Relocation Blog Series #1: Understanding Halifax Neighbourhoods

It can be quite difficult purchasing a new home or condo in a city you haven’t spent much time in. Most often, distinguishing one neighbourhood from another is the hardest part in choosing where to live when relocating to Halifax.  So, here we did our best to break it down for you.

Peninsula of Halifax

The Halifax Peninsula can be broken into three sub areas; South End, West End and North End Halifax. And of course, there are unique neighbourhoods within each of these as well. 

South End Halifax

Depending on who you ask, South End Halifax begins “somewhere” around the Halifax Commons and carries through to Point Pleasant Park. It encompasses DowntownThe Halifax Waterfront, the Hospitals and both Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s universities.  One could easily argue that South End Halifax is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Atlantic Canada and the prices of homes and condos reflect that. If you’re the type of person who wants to be in the heart of the city, this is the place for you.

North End Halifax

“Up-and-coming” and “Hipster” are two terms that are often used to describe the various neighbourhoods in North End Halifax.  From the southern end of Gottingen Street through Agricola Street and into The Hydrostone, North End Halifax offers trendy restaurants, coffee shops, distillery’s, condos and so much more. Prices of homes and condos in North End Halifax are typically less than the South End but of course, there are some very nice, high-end homes here as well. If working downtown Halifax with a short commute is your thing, North End Halifax might just be for you.

West End Halifax

From Quinpool Road down through Armdale Rotary and over to Dutch Village RoadWest End Halifax is mostly made up of single family homes and residential neighbourhoods. Outside of the Halifax Shopping Centre, West End Halifax isn’t known for its shops and restaurants. Still, if you want to be on the peninsula and close to downtown, there are many excellent options for single family homes.

Mainland Halifax

Just off the peninsula, Mainland Halifax includes Fairview, Clayton Park and Bayers Lake. Here is where you really start to see the value when purchasing a home or condo. Prices in these neighbourhoods are typically 20-50% less than those in the South End of Halifax. While getting on and off the peninsula during rush hour can be a little bit of a hastle, Mainland Halifax is perfect for investors, young families and first time home buyers. 

Bedford

Bedford is arguably the fastest growing suburb of Halifax and it's easy to see why. Hammonds PlainsLarry Uteck and all of West Bedford continue to see many new home, apartment and condo buildings going up every year. With relatively quick access to the peninsula, Dartmouth, Bayers LakeHalifax International Airport and highways leading to TruroSouth Shore and the Annapolis Valley, to many, Bedford is the central point to HRM

Purcell’s Cove & St. Margaret’s Bay

Purcell's Cove and St. Margaret's Bay are located along the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia. If you're seeking that true, Nova Scotian feel, want to be close to the ocean, hiking trailsand don't mind a moderate commute (15 - 30 minutes) then these communities might be perfect for you. There are a lot of older homes however new construction continues to spring up in multiple areas. There is some tremendous value in these communities while there are also some very expensive, gorgeous waterfront homes as well. 

Dartmouth

To many, South End Dartmouth (downtown) has a very similar feel to North End Halifax. With a lot of trendy restaurants and pubs popping up every other day (see The CanteenBattery Park, etc.) Dartmouth is beginning to attract a lot of young families, investors and first time home buyers. But Dartmouth has something for all demographics. Multiple community collegeshospitalsschoolsparks, in addition to Dartmouth Crossing and  Burnside Industrial Park (nearly 2,000 businesses employing 30,000 people) the city is growing and has something to offer everyone. One of the biggest complaints is the commute to Halifax, however for most parts of Dartmouth it is not bad as many believe.  Home and condo prices offer great value and there are many fantastic neighbourhoods to choose from including, but not limited to: Montebello, Portland Estates and Woodlawn.

Cole Harbour

Home of Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon. What more do you need to know? 😉

In all seriousness, Cole Harbour has a lot to offer it’s residents. There are some excellent neighbourhoods and many schools to choose from in addition to grocery stores, restaurants and Cole Harbour Place. Home prices are very affordable and with it’s proximity to Dartmouth and Halifax it’s become a very attractive city for families. Not to mention, many of the cast members from Trailer Park Boys are also from here. 

