Construction and home sales slow in Pictou County

Published on August 13, 2014
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TRENTON - New construction is down in many areas of the county, but finding a place to live shouldn’t be a problem since it’s a buyers market right now.

Roland Burek, development and planning officer for the towns of Stellarton, Trenton and Westville, said the county is going through a slow time with only a few new homes going up in these areas.

“It is a little slower than previous years,” he said, adding that many of the permits filed with the three towns involve renovations to existing homes or properties rather than new construction.

He said there was a permit for one new home in the Town of Stellarton and the Town of Westville has welcomed three new mini-homes, while the Town of Trenton also has a few new homes, but the rest of the permits involve renovations.

On the commercial side, he said Vida Cannabis is one of the larger commercial projects taking place in the county at the moment.  He said there are no major commercial startups in Trenton or Westville.

Statistics were unavailable for the towns of Pictou and New Glasgow as well as the Municipality of Pictou County.

Local real estate brokers all agreed there are lots of options for buyers at the moment with a flood of homes for sale across the county.

Diane MacNeil, a broker/owner with Re/Max Newstyle Realty, said many Pictou County seniors are listing their homes because they are ready to downsize into an apartment.  She also noted that homes listed between the $50,000 and $100,000 price range are selling better than high-end homes.

According to MLS statistics for the month of July 2014, the average list price for the county was $158,455, but the average sale price was $61,216.  This is compared to July 2013 when the average list price was $126,106, but average sold price was $119, 316.

“It a buyers market and it’s flooded with listings but not many buyers,” she said.

David MacIvor, owner/broker of JF MacIvor Properties, said people have to be patient if they are going to sell their home.

He said sellers need to list their homes at a reasonable asking price and realize they could sit on their property for months.

MacIvor said he believes a few people are nervous with the state of the economy and are choosing to renovate their existing home rather than purchase a new one.  He said a few people were effected by recent company closures and downsizing in the county, such as Convergys and Michelin, but this is usually balanced by new people moving into the county, especially those who are returning home from western Canada.

Sherry Blinkhorn, owner/broker for Blinkhorn Real Estate, said the winter months were good, but things began to slide in April.

“May and June were the lowest I’ve ever seen in my 16 years in this business, but things are starting to fly now,” she said.

She said the real estate market usually takes a dip in August because people begin to focus on back to school and other fall activities, but that doesn’t seem to be the trend this year. She believes that because of county’s late spring, buyers are just getting into the swing of things now when it comes to purchasing a home.


Blinkhorn agrees that people were nervous over Michelin’s announcement this spring that it was going to reduce its workforce, but she said it had little effect on the real estate market.

“It affected about 75 people in the end and a lot of those people were renting or they took severance packages,” she said.  

Blinkhorn added that some buyers were reluctant to put in a bid on a home because they thought the prices would drop, but it never happened.  She said her sales range from low to high end in various parts of the county and many of them are to new people moving to the county to work at the new jail, Sobeys or the Aberdeen Hospital.

“Pictou County is very fortunate to have so many industries,” she said.

She added that sellers should make sure their homes are priced reasonably because if they are overpriced, they tend to sit for a while and than become stigmatized that there is something wrong with it.  

As for buyers, she said, even though there are a lot of options out there, people should choose their property wisely.

“Sit down and figure out what your needs and wants are,” she said.



Fast Facts: MLS statistics

July 2014 average days on market: 128 days

July 2013 average days on market: 117 days 

July 2014 houses sold: 34

July 2013 houses sold: 37

July 2014 average list price: $158,455

July 2013 average list price: $126,106

July 2014 average sale price: $61,216.

July 2013 average sale price: $119, 316.