Typically, Canada’s East Coast real estate market is less pressurized. In that, average prices trend lower than in other parts of Canada, and demand is typically not as high as in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. However, cultural shifts have led many Canadians to relocate to the East Coast, spurring dramatic changes in these traditionally quiet real estate markets. The Nova Scotia real estate market, in particular, has felt the impact of the sharp uptick in activity resulting from these shifting consumer trends.

While Atlantic Canada has always drawn swaths of tourists due to the breathtaking views, natural wonders and relaxed lifestyle, the shift to working remotely has allowed Canadians across the country to embrace the vacation lifestyle year-round while holding a job in another city or province.

During the pandemic years, the Nova Scotia housing market experienced skyrocketing demand and bidding wars, even in the province’s smaller markets. Out-of-province buyers have driven that demand even further. As the market begins to cool, Nova Scotia is seeing decreased demand. However, they are also witnessing slightly decreased prices despite rising costs across the rest of the country.

Nova Scotia Real Estate Cools After Record-Breaking Highs

Going into the new year, February saw the province of Nova Scotia record 598 homes sold through the MLS System of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS, a decrease of 26.8 per cent from the 800-plus homes sold in February 2022. New listings were 18.3 per cent below the five-year average and 26.8 per cent below the 10-year average for February.

The lower unit sales in February contributed to the lowest number of new listings added in February in more than 15 years. On a year-to-date basis, home sales totalled 1,087 units over the first two months of 2023, a decrease of 28.3 per cent from the same period in 2022.

However, while the rest of Canada has been seeing incremental growth in home prices, Nova Scotia has remained relatively stable. The benchmark price for single-family homes was $362,700, an increase of 3 per cent on a year-over-year basis in February. Townhouse/row units saw a gain of 3.5 per cent compared to a year earlier, and apartment prices rose by 5.5 per cent from 2022. Overall, the average price of homes sold in February 2023 was $403,032, a decrease of 4.3 per cent from February 2022.

Will Warmer Weather Simmer the Nova Scotia Housing Market?

As the warmer weather rolls in, future conditions will depend on the number of new listings coming on stream. The province is sitting at nearly double the months of inventory compared to February 2022, with three months of inventory in February. Demand needs to alleviate some of the pressure caused by high inventory for the Nova Scotia real estate market to warm up. 2023 remains an uncertain year for the Nova Scotia housing market, but there is hope that the upswing will come into the summer.