Halifax Index 2024


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No Escape From Tight Housing Market In Communities Across The City

This section focuses on availability and affordability of housing across communities within the Halifax region. The first subsection utilizes data on residential sales from the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORs (NSAR), while the second relies on rental market data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Halifax’s 2023 residential sales market cooled from the fervor of 2022, but the average price across the region still rose as did the average price in most areas within it. Average sale prices ranged from a high of more than $708,000 in the Waverly/Fall River/Oakfield area to a low of $311,000 in Lawrencetown/Lake Echo/Porters Lake. Virtually all of greater Halifax remained a seller’s market in 2023 as measured by the sales-to-new-listings ratio, and competition among buyers remained intense as gauged by the sale-to-list-price ratio.

Exceptionally low apartment vacancy rates were common across the region; this ranged from a high of 1.5% in Mainland South and Dartmouth South to a low of 0.5% in the largely rural Remainder of Halifax zone. The average rent across Halifax was $1,538, but there were significant variances from a low of $1,246 in Dartmouth North to a high of $1,922 in the Remainder of Halifax. Overall, the region added 360 apartment units in 2023 although three zones saw their apartment stocks decline.

Also of note, on May 22, 2024, the first-ever African Nova Scotian Prosperity and Well-being Index was published. This document provides a variety of data on the African Nova Scotian community across six key topics: People, Employment, Income, Education, Housing, and Well-being. Click here to go to the document.

Halifax Index 2024
Community Homeownership

There are significant variations in housing affordability and availability across regions within the broader Halifax region.

The average 2023 selling price for a home across Halifax was just over $555,000. However, prices ranged from $708,000 in Waverly/Fall River/Oakfield (28% higher than the average) to $311,000 in Lawrencetown/Lake Echo/Porters Lake (43% below the Halifax-wide figure).

Halifax and virtually all of its regions were seller’s markets in 2023 according to the sales-to-new-listings ratio. Scores on this metric for 2023 were generally similar to their 2022 values.

The sale-to-list-price ratio declined in all regions indicating that the red-hot market of 2022 cooled somewhat in 2023. However, most regions still recorded a ratio above 100% demonstrating that competition for homes among buyers remained intense.

Source: Nova Scotia Association of REALTORs, Nova Scotia Residential Market Activity and MLS® Home Price Index Report (Various)

Average Home Prices by Region

  • From 2022 to 2023, the average price for a house across the Halifax region rose by more than $13,000, or 2.5%. Drilling into the 11 zones within Halifax defined by the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORs, price growth was led by Waverly/Fall River/Oakfield at almost $29,000 (+4.3%), Dartmouth/Woodside/Eastern Passage at just under $22,000 (+5.4%), and Beaver Bank/Upper Sackville at $20,500 (+3.9%).
  • There were four regions that experienced a decrease in average selling price from 2022 to 2023 led by Lawrencetown/Lake Echo/Porters Lake at almost $17,500 (-5.3%).
  • Waverly/Fall River/Oakfield recorded the highest average selling price in 2023 at just over $708,000. Kingswood/Haliburton Hills also broke the $700,000 mark in 2023 as it did in 2022.
  • The lowest average selling price was $311,000 recorded in Lawrencetown/Lake Echo/Porters Lake. The next lowest was Dartmouth/Woodside/Eastern Passage at $426,000.

Source: Nova Scotia Association of REALTORs, Nova Scotia Residential Market Activity and MLS® Home Price Index Report (Various)

