Atlantic Canada became the “place to be” in the wake of Covid-19, as people sought greater affordability with their newfound ability to work remotely. Many East Coast housing markets experienced gains due to an influx of people, and demand for housing. What happened to PEI housing prices?

PEI Prince Edward Island has terrific scenery, lovely people, and, most important of all, affordable housing. Despite the upward trajectory in price growth in the last few years, especially at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the eastern province still offers prospective homeowners the opportunity to acquire a residential property at a price that suits their budgets.

Of course, whether you reside in British Columbia or Manitoba, relocating to the other side of the country can be a significant decision. But considering homeownership can be out of reach for many households in urban centres like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, or Ottawa, PEI and its regional neighbours can enable families to achieve the dream of owning their own home.

Interested? If so, be sure to acquaint yourself with the latest developments in the Prince Edward Island real estate market.

PEI Housing Prices Up for Third Year in a Row

According to the Prince Edward Island Real Estate Association (PEIRA), residential property sales plunged nearly 21 per cent year-over-year in April, totalling 150 units. In the first four months of the year, housing transactions have cratered more than 30 per cent from the same time a year ago, totalling fewer than 500 units.

While many other Canadian real estate market prices have slumped, the Prince Edward Island housing sector has reported a tepid gain. Association data show that the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), which industry experts say better monitors price trends than average or median gauges, rose 0.3 per cent year-over-year to $339,000.

This comes after CBC News reported, using CREA statistics, that benchmark house prices were up by double digits for three consecutive years, from 2019 to 2022.

That said, average home prices tumbled at an annualized pace of more than seven per cent to $380,096. The year-to-date average price slipped 0.6 per cent to $383,081.

Supply figures were mixed to kick off the typically busy spring buying season. New residential listings declined nearly six per cent year-over-year to 251 units, while active listings soared close to 73 per cent from the same time a year ago to 786 units.

On a historical basis, new listings were more than two per cent above the five-year average, while active listings were about 23 per cent above the five-year average for April.

The months of inventory, which calculates the number of months it would take to exhaust current inventories at the present rate of sales activity, was 7.1, up from 3.2 a year ago.

But new housing construction has slowed, according to new data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Housing starts declined more than 35 per cent year-over-year, totalling 57 units in April. In the first four months of 2023, housing starts totalled 119 units, down roughly 37 per cent.

First-Time Homebuyers Still Around

Despite the notable increase in the PEI real estate market since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis and the challenges of finding a home or being approved for a mortgage, first-time homebuyers are still maintaining a presence in the provincial housing industry, says PEIREA president James Marjerrison.

“It’s always a challenge for first-time buyers to get into something. Certainly, when prices increase as rapidly as they have the last few years that puts added stress on the situation of trying to get your first home,” Marjerrison told CBC News. “If somebody is determined to get their first home they usually find a way to make it happen.”

In addition, housing experts say that first-time homebuyers in PEI or other places in the Atlantic Canada real estate market can incorporate various strategies into their home-buying endeavours.

But here are the three most important tips:

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage: Be sure to apply for a mortgage first before you start looking for a residential property, so you know what is within your budget.
  • Work with a real estate agent: Always surround yourself with a terrific and professional real estate agent so they can find you the best home that suits your needs or budget.
  • Gather the down payment: Start saving early and aim for at least 20 per cent of the purchase price.

The Atlantic Canada real estate market is the next big thing in the housing industry. Despite everyone ostensibly trying to acquire a home in Vancouver or Toronto, many families are realizing that the Maritimes is a prime opportunity, especially with prices in places like PEI or New Brunswick much lower than the national average. So is it time to make the east coast your new home?