Red hot housing market in Nova Scotia becoming election issue for first-time buyers


Halifax’s real estate market is red hot. According to the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS, home sales totaled a record 8,407 units over the first six months of the year.

Houses are selling within days, and not only are they going fast — they’re going for a lot. Across the province, the average price of homes jumped about 30 per cent from 2020.

In Halifax, that means this June, the average house price sat at $436,400 — over $114,000 more than the average house price in the area last year.

“I don’t think we can find any other time in history that prices have increased so much, at least in dollar terms.”

The problem is not unique to Nova Scotia. Across the country, house prices have been on the rise for years and while they have been creeping up in Nova Scotia recently, the spike in the last year has been dramatic, especially having an impact on first-time home buyers.

“It’s challenging,” said Matthew Dauphinee, vice-president of The Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS.

Things really started to change in 2019, with interest rates for mortgages dropping and rents increasing. That’s when more people started considering the benefits of owning rather than renting.

“Back in 2019, it was a good option. Fast forward to today we have lower inventory than before. It’s challenging to find a place,” Dauphinee said.

In addition to having lower inventory, Nova Scotia’s population keeps growing. Halifax’s population growth is outpacing nearly every city in the country, creating more demand for housing.

Then the pandemic hit and with less to do, more people realized the value in having their own space.

With lots of people looking to buy and inventory so low, it creates a market with bidding wars.

Across the province over the last year, bidding wars have become more common and often, houses are going for $50,000 to $100,000 over the asking price — something that puts young first-time home buyers, who don’t have the same capital as homeowners or those who have been saving longer, at a disadvantage.

It’s the challenge that Amy Mielke and her partner Patrick Jerrette are currently facing,.