In spite of recent price gains incited by immigration to N.S. during the pandemic, Halifax continues to be an affordable real estate option, with prices well below the national average.
The regional municipality of Halifax is home to just under 420,000 residents. Consisting of Dartmouth, Halifax, Bedford and the former Halifax County, it’s one of Nova Scotia’s most populous areas. Known for its vibrant tourism industry, the region is home to many oceanfront and historic lighthouse trails. Alongside its unique art and music scene, it also has a strong academic presence: six of Nova Scotia’s ten university campuses are based in Halifax.
For our 2022 edition of Where to Buy Real Estate in Canada, MoneySense partnered with Zoocasa—a full-service tech brokerage—to bring you a list of the top places to buy property in the Halifax region this year. To find the neighbourhoods offering the greatest value and price growth potential, Zoocasa crunched local real estate data and took a hard look at the buying trends in the area.
If you’re looking beyond the Halifax region, our guide also includes a national ranking of cities and regions, as well as information on the top neighbourhoods in 12 other areas across Canada (just tap or click on the menu above). The rankings are based on data collected at the end of March 2022, and interviews were conducted in March and April. Read about our methodology.
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Where to buy real estate in Halifax Regional Municipality
To view all the data in the table, slide the columns right or left using your fingers or mouse. You can filter or rearrange the rankings by using the search tool or clicking on column headings. You can also download the data to your device by tapping on the Excel, CSV or PDF icons.
How to read the table:
Benchmark price 2021: The composite benchmark price as of Dec. 31, 2021. It represents all property types, including attached and detached homes, townhouses/row units and apartment units. Read about how benchmark prices are calculated.
1-year, 3-year and 5-year growth: The percentage increase or decrease in the composite benchmark price (all property types) over each time frame.
Value, economics and accessibility: Each of these neighbourhood characteristics are scored on a scale of five, with five representing the most value for your money, high levels of income and education, and ease of travel by foot, bike and public transit. To see how we determine these scores, read our methodology.
Children: The neighbourhood’s percentage of households with kids.
With many more Canadians working remotely over the past two years, a large number of former city dwellers have moved to smaller towns and even other provinces. Halifax Regional Municipality has become a popular option for buyers hoping to maintain the city lifestyle at a lower price point.
The benchmark price of a property in the Halifax region hit a record of $401,041 in December 2021, up 28% year-over-year. The region has followed the rest of the country’s meteoric rise in average home prices towards the end of the year, thanks in part to record-low availability of houses on the market. By the end of February 2022, new listings in the area had dipped more than 12% compared to the year before. There continued to be upward pressure on home prices, as the sales-to-new-listings ratio in Halifax hit over 90%.
The region’s future real estate outlook
As of February 2022, demand remained high and homes continued to sell quickly in Halifax. Housing inventory reached 1.9 months—signalling that very few houses were being listed to meet demand. As a result, prices continued to climb at record rates, and they have more than doubled since 2019. Halifax stands out as having the highest benchmark price in Nova Scotia, with the next most expensive area being Annapolis Valley, at $378,122.
Yet the benchmark home price in the Halifax region was $459,200 as of February 2022, 47% lower than the national average. “This is great news for buyers looking for a more affordable market compared to many major cities in Ontario, with many of the same amenities, and some special ones found only in Halifax,” says Lauren Haw, CEO and broker of record at Zoocasa.
However, as Haw notes, “It’s unclear how the already competitive Halifax housing market will be affected as restrictions ease and some employees transition back to the office.”
Former Haligonians may choose to return to the city centre from their new rural respites to cut back on commuting time. And those who relocated from other provinces in search of more affordable housing and an east-coast lifestyle may face similar pressures. Overall, it’s expected that the market will return to a more balanced state as interest rates increase and more houses are put up for sale in the spring and summer.
The region’s top three neighbourhoods
1—Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets
Situated along the isthmus of the Chebucto Peninsula, Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets is a beautiful area located midway between Bedford and Upper Tantallon. Earning the top spot among Halifax neighbourhoods, it also has the most expensive homes of the three on our list. Homes had a benchmark selling price of $579,638 in December 2021. At that time, prices were 22% higher than they were one year earlier, 39% higher than three years earlier and 61% higher than five years earlier. The area has a value score of 3.2 out of 5 and a neighbourhood economics score of 5 out of 5.
Residents of Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets love the small lakes that dot the region, perfect for canoeing or other water sports. The one downside is that some homes aren’t serviced by the municipality and need to run their own water. The neighbourhood has a number of great schools for the 47% of households who have children. The proximity to Bedford means that it’s easy to access amenities not already found in Hammonds Place-St. Margarets. There’s also Glen Arbor Estates, a popular subdivision centered around a golf course that’s perfect for golf lovers. You’ll likely need a car, though. The area has an accessibility score of 0 out of 5.
Spryfield-Herring Cove is a suburban neighbourhood with roots as a fishing community. Its claim to fame is that it’s the North American landing point for some critical transatlantic communications cables. But its overall beauty and access to several popular hiking trails make for more persuasive reasons to move to the area. In December, the benchmark price of a home in Spryfield-Herring Cove was $466,572. Prices were 22% higher than they were one year earlier, 49% higher than three years earlier and 96% higher than five years earlier. That gives the neighbourhood, which has an economics score of 3.7 out of 5, a value score of 4.2 out of 5.
The cove after which Herring Cove is named is a sight to see, with a rocky beach and expansive ocean view—you wouldn’t want to miss the sunsets. There are a number of elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools in the area for the 41% of households who have children. The one notable downside is that Spryfield-Herring Cove has a history of forest fires—though they have decreased in recent years. Because it is a suburban community, the neighbourhood’s accessibility score is unfortunately 0 out of 5.
Cole Harbor used to be a village but is now part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It’s located east of Dartmouth and is named after a local harbour. It comes with easy access to Highway 107 and Highway 111, making it an attractive location. In December 2021, the benchmark price of a home was $466,572. Prices were 16% higher than one year earlier, 18% higher than three years earlier and 28% higher than five years earlier. That gives the neighbourhood a value score of 3.7 out of 5. It has a neighbourhood economics score of 4.3 out of 5.
Cole Harbour has a number of convenient local schools that appeal to the 47% of households who have kids. Residents love the area’s beaches and trails. Some must-see destinations include the Salt March Trail and Rainbow Haven Beach Provincial Park. The area is also a popular tourist destination, thanks to the quaint Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum and Fisherman’s Cove stops. Living in Cole Harbour likely requires a car, however. The neighbourhood has an accessibility score of 0.6 out of 5.