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Housing costs continue climb in the Maritimes making affordability ‘real tough’

The average home cost went up by about 20 per cent in Nova Scotia in the past year, now sitting at $365, 692. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

It’s no secret that buying a home poses many challenges, especially in this day and age.

Housing costs are continuing to rise across the Maritimes, according to new numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“Unless you have a very good income, it’s not all that affordable,” said Jim Graham, the executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia.

But it’s especially difficult for first-time buyers, says Shaun Cathcart, a senior economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“It’s really tough. Affordability is suffering. I mean interest rates are still low, but you have to pass the stress test. And there’s also the competition element — even if you could afford the place — that somebody’s going to outbid you.”

Read more: Nova Scotia’s housing plan hailed by non-profits as an ‘impressive’ first step

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The average home cost went up by about 20 per cent in Nova Scotia in the past year. It now sits at $365,692.

In New Brunswick, the cost of a home increased by 32 per cent to a total of $267,000.

Still, both provinces are significantly cheaper for buying a home compared to the national average.

That figure jumped 18 per cent, meaning the average home in Canada will cost you $716,585.

In Halifax, the median sale price is $450,000, said real estate advisor James Dwyer.

“If you’re looking over the last 10 years, it’s definitely the highest median sale price we’ve ever seen.”

Present circumstances indicate a supply and demand issue.

“In October of 2020, we had 900 houses come on the market in HRM. As of right now, at the end of October, we had 390,” said Dwyer.

Read more: New Brunswick housing advocates blast government survey

Dwyer predicts a continued rise in costs over the winter, and a busy spring, too, with interest rates rumoured to climb.

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But he hopes things will eventually even out.

“We should see the median sale price definitely level off over the next couple of years,” he says.

Meanwhile, the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia remains optimistic.

“There’s no quick fix. It’s going to take time. And it’s going to take [assistance from] government,” Graham says. “But as long as everyone understands those are the things we need, we’ll come out on the other end of this.”

A challenging time with the experts hoping the pressure on the market — and buyers — will ease.

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