Let’s hope for a recession – maybe a depression. That’s the only way Toronto and Vancouver can become affordable. Any hope to purchase a home in Canada’s most dominant markets is unattainable and has been for many years. For many young people, there often seems to be no hope to even think of becoming a homeowner.
So, where do you go if you want a chance to enter the real estate market? For those who haven’t focused on the Halifax market you may be surprised, it’s hot – and the fact that very few across the country are paying attention to it, is something that won’t last for long. The consistent undersupply of real estate property, with Halifax’s ability to attract immigrants, and out-of-province interest is a point of differentiation. Thus, fueling the boom like no other city in Canada.
Halifax’s skyline has taken a dramatic rise in the past 5 or so years in an effort to keep up with the city’s population growth. As demand continues to rise beyond its inventory, prices have risen significantly. With this, new condominiums and apartment high-rises are brought with significant backlash by many community members who want to keep the heritage of the city prevalent. Naturally, frustration of small business owners and other business groups has also risen. These groups continue pushing to get parts of the city rezoned to allow for more high-rise development has been a slow process.
Halifax has always been preached as an affordable city to raise a family. While still largely true, single family home prices have experienced large growth at 4.7% year over year and 33% growth from 10 years ago, according to a recent real estate study. This is largely due to the influx of Canadians from other parts of the country as many companies and government agencies shift regional and national offices to Halifax.
While this has occurred, simultaneously, Halifax has become a more liveable city. Much improved (but still a work in progress) transit routes and a conscious focus on urban planning in the city centre is to thank for this. Argyle street’s transformation is a key example of this and now there is a credible push to redevelop the staleness that is Spring Garden, to a more walkable experience.
Combined with $25 million in funding from all three levels of government to create a network of cycle lanes, make Halifax a more enticing city to live in especially within and close to downtown. And not only is that what will make Halifax a great city to live in for its residents, it’s exactly what attracts people to cities like Toronto and Vancouver – transit, walkability, and increasingly, cycle-friendly. While suggesting the price of a home in the West End of Halifax will be at Kitsilano, Vancouver and High Park, Toronto levels would be unreasonable – but to say it will head in that direction is very likely.
The boom in food and entertainment hasn’t gone unnoticed by local residents either. Halifax’s third wave coffee movement is second to none in comparison to other Canadian cities – in fact, it has spearheaded much of the industry’s growth in the country. And some of Halifax’s North End restaurants have generated buzz across many parts of eastern Canada.
Halifax’s real estate climb has seen significant growth over recent years and will continue to make force as the city becomes more accessible and business friendly. Once the rest of the country realizes it’s potential, good luck closing a deal in any of Halifax’s desirable neighbourhoods.
Keshav is in his 4th year of Commerce at Dalhousie University, majoring in Accounting. He is a past competitor of the Rowe JDCC team and a Vendor Liaison for Enactus Dalhousie. Keshav also serves as the Assistant Treasurer of Senobe Aquatic Club. His interest include real estate, current events, and international economic policy. Keshav enjoys running, cycling, and being outdoors.