Making the Big Move: How to Find Homeownership in Halifax

Photo Credit: Jan Walter Luigi via Unsplash

Becoming a homeowner is a huge accomplishment, and it’s not an easy goal to achieve. It takes years of hard work and sacrifice to save a down payment, and prices can still feel out of reach for first-time buyers. When you finally have enough saved up and qualify for a mortgage, it can be nerve-wracking to make the big move into homeownership.

Halifax is a great place to get onto the property ladder. While the property market remains hot, defying national trends of stagnating home prices, it’s also a great deal more affordable than other urban centres in Canada. That’s made it an appealing place for remote workers seeking affordability thanks to the flexibility of their jobs, as well as locals finally ready to enter the housing market.

Here’s what you need to know when you’re looking at houses for sale in Nova Scotia.

#1 Find Out What’s Going on with the Market

Prices continue to rise year-over-year in the Halifax real estate market, with the average selling price growing seven percent to $379,000 in 2023. The rise in prices is largely driven by interprovincial migration, especially from homebuyers looking for relief from overheated markets in other parts of Canada.

One thing prospective homebuyers should know about Halifax is that there is a limited number of premium properties. The $1 million-plus market makes up a much smaller ratio of the property market, and what you can get is vastly different.

Understanding the housing market can help you navigate listings and find what’s right for you.

#2 Pick Your Neighbourhood

Your neighbourhood has a big impact on your lifestyle. Halifax’s North End is an increasingly hip area, home to coffee shops, vintage stores, and up-and-coming businesses. North End townhouses are an increasingly hot commodity among homebuyers who want to be part of a vibrant neighbourhood.

Some buyers looking for walkability at a discount are heading over the bridge to downtown Dartmouth, while you can also find more traditional suburbs with big lawns and easy access to supercentres.

#3 Work with a Local Real Estate Agent

In today’s housing market, a great real estate agent who knows the neighbourhood is essential. While you will likely want to check out listings yourself, a great agent organizes viewings, gives insights into different properties and areas, and guides you through all the paperwork that comes with buying a home.

#4 Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Talk to banks and mortgage lenders about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval will give you an idea of the budget you have to work with and the price range that you can afford. You will still need to secure financing when you’ve settled on a property, but pre-approval will help make the process much smoother.

#5 Inspect the Property

In a hot housing market, it can be tempting to forego things like final inspections in an effort to make sure you get the property, but you can wind up facing some very costly and unexpected repairs if you skip the inspection. A comprehensive inspection of the property will help you make a more informed decision.

Halifax is a city with a rich history and beautiful streets. Learn about the housing market, work with a great real estate agent, find your budget, and do your research on individual properties to find your dream home in Halifax.

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