Fall River & Waverley

Fall River and Waverley are highly sought-after suburban communities on the outskirts of Halifax. With so many lakes within and surrounding both communities, kayaking, canoeing and cycling are popular activities among the residents. Waverley doesn’t have much for amenities however because of it’s proximity to Dartmouth it doesn’t need any. Meanwhile, Fall River has a grocery store, Tim Horton’s, pharmacy, gas stations and much more while it’s also very close to Sackville and Bedford. Last, both communities are close to highways and the Halifax Stanfield Airport making this an excellent area for outdoor enthusiasts and established families. 

Lawrencetown & Porters Lake

Approximately 15 minutes to Dartmouth and 25-40 minutes to downtown Halifax, If you enjoy being outside the city close to beaches, hiking trails and places to surf - Lawrencetown, Lake Echo, Mineville and Porters Lake all have some great neighbourhoods to choose from. Outside of Porters Lake, you won't find much for amenities however that isn't slowing home sales. Like the other outlying suburb communities, home buyers can find both value in older homes and land while expensive, modern waterfront properties are available as well. 

 

Andrew & Phil

Halifax Condo Team

 

Downtown Halifax Condo Market Report, First Quarter 2018

SOUTH END

Active Listings = 77
Average Price = $518,387
% vs 2017 = +56% increase
Number of Sales = 16
% vs 2017 = no change
Avg days on Market = 74
Sales Last Month = 4
*Absorption Rate = 84 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market

CENTRAL HALIFAX

Active Listings = 11
Average Price = $275,514
% vs 2017 = -11% decrease
Number of Sales = 7
% vs 2016 =  +133% decrease
Avg days on Market = 59
Sales Last Month = 2
*Absorption Rate =  23 weeks
Type of Market = Balanced Market 

WEST END

Active Listings = 6
Average Price = $291,250
% vs 2016 = +52% increase
Number of Sales = 6
% vs 2016 = +11% increase
Avg days on Market = 109
Sales Last Month = 2
*Absorption Rate = 11
Type of Market = Sellers Market

NORTH END

Active Listings = 21
Average Price = $184,700
% vs 2016 = +3% increase
Number of Sales = 5
% vs 2016 = +200% increase
Avg days on Market = 109
Sales Last Month = 3
*Absorption Rate =  30 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market

 

*Absorption rate is the number of weeks it would take to sell out the current inventory at the previous months pace of sales. Balanced market = 24 weeks | Buyers = > 24weeks | sellers = < 24 weeks

If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing in a condo in Downtown Halifax, we would love to help. Feel free to contact us by email info@halifaxcondoteam.ca    

Kind Regards,

Andrew & Phil

Buying vs Renting

In this months blog we explored the difference between buying a condo versus renting a similar apartment.  For the purpose of this exercise we took a standard $300,000 condo and used Halifax averages for condo fees, utilities, interest rates and so forth. Note that in an exercise like this there will always be variances in costs and no two scenarios are ever the same. That said, we did our best to be neutral (if anything we rounded favourable numbers down) and the process is standard. 

BUYING

Buying a standard $300,000 condo with the current five-year fixed interest rate and 5% down would look something like this:

Condo Purchase Price: $300,000

5 Year Fixed Interest Rate: 3.25% 

Total Due on Signing:

o Down Payment: 5% = $15,000

o Deed Transfer Tax: 1.5% of purchase price = $4,500

o   Lawyer Fees: ~ $800

o   Total Up Front Costs: $20,300
____________________________________________

o   CMHC fees (added to loan amount to be financed):  $11,400

Balance Remaining to be Mortgaged: $296,400

Mortgage Payment: $1,441 / Month

o   Interest Paid: $797

o   Principal Paid: $644

Condo Fees / Utilities / Insurance: $450

Property Tax: $250

Total Monthly Carrying Costs: $2,141

At this rate, in 5 years, the mortgage will be paid down to $254,552. Meanwhile, the estimated condo value in 5 years with 2.5% appreciation equates to $339,422.

