For the better part of the last year and a half, COVID-19 has been causing havoc in Canada. However, not all provinces and cities have been impacted in the same way. The most affected provinces have been Quebec and Ontario – with Ontario taking the number one spot. The majority of COVID-19 related illnesses have been concentrated to the Greater Toronto Area, further prompting some inhabitants further from the hustle and bustle of the big city and into smaller cities and towns across the country – even if that means relocating to another province. Atlantic Canada real estate has been a benefactor of this new trend.
Atlantic Canada, composed of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, formed a bubble back in 2020 which allowed residents from these provinces to travel freely, without restriction, throughout the East Coast. The bubble also effectively locked the eastern provinces away from the rest of the country in hopes of maintaining a level of normalcy that many Canadians haven’t enjoyed since early 2020. It’s for these very reasons, among a few others, that people are now looking to buy property and permanently relocate to Atlantic Canada.
Atlantic Canada Real Estate is Thriving
It’s no secret that the pandemic has led many Ontarians to reconsider their lifestyle; perhaps spurring the recent surge of Ontario residents relocating to the various provinces of the East Coast. Adding to it the cheaper living costs and lower real estate prices, it’s no wonder people are snatching up homes from Saint John and Fredericton, to Halifax, Sydney, and St. John’s! .
Atlantic Canada real estate has set monthly records each month, in different provinces since the start of 2021. In fact, the number of homes sold through the MLS® System of the Prince Edward Island Real Estate Association totalled 189 units in March 2021 – not only a record for March but is also an 81.7% increase compared to March 2020.
In April, New Brunswick set a record with 1,394 units being sold during the month. Nova Scotia also saw a new record for the month of May in regards to the number of homes sold, with the MLS System of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® reporting 1,499 units. Similarly, the MLS® System of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of REALTORS® recorded 562 units in May 2021, improving 156.6% compared to twelve months ago, and also setting a new record for the Province for the month of May.
These record setting numbers posted in each of the four provinces which compose Atlantic Canada, is further proof that the real estate market is booming. The high demand, which is not being met with substantial supply, has created a price surge across the East Coast. The year-to-date average home in Prince Edward Island jumped to $320,917, a gain of 19.2% compared to the first quarter of 2020. New Brunswick’s year-to-date average price increased by 32.1% compared to 2020, and hit $241,604; Nova Scotia also saw a huge jump in this metric with a surge of 32% compared to the first five months of 2020, coming in at $356,697. Lastly, Newfoundland and Labrador Association also followed the trend with the year-to-date average home price surging to $261,661, an increase of 12.4% from the first five months of 2020.
For those who are native to Atlantic Canada, both the gain in competitiveness and the substantial jump in housing prices has changed the real estate landscape. Partially driven by out-of-province buyers, the industry is seeing abnormal highs in demand, leading to strong lows when it comes to supply.
What to Expect in the Housing Market
As 2021 rolls on, and Ontario continues to grapple with the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that Atlantic Canada will receive another influx of prospective buyers from the larger, more central province in the West. Housing prices are surging across Ontario and Quebec, and average housing prices are more than double that of the eastern provinces, meaning that selling in Ontario or Quebec and buying in Atlantic Canada can result to a huge financial gain.
For those native to the East Coast and selling their homes, it surely is a seller’s market. However, for those coming from bigger, more expensive provinces, and snatching up new homes, it is certainly feeling more like a buyer’s market. As the benefits of relocating continue to shine – particularly for first time home buyers struggling to find homes in Ontario markets – it is not expected that the demand in Atlantic Canada real estate will cool anytime soon.