The Halifax housing market has been a strong performer in 2021, and the trend is expected to continue through the end of the year. The significant uptick in market activity was largely prompted by COVID-19, when remote work, and the desire for more space and affordability impelled many homebuyers to make the move to Canada’s east coast. Rising home sales and prices, coupled with low days on market and record-low inventory, are giving sellers the upper hand in the region. This echoes conditions seen from coast to coast, with seller’s markets identified in 26 of 29 regions analyzed in the RE/MAX Fall 2021 Housing Market Outlook Report.

Canadian housing market_fall 2021 outlook_29_halifaxRE/MAX NOVA broker Ryan Hartlen reports that many first-time homebuyers who were previously were in search of single-detached homes, have now turned their sights toward semi-detached and townhouse options, due to rising detached prices. The impact of high demand has also been felt in Halifax’s condo property segment, which saw sales increase more than 55% year-over-year, and prices followed suit.

The Halifax housing market experienced the most-pronounced price growth in condominium properties at +29.1% year-over-year, followed by detached homes at +24.3%, and townhomes at +21.7%.

It is anticipated that average prices across all property types in the Halifax housing market will increase another 6% by the end of 2021.

Also limited in the Halifax market is new construction inventory, with delays and price increases, forcing some to walk away from their purchases. More developments are still on the horizon but will contribute to the current sellers’ market. Over the fall season, it is anticipated that young families will drive demand and inventory levels will slightly increase with typical seasonal trends but not to any extent of balancing the market.

From a broader Atlantic Canada perspective, housing market activity remained persistent YoY, with Halifax and Moncton seeing significant price increases across all property types. Single-detached homes in Halifax rose 24.3 per cent YoY, from $402,484 to $500,147. Meanwhile, Moncton’s detached prices gained 21.2 per cent YoY, from $233,676 to $282,886. The condo and townhome segments in Halifax, Saint John and Moncton all saw prices surge between 12.5 per cent and 48.9 per cent YoY.

Housing prices in St. John’s, NFLD were more tempered, with single-detached homes rising 8.4 per cent YoY (from $343,070 in 2020 to $371,970 in 2021) and townhomes experiencing a 2.8-per-cent increase, from $247,432 in 2020 to $254,462 in 2021. Condominiums were the only property segment to see a decline in average price, down 1.9 per cent YoY, from $261,425 in 2020 to $256,415 in 2021. However, sales in the region have been brisk across all property types, with detached-home sales up 60.4 per cent YoY, condominium sales up 75.7 per cent, and townhome sales up 94.1 per cent.

Moncton in particular is expected to continue strong, with one of the highest price outlooks for the remainder of 2021, between 12 and 15 per cent. Saint John is expected to see more-tempered price growth, ranging between one- to three-per-cent across all property types, while Halifax could see a six-per-cent increase in average sale price for the remainder of the year. In St. John’s, detached home prices are expected to rise one per cent through the remainder of 2021, while condo and townhome prices should hold steady.

National Canadian Housing Market Trends

Conditions in the Halifax housing market are echoed across the rest of the country, with single-family homes seeing the most pronounced price increases year-over-year in 2021, rising between 6.8 and 27.3 per cent across 26 or 29 markets surveyed in the report. And much like Toronto real estate, activity in this property segment is being propelled by strong demand by young families, a trend that RE/MAX brokers and agents expect to continue through the fall.

The average residential price in Canada, across all housing types, is anticipated to increase by 5% in the remaining months of 2021.

“Housing activity throughout the pandemic has remained strong, so it comes as no surprise that the outlook for the remainder of the year continues on an upward trajectory, which is great for homeowners and their equity, but challenging for first-time buyers who have been priced out of the market,” says Elton Ash, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Canada. “We must continue to educate Canadians from a practical, real world, point of view. What is affecting the Canadian housing market right now? Low Interest rates, economic stimulus, higher home-buying budgets, a higher savings rate, homeowners too scared to sell, and not enough new construction. These factors have created current market conditions.”

Adds Alexander, “The Canadian housing market has historically given homeowners great long-term returns and solid financial security, but there’s no doubt that the rapid price growth we’ve experienced recently is cause for concern. However, it’s not cause for panic. The data shows single-detached home price acceleration may be starting to level off in some urban centres, but prices continue to rise in many smaller cities and communities that were once havens for affordability. Real estate has been a boon to the Canadian economy, during the pandemic and before it. We believe in the long-term health of Canada’s housing market, but in order to protect it, we need to acknowledge and address the housing supply shortage. Our current government needs to stop applying band-aids and cure the problem at its root.”