QC
Benchmark home price: $274,150
Average household income: $94,646
Share of mortgage in average income: 12.4%


5. Oshawa, ON
Benchmark home price: $276,733
Average household income: $97,634
Share of mortgage in average income: 12.1%


4. Quebec, QC
Benchmark home price: $293,289
Average household income: $104,890
Share of mortgage in average income: 12%


3. London, ON
Benchmark home price: $316,789
Average household income: $118,868
Share of mortgage in average income: 11.4%


2. Windsor, ON
Benchmark home price: $253,678
Average household income: $95,287
Share of mortgage in average income: 11.4%


1. Halifax, NS
Benchmark home price: $212,410
Average household income: $83,869
Share of mortgage in average income: 10.8%




Source: https://www.mortgagebrokernews.ca/news/what-are-canadas-most-affordable-real-estate-markets-337302.aspx

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Full article first published by Heather Laura Clarke in The Chronicle Herald


The world feels a bit different these days, but the fact is that people still need to buy and sell homes — and that’s happening at a surprising rate, given the COVID-19 pandemic.


“These are unprecedented times, but real estate is still very much open for business — it just looks a little different right now,” says Chris Peters, President of the Nova Scotia Association Of REALTORS® (NSAR).


A trusted REALTOR® helps you prepare, list and market your home to potential buyers and then — once someone has fallen in love with your home—your REALTOR® guides you through the offer process.


If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market but aren’t sure how that works during COVID-19, here are five ways REALTORS® will help you market your home while maintaining proper social distancing:


They’ll ask you about your comfort level.
Peters says everyone’s adjusting to the changing restrictions differently, and it’s a REALTOR®’s job to make sure they’re serving their clients in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

Some homeowners are nervous about having anyone in their homes, so they prefer their REALTOR® organize virtual showings and use apps to virtually sign documents. Other homeowners are eager to invite their REALTOR® inside to have them manage the photography, and host showings.

Peters says REALTORS® will adhere to regulations set out by our government and talk with clients about which additional precautions they would like them to  take if they’ll be showing the property in person.

 

They’ll leverage virtual tours.
If the pandemic had struck back when most people still had dial-up internet and flip-phones without cameras, buying and selling homes with social distancing would have been nearly impossible.

But, with Zoom video conferencing and cell phones that can take high-resolution photos, Peters says there’s so much a REALTOR® can do to market a home without ever setting foot in it.


They’ll use social media.
Social media was already an important tool for REALTORS® but Peters says it’s become even more useful since the pandemic started. Social media use skyrocketed as people went online to feel connected and read about updates, which has made it easier for REALTORS® to catch people’s attention using listing photos, videos and virtual tours.


They’ll arrive prepared.
If your REALTOR® shows up in person, they’re going to arrive with everything they need to keep people safe.

These days, Peters always keeps his vehicle stocked with essentials like disinfectant wipes, gloves and bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. There’s always a reusable mask for himself — his favourite is a colourful print of specialty beer bottles — as well as a stack of reusable masks for clients who might need them.

“In today’s world of buying and selling homes, this is just part of what the new normal looks like,” says Peters. “When I’m out with buyers or sellers, it’s always about what we can do to help keep as many people as possible safe.”



Despite these strange times, Peters says Nova Scotia’s real estate market is hot — especially for sellers — and most homes aren’t listed for long before they’re snapped up.


If you’re thinking about selling your home, Robert Realty Team is here to help - contact us to get started !

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Yesterday, the CMHC announced that they have tightened their rules for qualifying buyers for an insured mortgage. As of July 1st, the minimum credit score for at least one applicant will be increased to 680 from 600. The total debt service ration will be lowered from 44 to 42, while the gross service debt ratio will be lowered from 39 to 35. Additionally, applicants will no longer be able to borrow money from a financial institution for their down payment. While the CMHC recently hinted at increasing the minimum down payment from 5% to 10%, this was not included in their official announcement.


So if you have been looking at buying a house, you may want to do so by the end of the month if you are able to. Find out how we can work with you to help you throughout the process: https://toprealestatenovascotia.com/buying.html

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Despite concerns due to COVID-19, so much to do with selling your house can be done online in today's digital age. While others are playing catch up, Robert Realty Team has always embraced the latest technology, so we are well-placed to carry out real estate activities while adopting the current social distancing practice. On top of our usual listing services, we are offering the following to help keep everyone safe:

✔️ We offer video consultations to discuss your needs, take a tour of your property, and answer any questions you may have.

✔️ On top of hiring a professional photographer to ensure your house looks its best in listing photos online, we also provide virtual tours for our listings, so that buyers can get the full 360° view online from the comfort and safety of their home.

✔️ We use electronic signatures for all paperwork, so everything can be done remotely.

✔️ We will make sure anybody who views your home in person are following all COVID-19 safety measures.
 
The real estate market is still very active - in fact it's become a seller's market, with demand from buyers outpacing available listings. While the low inventory is helping those who choose to list now, we predict that when normalcy returns, there will be a surge of inventory, as people who are currently holding off will all be putting their house on the market at the same time, which will shift the market to become favourable to buyers, at least in the short-term.

So if you're considering listing your property, contact us to schedule a phone call or video consultation !
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