Realtor Kristopher Snarby is all too familiar with the South Shore’s internet issues: it’s costing him business.
Over the last six months, he says poor internet has contributed to more than a half-dozen deals falling through.
“It’s not even just affecting prices, it’s causing houses not to sell,” said Snarby, who works for EXIT Realty in Liverpool. “It’s a very dire situation, for sure.”
He added his company loses around 50 to 60 deals per year due to clients wanting high-speed internet in rural areas.
But internet, in many areas across the South Shore, is poor or non-existent.
Many people moving from places like British Columbia or Ontario just assume high-speed services will be available and are shocked to learn otherwise.
“A lot of them are self-employed and need high-speed internet to operate their businesses,” said Snarby.
But poor internet services are also impacting the sellers, many of whom are older.
Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, mayor for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL), said a lack of internet accessibility is preventing older residents from downsizing.
She said people are choosing to live nearer to larger centres like Bridgewater instead of buying homes without high-speed services.
“No one expected internet would be one of those things you’d need to have years ago,” said Bolivar-Getson.
“Without internet, the value of the home depreciates on them.”
Snarby added many older residents are dismayed when their properties, many of which have been meticulously cared for, are unwanted.
“It’s hard for them to understand why people don’t want their house,” he said.
Eric Harding, a realtor for Tradewinds Realty, said internet is something he brings up with every client.
“If the speed capacity isn’t there, it’s a deal breaker for a property they might be considering otherwise,” said Harding, who has listings across Lunenburg County and in HRM.
He noted sellers will sometimes pay out of pocket to upgrade the internet service to secure a deal.
In one instance, his clients requested better internet and the seller had to pay Eastlink to extent the fibre cable another two civic numbers done, an $8,000 job.
“It was make or break,” said Harding. “If they didn’t have a high-speed, hardwired solution, my buyers were going to walk.”
And until services improve, both Harding and Snarby said prospective residents will move elsewhere or demand money be taken off prices.
“If we’re trying to grow rural Nova Scotia’s economy, we’ve got to have high-speed internet everywhere,” said Snarby.