Halifax housing market to see seller’s market, prices expected to rise 8% in 2021

The Halifax housing market should continue to favour sellers in 2021, thanks to challenges in housing supply and rising prices. Low inventory has been a common trend across many Canadian housing markets in 2020, which has prompted price increases. Indeed, Halifax real estate saw average residential price rise to $370,271 in 2020 (Jan. 1-Oct. 31) up from $329,963 in 2019 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). Low supply and high demand are expected to continue impacting market activity through 2021. Thus, the RE/MAX outlook for Halifax real estate is an increase of 8% in average price to approximately $399,892 across all property types.

While market activity showed a significant rebound in the latter months of 2020, activity is expected to remain steady with potential to plateau heading into the new year, as this is a common trend in the region.

Halifax housing market outlook 2021

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Who’s driving the Halifax housing market?

Halifax is currently a seller’s market due to low inventory across all property types. The region experienced an influx of migratory homebuyers from larger Canadian cities in 2020, and they are expected to continue to drive the Halifax housing market forward in 2021, with single-detached homes being in highest demand.

Single-family homes will continue to be the most in-demand property type in 2021, while semi-detached housing and new construction inventory are also very popular among buyers.

Specifically, Halifax homebuyers have shown interest in properties that have space for home offices and less of a need to be in close proximity to work. This has become more of a priority as many continue to work from home.

When it comes to the hottest neighbourhoods in Halifax, the top three are North End Halifax, Downtown Dartmouth and Spryfield, based on the number of sales in 2020. These areas are expected to be in high demand in 2021, due to attractive housing stock, access to various amenities, restaurants and green space.

Canadian housing market in 2021

Canadians are on the move. RE/MAX isn’t calling this an “exodus,” but the re-location trend across the Canadian housing market is real, and it’s just one focus of the RE/MAX 2021 Housing Market Outlook Report. RE/MAX Canada anticipates healthy housing price growth at the national level, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing and widespread housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices.

Due to these factors, the 2021 RE/MAX 2021 outlook for average residential prices is an estimate of +4% to +6% nation-wide. Here’s the regional break-down:

Canadian Housing Market Outlook REMAX 2021 Data Table

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Additional report findings include:

  • 35% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that “move-over” buyers from other cities and provinces will continue to spark market activity in 2021
  • 45% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that move-up buyers will likely be a primary driver of the housing market demand in 2021
  • Half of Canadians (53%) are confident that Canada’s housing markets will remain steady in 2021
  • 52% of Canadians believe real estate will remain one of the best investment options in 2021

“We’ve seen a lot of anecdotal evidence since the summer that households are considering significant lifestyle changes by relocating to less-dense cities and neighbourhoods,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “This has sparked unprecedented sales this year in suburban and rural parts of Canada and we expect this trend to continue in 2021.”

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The Halifax housing market has been experiencing a housing inventory shortage since before the pandemic took hold, with the lowest supply levels in the last 10 years. In mid-March, housing market activity came to a short halt in early spring due to lockdowns, however according to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report, the region started to see an uptick in real estate activity by mid-June. Homebuyers are expected to remain active going into fall, as confidence remain high in the Halifax housing market. The inventory shortage, coupled with increased demand, is expected to prompt a 10% increase in average Halifax housing prices are during the remainder of 2020.

Atlantic Real Estate Market Trends

Regions across the Atlantic region reporting low case counts of COVID-19, such as Halifax, Charlottetown and Saint John saw reduced market activity in March, however the decline was less pronounced than that experienced by some Ontario and Western Canada markets. Activity in Atlantic Canada was back to pre-COVID-19 levels by May 2020, and like many sellers’ markets in Canada, multiple offer scenarios continue to happen in these regions.

Canadian Housing Market Heat Map Fall 2020


Canadian Housing Market Trends

Leading indicators from RE/MAX brokers and agents across Canada’s housing market point to a strong market for the remainder of 2020. According to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report, RE/MAX brokers suggest that the average residential sale price in Canada could increase by 4.6% during the remainder of the year. This is compared to the 3.7% increase that was predicted in late 2019.

Canadian Housing Market Data Table Fall 2020


The pandemic has prompted many Canadians to reassess their living situations. According to a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of RE/MAX Canada, 32% of Canadians no longer want to live in large urban centres, and instead would opt for rural or suburban communities. This trend is stronger among Canadians under the age of 55 than those in the 55+ age group. Not only are Canadians more motivated to leave cities, but changes in work and life dynamics have also shifted their needs and wants for their homes. According to the survey, 44% of Canadians would like a home with more space for personal amenities, such as a pool, balcony or a large yard.

Canadians equally split on their confidence in the housing market

Canadians are almost equally split in their confidence in Canada’s real estate market, with 39% as confident as they were prior to the pandemic, and 37% slightly less confident. When it comes to the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19, 56% of Canadians who are feeling confident in Canada’s real estate market are still likely to buy or sell. “The classically hot spring market that was pushed to the summer months due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a surprisingly strong market across Canada and across all market segments,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Looking ahead, government financial aid programs may be coming to an end in September, which could potentially impact future activity; however, the pent-up demand and low inventory dynamic may keep prices steady and bolster activity for the remainder of 2020. Overall, we are very confident in the long-term durability of the market.” 

Additional highlights from the 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report Survey:

  • 48% of Canadians would like to live closer to green spaces
  • 48% of Canadians say it’s more important than ever to live in a community close to hospitals and clinics
  • 33% of Canadians would like more square footage in their home and have realized they need more space
  • 44% of Canadians want a home with more outdoor space and personal amenities (i.e. balcony, pool etc.)

About the 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report

The 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report includes data and insights supplied by RE/MAX brokerages. RE/MAX brokers and agents are surveyed on market activity and local developments.


Seller’s market expected for 2020, prices to increase 4%

The Halifax housing market is expected to sit in seller’s territory in 2020, due to low inventory. RE/MAX is expecting a four-per-cent increase in sales prices next year.

The Halifax housing market favoured sellers in 2019, and these conditions are expected to continue in 2020. Housing affordability in the region continues to attract younger buyers in search of detached homes. Halifax remains an attractive market to foreign buyers and move-over buyers who are returning to the region from other parts of Canada for cultural amenities and affordable home prices.

First-time buyers and foreign buyers drove demand in 2019, with the most in-demand neighbourhoods for sales including north-end Halifax, Clayton Park, Bedford and parts of Dartmouth.

Moving into 2020, continued population growth in the region is expected to further boost the Halifax housing market.

Halifax housing market reportFrom a national perspective, RE/MAX anticipates a leveling out of the highs and lows that characterized the Canadian housing market in 2019, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto, as we move into 2020. Healthy price increases are expected, with an estimated 3.7-per-cent increase in the average national residential sales price, as reported in the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report.

In Atlantic Canada, the Halifax and Saint John housing markets have experienced solid price appreciation of six and five per cent, respectively. Affordability continues to attract many buyers in the region, most of whom are buying single-detached homes. At the same time, the region’s condominium market is being driven by retirees. Conversely, the market in St. John’s is expected to recover in 2020, with increased consumer confidence expected to stabilize the market. However, the city’s aging population and high rate of outbound migration is expected to have an impact on housing market activity at some point.