In-migration from outside the province has bolstered home-buying activity across the board in and around the Halifax real estate market, and contributed to a serious uptick in average price. Condominium sales increased almost 36 per cent between January 1 and August 31, rising from 716 units in 2020 to 973 units in 2021. Average price has climbed close to 30 per cent year-to-date, now hovering at $398,632.
Lack of inventory remains a significant challenge across the Halifax real estate market and surrounding areas, with condo supply down and days on market at just 1.1 months, and even less in several neighbourhoods – the lowest levels seen in a decade. Supply issues have pushed the sales-to-list price ratio up to 108.4 per cent this year.
The strongest sales between January and August of this year were reported in Halifax South, where 212 condominium units changed hands, up 82.8 per cent year-over-year. Values in the area have climbed 36.5 per cent to $524,680, up from $384,349 in 2020. Fairmount, Clayton Park and Rockingham came in a strong second, with 136 units sold during the same period, an increase of 28.3 per cent over the same period in 2020. Affordability has been a major driver in Halifax North, where condo sales have soared 232 per cent, rising from 28 units in 2020 to 93 units in the first eight months of 2021. The area, sought-after for its entry-level price point, is exceptionally popular with younger, first-time homebuyers. However, the continuous influx of condo purchasers into the area has driven-up values, now 53 per cent ahead of 2020 figures ($375,824 versus $245,200).
In years past, location was an essential component of the condominium purchase, but a recent shift shows that price is now dictating location. Buyers, especially those from out of province, are willing to expand their search perimeter to achieve home ownership on their terms. With at least 70 per cent of new high-rise construction units designated as rental, it’s unlikely that demand will let up anytime soon. Just 100 to 200 new condominium units are expected to come on-stream in the year ahead in the Halifax real estate market, which is likely to place greater pressure on resale condo values. In 2019, Halifax Regional Council passed the Centre Plan, a set of land use documents incentivizing greater density in the city – the results of which are expected to materialize in the coming years.
The Halifax-Dartmouth real estate market is well-positioned for the future, thanks to policies enacted during COVID-19 that created the “Atlantic Bubble.” In-migration and immigration are expected to ramp up in the months ahead. With the Bank of Canada committed to keeping the overnight rate at 0.25 per cent until mid-2022, seller’s market conditions are expected to prevail for the foreseeable future.
At the national level, the RE/MAX report analyzed five key Canadian housing markets and more than 100 sub-markets, and found that buyers looked to condominium properties in 2021 as the affordable housing option, in the face of rising freehold values. The West experienced the greatest sales gains, with Greater Vancouver and Calgary condo sales up 87 per cent and 83 per cent respectively between January 1 and August 31 of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, when a notable downturn in condo sales occurred.
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was the leader in condo sales in East Canada, up 71 per cent over the same period in 2020, followed by Halifax-Dartmouth (+36 per cent) and Ottawa (+29 per cent).
In terms of price growth in Canada, the greatest gains occurred in the East, with both Halifax-Dartmouth and Ottawa posting double-digit price gains of 30.0 per cent and 18.0 per cent respectively. More moderate appreciation was reported in Greater Toronto (+seven per cent), Vancouver (+6.7 per cent) and Calgary (+three per cent).
Growth in condo market share across the Canadian real estate market occurred in all regions surveyed but one, according to the RE/MAX Canada 2021 Condominium Report. The greatest concentration of condo sales was reported in Greater Vancouver, where condos represented nearly half (48.2 per cent) of total residential sales in 2021, up from 46 per cent one year ago. Condominium apartments and townhomes in the GTA followed with a 34.5 per cent share of the overall market, up from 30.8 per cent one year earlier. Almost one in four properties sold in Ottawa between January 1 and August 31, 2021 was a condominium, compared to the same period in 2020 (24.3 per cent versus 23.3 per cent). Meanwhile in Halifax-Dartmouth, the condominium segment represented 17.3 per cent of total residential sales, up from 15 per cent one year earlier. While overall sales climbed in Calgary year-over-year, condominium market share declined by just under one per cent in 2021, to 14.2 per cent.