Equity Gained = Appreciation ($339,422) - Balance Remaining on Mortgage ($254,552) = $84,870 – Upfront Costs ($20,300) = $64,570.

However, in this example buying costs $541 more per month (see ‘Renting’ below) so we want to back that number out now; $64,570 - $32,460 ($541 x 60) = $32,110.

So after five years, assuming you have to live somewhere (and that rent is $1,600 / month) purchasing a condo will provide you with a lift on investment of approximately $32,110.

Note that if you put more than a 5% down payment you would reduce the CMHC insurance fee in addition to the interest paid on your mortgage so that the lift on your investment would be even greater. 

RENTING

Renting Similar Unit: ~ $1,600 / Month = $96,000 in Rent over 5 Years

Monthly Savings Renting vs. Buying = $541 ($2,141-$1,600)

By renting, one would be saving $541 / month in addition to the $20,300 in up front purchasing costs.  If you were to invest all of this money in a GIC with a 3% annual compound interest rate you would make $6,274 profit in five years (see below).

Current Principle: $20,300

Annual Addition: $6,492 ($541 x 12)

Years to Grow: 5

Interest Rate: 3%

Future Value: $59,034

Gain on Investment: $59,034 - $20,300 - $32,460 ($6,492 x 5) = $6,274

BOTTOM LINE

No two scenarios are ever the same and some people are much more savvy investors than others. For example, a renter may choose to invest in stocks instead of a GIC and do very well. In contrast, appreciation on your condo might only be 2% or if it’s new construction it could be more than 5%. Regardless, whatever the scenario, you can take the guidelines set out here and apply them so they match your own.

Last, it’s very important for us to note that this is meant only as an example. We always recommend discussing any investments you plan on making with your financial advisor and mortgage broker.  After all, while we know and understand the Halifax Condo Market very well the same cannot be said for your personal finances and investment goals. Whichever the case, we hope you found some value here and if you would like to discuss this exercise in greater detail, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading.

DOWNTOWN HALIFAX CONDO MARKET YEAR END REPORT 2017

CENTRAL HALIFAX

Active Listings = 9
Average Price = $356,498
% vs 2016 = +30% increase
Number of Sales = 31
% vs 2016 =  -29% decrease
Avg days on Market = 62
Sales Last Month = 3
*Absorption Rate =  20 weeks
Type of Market = Sellers Market 

SOUTH END

Active Listings = 71
Average Price = $353,959
% vs 2016 = +0.66% increase
Number of Sales = 122
% vs 2016 = +12% increase
Avg days on Market = 111
Sales Last Month = 28
*Absorption Rate = 11 weeks
Type of Market = Sellers Market

 


NORTH END

Active Listings = 17
Average Price = $199,369
% vs 2016 = -3.8% decrease
Number of Sales = 41
% vs 2016 = +11% increase
Avg days on Market = 91
Sales Last Month = 1
*Absorption Rate =  73 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market

WEST END

Active Listings = 5
Average Price = $262,236
% vs 2016 = -7.8% decrease
Number of Sales = 19
% vs 2016 = +11% increase
Avg days on Market = 52
Sales Last Month = 2
*Absorption Rate = 11
Type of Market = Sellers Market

 

*Absorption rate is the number of weeks it would take to sell out the current inventory at the previous months pace of sales. Balanced market = 24 weeks | Buyers = > 24weeks | sellers = < 24 weeks

If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing in a condo in Downtown Halifax, we would love to help. Feel free to contact us by email info@halifaxcondoteam.ca    

Kind Regards,

Andrew & Phil

Pets and Condos: 4 Things to Consider

As the number of Nova Scotians moving into condominiums continues to climb, so to have the number of pets.  Developers have realized this trend and are now offering everything from in-house pet stations with showers to outdoor pet parks. Still, if you're a pet owner contemplating moving into a condo building, there are a few of things to consider.

