After a blogging buddy started looking for places to buy in Montreal, Saver Spender reached out to a few other members of the blogging community to get a tally of how far your money could go.
My current town isn’t exactly desirable, so I put my hat in the ring for my hometown of Halifax. More people (okay, maybe a few more) can at least locate that on the map – though some of my American readers still might not have a clue where it’s located… it’s in that long narrow province northeast of Maine.
All the same, I thought I’d run through what you can buy in Halifax for specific price points. Now, here is where it gets tricky. Halifax Regional Municipality is relatively sprawling in and off itself, but do I use the old rules (pre-municipality) to draw the borders of Halifax? Anyone familiar with Halifax knows there’s multiple areas of Halifax itself, even before you start drawing in Bedford, Dartmouth, Sackville, Tantallan, etc, etc.
I’ve mentioned this before, but the big difference in the cost of living is mostly housing. Everything else is pretty even when you start comparing. The average home price in Canada is $382,000, and the average price in Nova Scotia is $219,000. Halifax is the capital and largest city-centre with roughly 400,000 people (in the sprawling count). So for those of you in bigger centres you’re probably thinking we’re pretty small potatoes.
So for the purpose of this comparison, we’re staying on the peninsula. Those of you not familiar with Halifax, here’s a map:
The area I bordered is what I limited my search to. It’s called the peninsula. And when you’re bordered by that much water, well… real estate prices are at a premium. Add in multiple universities, the hospitals, the downtown core, and the prices will have you wanting to move out of there are well!
But, before we start looking at price points on the peninsula, I thought I’d show you my home. Remember, I have a home in this area. Well, it’s a 1500 sq ft (+600 sq ft unfinished basement) 3-level, 3-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom condo townhouse just outside the city. When I worked on the peninsula it was a 15 minute drive. That’s not so bad! Oh, and it cost under $200,000.
Unfortunately that doesn’t count because it is just outside my designated zone (it’s still Halifax, but it’s the Mainland, not the peninsula). But I like to think my property is pretty darn nice for the price point. Sure it could probably use a new coat of paint, and I despise the blue back splash in the kitchen, but you live with those things and fix them over time.
I also hit a huge roadblock in the construction of this post… all the pictures require permission on MLS. It seems Halifax is very into that, and unfortunately I didn’t get on that in time… meaning, this post might be pretty dull for anyone not familiar with the area.
Under $250,000 on the Halifax Peninsula
Moving back to the peninsula, I’ll tell you what you can get for under $250,000 first. Down on the peninsula, there are a good amount of condos for sale under $250k. Generally they’re 1 bedrooms with 1 bathroom. There’s a handful of larger condo units (up to 3 bedrooms, 2 baths) and some have even been renovated.
The problem is that they’re nearly all in old buildings. The larger units are in one of the older buildings (it was awesomely luxurious in the 70’s and 80’s), and while some have been renovated, the condo fees are exorbitant. My friend has a 3-bedroom, 2-bath unit that has been beautifully renovated, but her condo fees are more than $850 per month. Those fees are about what I paid for my 1 bedroom apartment back in 2011!
Now, unfortunately as I mentioned before, I cannot show you any pictures for these units because the 20 or so units that came up in this range all have protection on the pictures. There are definitely places you can live for under $250,000, but you especially have to be careful of the condo fees and the state of the unit. If you’re fine with parquet floors (I know a lot of people are vehemently against it for some reason), you won’t have a problem!
Under $500,000 on the Halifax Peninsula
Opening up the price range to half a million is going to open up a lot of the detached housing market outside of the south end. Sure, if you’re down in the south end, you won’t be getting as much as if you move up to the north end, but there are loads of places to choose from. Limiting my search from $250 – $500,000 ended up with over 250 listing on the peninsula, so that’s not even double-counting the 20 or so I had in the first category.
The properties available down in the south end are still condo units – you haven’t reached the threshold to get a freestanding detached home down there. But if you’re willing to cross over to the other side of Quinpool Road, the homes are everywhere. Halifax is an older city, especially on the peninsula, so the homes in central Halifax were mostly built in the 50’s and 60’s. Again that means you need to be careful of what you’re purchasing because homes that old sometimes have skeletons.
Even still, there are many in the $400,000 range in central Halifax that need major work. One of them had a mauve tub. I didn’t even know that was a thing back in the day. They are mostly bigger than 3 bedrooms, but many are still a 1 bathroom set-up.
Under $1,000,000 on the Halifax Peninsula
We’ve now reached the limit where you can get a detached house in the South End of Halifax, close to the universities. There aren’t a lot of options in the $500,000+ range, but the ones that are there are very nice, coming in at close to 4000 sq ft, with four bedrooms and at least 2 baths, with updated interiors. I love old banisters and most of these homes have character. You can also get one kickass condo in this range down in the south end, but if you really want a decent bang for your buck, try going a little bit more north (though not past North St because those properties just aren’t in that price range).
Want a triplex for $600,000? Sure, why not. Everyone is always on about rental units being great for cash flow, and with two 3-bedroom units, and a 2-bedroom basement apartment, why not!? Live in one yourself and rent out the other two. In this price range you really start to get into the income property side of things.
So, if you’re interested in moving to Halifax you can absolutely find a place for under $250,000 – you just have to be willing to deal with old, or small. I think that’s pretty normal on most everyone’s comparison (check out the links below by other bloggers and their city). Of those listed I’d say Halifax is definitely one of the most affordable ones listed. And if you are willing to go out a few kilometers to lengthen your commute, your bang for your buck increases dramatically.
Real Estate Comparison in Other Cities
- Save. Spend. Splurge.: Montreal
- Urban Departures: Toronto
- Financial Diffraction: Halifax
- Money after Graduation: Calgary
- Frugal Portland: Portland
- Broke and Beautiful: New York
- Michelle of Shop my Closet: Denver
- Paul of Don’t Quit your Day Job: Silicon Valley / South Bay Area
- Red Debted Stepchild: Bergen County, NJ
- NZ Muse: Auckland, NZ