Sales-to-New-Listings Ratio by Region

  • The number of homes sold compared to the number of new home listings provides an indication of the degree of competition in the housing market. A ratio below 40 is considered a buyer’s market; it indicates that a significant share of housing is going unsold. A ratio above 60 is a seller’s market; the high figure suggests that the supply of housing inventory is not keeping up with demand. A value between 40 and 60 indicates a balanced market. The region-wide figure for 2023 was 76.6.
  • In both 2022 and 2023, all of Halifax’s regions met the threshold for a seller’s market except Lawrencetown/Lake Echo/Porters Lake in 2023 when its ratio of 59.2 nudged it into the balanced market range. The only other regions with a 2023 ratio below 70 were Harrietsfield/Sambro/Halibut Bay (68.8) and Waverly/Fall River/Oakfield (68.1).
  • The highest ratios in 2023 were found in Lower Sackville (88.9), Dartmouth/Woodside/Eastern Passage (88.8), and Dartmouth (84.4).
  • Of 11 regions, six saw a decline in their ratios from 2022 to 2023, while five had an increase. Most changes were small. Only Lawrencetown/Lake Echo/Porters Lake experienced a double-digit change with a drop of 13.4 in its ratio from 2022 to 2023.

Source: Nova Scotia Association of REALTORs, Nova Scotia Residential Market Activity and MLS® Home Price Index Report (Various)

Sale-to-List-Price Ratio by Region

  • The sale-to-list-price ratio compares the final selling price of a home to the last listed price. A ratio above 100% means that the house sold for more than the seller was asking.
  • The sale-to-list-price ratio across Halifax was 101.5% in 2023 down from 110.3% the previous year.
  • Across regions, Lawrencetown/Lake Echo/Porters Lake had the lowest 2023 ratio at 95.3%. Bedford and Kingswood/Haliburton Hills were essentially at 100%. The highest ratio was recorded for Lower Sackville at 104.9%.
  • All regions experienced a declining ratio from 2022 to 2023 led by Beaver Bank/Upper Sackville with a drop of 11.6 percentage points. The smallest decrease occurred in Harrietsfield/Sambro/Halibut Bay where the ratio went down by 4.7 percentage points.

Halifax Index 2024
Community Rental Market

As discussed in the “Renting” subsection, Halifax continued to experience an extremely tight rental market in 2023 with a record-low vacancy rate and sharply increasing average rent. These phenomena held across the region.

The CMHC-defined rental zones with the highest 2023 vacancy rates were Mainland South, Dartmouth North, and Dartmouth South, but their vacancy rates were only 1.5%, still extremely low in an absolute sense. At the other end of the spectrum, Mainland North, Sackville, and the largely rural Remainder of Halifax had rates below 1.0%.

Consistent with its lowest vacancy rate, the Remainder of Halifax zone also had the highest average monthly apartment rent in 2023 at $1,922. Next highest were Peninsula South, Sackville, and Bedford in the $1,600 to $1,800 range. At the low end were Dartmouth North ($1,246) and Dartmouth South ($1,286). These figures compare to a Halifax-wide average of $1,534.

Some relief may be in sight as the stock of apartments continues to grow. From 2022 to 2023, an additional 350 units were added to the rental market. Peninsula North and Sackville led this growth with 185 and 122 additional units, respectively. The stock of apartments actually fell in the Dartmouth South (-127), Peninsula South (-44), and Bedford (-22) zones.

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Housing Market Information Portal

Apartment Vacancy Rates by Region

  • Halifax as a whole maintained its record-low apartment vacancy rate of 1.0% in 2023.
  • Extremely tight rental markets existed in all CMHC-defined zones within the broader region, getting as low as 0.5% in the more rural areas.
  • At best, the vacancy rate was still extremely low 1.5% in Mainland South, Dartmouth North, and Dartmouth South.

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Housing Market Information Portal

Apartment Rents by Region

  • The average monthly apartment rent across all of Halifax in 2023 was $1,538.
  • In the Remainder of Halifax zone, which is more rural, the average rent was significantly higher at $1,922. Peninsula South, Bedford, and Sackville also had above-average rents.
  • The lowest average monthly rent was in Dartmouth North at $1,246.

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Housing Market Information Portal

Change in Apartment Stock by Region

  • Growing the stock of rental units is key to alleviating the extremely tight rental market and reducing the pace of rent increases.
  • Halifax as a whole added a total of 360 apartment units to the market in 2023. Growth was led by Peninsula North (185) and Sackville (122).
  • Three zones saw their apartment stocks decline in 2023 over 2022 – Bedford (-22), Peninsula South (-44), and Dartmouth South (-127).

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