1. Can your pet handle small area living?  First, the most important factor to consider is whether your pet is suited for that type of living environment. Is your pet/dog small or large, loud or quiet, high energy? Different breeds are better suited for small living areas and don’t require as much space or exercise as other breeds. Also, some animals have separation anxiety and can be quite loud when their owners are away. A yappy dog is sure to cause issues with neighbours.  So ask yourself, will your pet be happy living in a condo? 

2. Condo Pet Rules: Inform yourself about the condo building’s rules regarding pets in the building. Some forbid pets of any kind while others allow cats but not dogs. Also, some buildings restrict the size of dogs allowed. However, most condo buildings in Nova Scotia are completely open to the concept of pet ownership, as long as you and your pet adhere to building rules (where they can use the washroom) and anti-nuisance rules.

3. Condo Location: It’s important for pet owners to consider the location of the condominium; a dog living in a condo is going to need to stretch its legs. Is the condominium you’re considering close to areas where you can walk your dog? In Halifax, there are many fantastic off-leash parks and as long as you live close to one them, you should be able to conveniently exercise your pet. Here are a few of the best dog parks around Halifax:

Point Pleasant ParkHemlock Ravine Park, Dartmouth Commons, Frog Pond TrailShubie Park

Long Lake Provincial ParkFort Needham Memorial Park, Africville Park, Halifax Commons

Gorsebrook Park, Belchers Marsh Park 
 

4. What happens if there is an issue involving my pet?  The proper place to go first is the condo board, which can apply a number of remedies ranging from mediation and resolving the dispute, or requiring modifications to the pet owner’s behaviour to forcing the removal of the pet. This might sound extreme, but keep in mind if your neighbours are unhappy with your pet, they can make your life unhappy as well. 

Overall, the majority of condominiums in Nova Scotia are pet friendly as long as the pet is well behaved and owners respect the building rules and policies you should have no problem. If you own a pet and are contemplating moving into a condo, consider all aspects when choosing your building.

Here at the Halifax Condo Team, we love pets and dogs. In fact, here's our little buddy Chewy helping us write this blog. Thanks Chewy!

 

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DOWNTOWN HALIFAX CONDO MARKET REPORT, 3rd Qtr, 2017

SOUTH END

Active Listings = 78
Average Price = $388,604
% vs 2016 = +9% increase
Number of Sales = 48
% vs 2016 = +23% increase
Avg days on Market = 111
Sales Last Month = 12
*Absorption Rate = 28 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market

CENTRAL HALIFAX

Active Listings = 11
Average Price = $312,636
% vs 2016 = +15% increase
Number of Sales = 11
% vs 2016 =  -31% decrease
Avg days on Market = 26
Sales Last Month = 3
*Absorption Rate =  16 weeks
Type of Market = Sellers Market 

WEST END

Active Listings = 5
Average Price = $252,916
% vs 2016 = -2.7%
Number of Sales = 6
% vs 2016 = -25% decrease
Avg days on Market = 65
Sales Last Month = 0
*Absorption Rate = N/A
Type of Market = Buyers Market

NORTH END

Active Listings = 19
Average Price = $192,241
% vs 2016 = -6.5% decrease
Number of Sales = 9
% vs 2016 = -43% decrease
Avg days on Market = 118
Sales Last Month = 3
*Absorption Rate =  27 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market

*Absorption Rate is the number of weeks it would take to sell out the current inventory at the previous months pace of sales. Balanced market = 24 weeks | Buyers = > 24weeks | sellers = < 24 weeks

If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing in a condo in Downtown Halifax, we would love to help. Feel free to contact us by email info@halifaxcondoteam.ca    

Kind Regards,

Andrew & Phil

DOWNTOWN HALIFAX CONDO MARKET REPORT, 1ST HALF, 2017

SOUTH END

Active Listings - 99
Average Price = $326,204
% vs 2016 = -4.3%
Number of Sales = 49
% vs 2016 = -2%
Avg days on Market = 100
Sales Last Month = 14
*Absorption Rate =  30 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market

CENTRAL HALIFAX

Active Listings = 13
Average Price = $370,321
% vs 2016 = +41%
Number of Sales = 14
% vs 2016 =  -26%
Avg days on Market = 90
Sales Last Month = 7
*Absorption Rate =  8 weeks
Type of Market = Sellers Market


