March Real Estate Report for Nova Scotia

Are you a home buyer or seller feeling the pressure to make a move? Buyers waiting for better rates, but also trying to get ahead of competing buyers. Sellers are being bombarded with agents looking for listings, being told inventory is low and prices are still increasing. 

While these are good points, it boils down to when is the best time for you in your situation. Here are the stats for March Real estate market  for Nova Scotia so it can help you make the right decision. 

Before we get into the numbers, there was some real estate news worth mentioning.

Regulatory Changes and Their Impact

Notably, OSFI’s (Office of the Superintendent for Financial Institutions) new regulation caps the mortgage-to-income lending ratio at 4.5 times, aiming to ensure financial stability. However, it’s crucial to understand that this ratio applies to lenders’ overall mortgage portfolios, not individual borrowers, and its current impact is minimal due to high-interest rates restraining borrowing capacity. 

globe and mail headline

Immigration Policy Changes

The federal goverment is implenting changes to immigration in attempts to ease the pressure on housing supply.  They have reduced the number of international student applicants down to 360,000 a reduction of 35 % from 2023. They have also increased the application fees for permanent residency.  This will most likely have initial effect on the rental market.

As new resident typically don’t purchase a home until they have been in Canada for 4-5 years. So from the the peak of immigration back in 2020-2021. Expect and increase in forst time buyers about 2025 and 2026. 

The Renters Bill of Rights

Echoing promises of a Home Buyers Bill of Rights, the proposed Renters Bill of Rights seeks to introduce measures such as a national lease framework and disclosures of previous rental prices. However, the feasibility and effectiveness of these measures are debatable, and especially since it is the provinces that have the responsibility  over housing.

Time to Break the Glass

Now lets talk a bit about the Bank of Canada ‘s recent report on Canada’s productivity. Boy does the truth hurt! We are now the least productive of all the G7 countries, but yet were are the most educated and work more hours. The BOC cites labour skills mismatch, competition and investment in tools. This reports analysis how efficiently a country using their work force. 


CPI Inflation rate is down to 2.8%; March’s info is due out April 16th. But this reduction in inflations goes to support a greatly anticipated mortgage rate reduction in the coming months by the Bank of Canada. 


The Bank of Canada warns that Canada is in a “in case of emergency, break the glass” situation. The solutions that the Bank of Canada has in mind have as much to do with encouraging private enterprise, as with government reducing red tape, encouraging competition, matching skills to jobs, especially for new Canadians and providing the right tools for our workforce to attain peak productivity. 


So Let’s Talk About March’s numbers.

Let’s dive into what’s been happening in Nova Scotia’s real estate world this past March.   Overall it’s looks like a standard start to a spring market, with a gentle uptick in a number of areas. As much as we want to shock  the market to life with hold on to your hats headlines, the real estate data shows its’ not falling for that and is going the slow and steady route. 


Days on Market

Days on market, or how long a property is listed before it gets on offer, is getting faster, or is taking just a few days less, compared to February but taking twice as long to sell compared to selling this time last year. 


Homes are selling for 98.1 % of their original list price for NS as a whole. While in Halifax is back up this past month to 100% The rest of the regions range from 93.8 to 96% with the unusual exception of Cape Breton witch came in at 101.3 for March. 

Months of Supply

Looking at the months of supply, which is the scenario, that if no new listings came on the market, how long would it takes to sell all the homes. Again we are inching are way up to a balanced market, while the remote regions of NS are in a buyers market the Highland area has the most with 8.6 months worth of supply.

Homes for Sale

Currently, there are 2386 homes for sale in NS, which is up 96  from last month and up 24.5% from last year. Halifax only has 14 more listings than they did last month, sitting at 778. Annapolis Valley was up the most, at being up 40 from last month, but up 46.2% and sitting at 481 currently for sale. There is 334 for sale on the South Shore. 359 for sale in Northern Region; Highland Region has 250; Cape Breton is at 109 and Yarmouth is at 99. 