NORTH END

Active Listings = 17
Average Price = $190,737
% vs 2016 = -4.4%
Number of Sales = 19
% vs 2016 = +35%
Avg days on Market = 83
Sales Last Month = 6
*Absorption Rate =  12 weeks
Type of Market = Sellers Market

WEST END

Active Listings = 4
Average Price = $274,771
% vs 2016 = -2.7%
Number of Sales =7
% vs 2016 = -22%
Avg days on Market = 59
Sales Last Month = 2
*Absorption Rate = 10 weeks
Type of Market = Sellers Market


*Absorption Rate is the number of weeks it would take to sell out the current inventory at the previous months pace of sales. Balanced market = 24 weeks | Buyers = > 24weeks | sellers = < 24 weeks

If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing in a condo in Downtown Halifax, I would love to help. Feel free to contact me by phone/text 902-488-0012 or email andrew@andrewperkins.ca.    

Kind Regards,

Andrew Perkins
902-488-0012

DOWNTOWN HALIFAX CONDO MARKET REPORT, 1ST QUARTER, 2017

SOUTH END

Active Listings - 102
Average Price = $332,275
% vs 2016 = +11%
Number of Sales = 16
% vs 2016 = +11%
Avg days on Market = 96
Sales Last Month = 5
*Absorption Rate =  88 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market

CENTRAL HALIFAX

Active Listings = 16
Average Price = $273,845
% vs 2016 = -25%
Number of Sales = 3
% vs 2016 =  +18%
Avg days on Market = 83
Sales Last Month = 3
*Absorption Rate =  23 weeks
Type of Market = Balanced Market


NORTH END

Active Listings = 17
Average Price = $179,476
% vs 2016 = -3.4%
Number of Sales = 8
% vs 2016 = +100%
Avg days on Market = 117
Sales Last Month = 3
*Absorption Rate =  24 weeks
Type of Market = Balanced Market

WEST END

Active Listings = 13
Average Price = $191,200
% vs 2016 = +3%
Number of Sales =2
% vs 2016 = -15%
Avg days on Market = 40
Sales Last Month = 0
*Absorption Rate = 50 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers market


*Absorption Rate is the number of weeks it would take to sell out the current inventory at the previous months pace of sales. Balanced market = 24 weeks | Buyers = > 24weeks | sellers = < 24 weeks

If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing in a condo in Downtown Halifax, I would love to help. Feel free to contact me by phone/text 902-488-0012 or email andrew@andrewperkins.ca.    

Kind Regards,

Andrew Perkins
902-488-0012

DOWNTOWN HALIFAX CONDO MARKET REPORT 2016

 

CENTRAL

 Active Listings = 11
Average Price = $273,845
% vs 2015 = -9%
Number of Sales = 44
% vs 2015 =  +57%
Avg days on Market = 83
Sales Last Month = 4
*Absorption Rate =  12 weeks
Type of Market = Sellers Market

SOUTH END

Active Listings - 86
Average Price = $349,390
% vs 2015 = -1%
Number of Sales = 108
% vs 2015 = +3%
Avg days on Market = 94
Sales Last Month = 5
*Absorption Rate =  74 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers Market


NORTH END

Active Listings = 10
Average Price = $207,595
% vs 2015 = no change
Number of Sales = 37
% vs 2015 = no change
Avg days on Market = 82
Sales Last Month = 2
*Absorption Rate =  22 weeks
Type of Market = Buyers  Market

WEST END

Active Listings = 15
Average Price = $285,472
% vs 2015 = +3%
Number of Sales =18
% vs 2015 = +38%
Avg days on Market = 122
Sales Last Month = 0
*Absorption Rate = 24 weeks
Type of Market = Balanced Market


If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing in a condo in Downtown Halifax, I would love to help. Feel free to contact me by phone/text 902-488-0012 or email andrew@andrewperkins.ca.    

Kind Regards,

Andrew Perkins
902-488-0012