New Listings

The number of new listings is up all across the province, with NS as a whole sitting at 1067, which is approx. 305 more than what got accepted offers, so that is causing the months worth of inventory to increase. 

Year over year, the number of new listings was down all across the province, except for the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore. Annapolis Valley again has the largest increase at 18.5 %.


2023 overall sales were down app. 30%, from 2022, but that was the tail end of covid buying frenzy. Nova Scotia had 761 sales, which as a whole was up 5% from last March numbers and up 140 sales from February.  Considering there are approximately 1800 licensed realtors and only 10-20% do a self sustaining level of business, that means about 1500 agents are finding a huge difference from the covid years. 

Homes Sale Prices

For home sale prices, let’s start with the Yarmouth area down at the southernmost point of NS, where the median home sale price for March was $225,000. This is up $45,000 from last month, but down 6.3% from this time last year.  This is down $5,000 from 2022, but up $20,000 from March 2021.

If you look at the total number of residential listings in this area, 71 of the 99 are priced under the median home sale price for the province of $425,000.  There are 21 priced under the median for this area of $225,000. Making it the area of NS with the most, homes priced below the median selling price. 

For Cape Breton, homes were selling for $210,000 this past month, which is down from last month and down 6.5% from last year. In March 2022, homes were selling for $210,000, but in March 2021, they were sitting at $170,000. That is a 19% increase in 3 years.

As far as affordability, 63% of homes here are priced below $425,000, while 19% are priced below Cape Bretons median home selling price of $210,000.

The Highland Region had homes selling for $256,950, which is down $65,550 and down 7.4 % from 2023.  This price is down $19,000 from 2022, but up approx. 23% from 2021.

69% of this area’s listings sold below the provincial median price, but 37% sold below the area median price of $256,950. 

In the Northern Region, around Truro toward the New Brunswick border, homes sold for $285,000, which is up 30,000 from last month and up 16.4%  from last year. In 2022, that price increased by $19,000, and in 2021, the median price was sitting at $197,000. 

This area has 69% of its listings that sold for below $425,000, and then 34% of its homes sold for below the median sale price of $285,000, making it the top area for affordability in Nova Scotia. 

The South Shore region statistics are always a bit of a miss mash, due to a wide range of property values, from ocean to very rural. The median home sale price here was $365,000. This is down $17,450 from February but up 21.7% from last year. These amounts are up $14,000 from 2022 and up $83,000 from 2021. 

47% of the homes sold in this region sold for below the provincial amount of $425,000, while 37% of the homes sold, sold for under the regional median price of $365,000. 

The Annapolis Valley saw a median price of $345,000, which is a whopping $45,000 increase from February and up 16.2 % from this time last year. This is a $27,000 increase from March 2022, but a $98,000 increase from March 2021. 

This regional saw 51% of the homes sold under the provincial sale price of $425,000, while 32% of their listings sold for under the Annapolis Valley median price of $345,000

The Halifax-Dartmouth area covers a large area on the Atlantic coast, from the Eastern Shore to Queensland. The median home sale price here was $530,000 for the month of March. This was down $20,000 from February and up only 4.1 % from March 2023.  For 2022, the sale [price was down from approximately . $21,000. For March of 2021, this current sold price is up $70,000.

As far as affordability, only 10% of Halifax homes sold for under $425,000, while comparing the sold data to March 2021, there are about 23% that sold for under the HD price of $530,000.


In Conclusion

So basically, the market is returning to pre-covid flow. Not pre-covid home prices. But the stabilization of supply and demand. Sellers are adding to supply with gradually getting their homes listed. The sellers who have priced their homes on the highside and have their homes sitting for sale are adding to the supply as well. 


Meanwhile, buyers are waiting for either home prices to come down, which they won’t, or interest rates to come down ( which they are, slowly), or more selection to come to market. (also coming slowly). 


It is a slow return to market for both buyers and sellers. A drawn out spring market of sorts. Both sides are feeling the pressures of the local and global economies.  Whether it could be job insecurity or the cost of living,. Folks are pushing back at the FOMO and really weighing (or waiting) out options before they make a move.

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