Don’t need an agent? Read this – Posted on Feb 28, 2017
INVESTING IN YOUR FUTURE: WHY BUYING REAL ESTATE IN HALIFAX MAKES SENSE FOR STUDENTS Posted on Feb 17, 2015
If you are considering making a move to Halifax to attend university or college, you are not alone. One third of students enrolled in Nova Scotia’s 11 universities come from out of province, with the majority of those choosing higher education institutions in the province’s capital. Halifax is home to Dalhousie University, University of King’s College, Saint Mary’s University, Mount Saint Vincent University, NSCAD University (Nova Scotia College of Art & Design) and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).
While parents of out-of-towners appreciate Halifax’s friendly, safe vibe and well-regarded schools, students love the variety of nightlife, dining, and entertainment that Halifax has to offer. The handmade cocktails being poured behind the bars at Field Guide or Lion & Bright in the trendy North End, live music acts at the legendary Seahorse Tavern and The Marquee Club, and local pubs like Durty Nelly’s, Gus’ Pub & Grill, or The Old Triangle Irish Ale House provide a scene for every taste. Grabbing dinner with friends? Wasabi House Sushi on Quinpool Rd. is inexpensive, fresh and always lined up for a reason. Date night hot spots include The Bicycle Thief at Bishops Landing overlooking the Halifax Harbour, and Morris East on Morris and Barrington Streets, serving up gourmet pizzas with gluten-free options available. And when parents and family come to to visit, take a break from instant noodles and head to EDNA on Gottingen Street, Agricola Street Brasserie or The Five Fishermen.
Of course there is more going on in Halifax than eating and drinking. Sports fanatics can check out QMJHL hockey with the Halifax Mooseheads and basketball with the Halifax Rainmen at the Scotiabank Centre, and if you would rather be on the court than watching from the sidelines, there are intramural and club teams across the city. If you are looking to get a little culture in your life, Neptune Theatre, Symphony Nova Scotia and the Dalhousie Theatre School put on productions throughout the year, and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS), Eye Level Gallery and Argyle Fine Art showcase local artists.
Now that your social scene has been mapped out, the most important decision of all may be where to live. Halifax has plenty of options, including on-campus dorms, apartment and flat rentals, and condos and houses for sale. When researching their options, many out-of-province students and their families learn that Halifax’s real estate market is considerably more affordable than most urban Canadian centres, while rents can be surprisingly high due to a constant supply of new students looking for accommodations each year. This, combined with record-low interest rates, makes purchasing a property to live in while attending school an attractive investment opportunity.
Take a look at the comparison between average rental prices on Kijiji in secure, clean buildings, located close to schools and average sale prices of comparable condos over the past six months taken from MLS – both in Downtown Halifax and South End neighbourhood (where Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s Universities are located) below:
Renting an Apartment or Flat:
1 bdrm: $1,000 – $1500 / month
2 bdrm: $1400 – $2000 / month
Purchasing a Condo:
1 bdrm @ $250k: $1049.51 + $300 condo fees = $1349.51/month*
2 bedroom @ $400k: $1,679.21+ $400 condo fees = $2079.21/month*
*10% down, variable rate mortgage at 2.85% amortized over 25 years
As you can see, high demand for rentals and Halifax’s affordable real estate market means that purchasing a condo in Halifax’s most desirable neighbourhoods can be as cost-effective (or even less expensive) on a monthly basis than renting, and the buyer pays down $50k – $80k on their property over a 4 year period, versus the renter who pays the same amount to a landlord.
For more information on Halifax’s condo market and finding the right property for a student attending university here, please contact us today.
The New Standard in Luxury: How Halifax’s High-End Condos Are Upping Their Game Posted on Jan 27, 2015
Today’s high-end condo buyer is discriminating, has done their research and expects much more from their new home than a place to hang their hat. While contemporary interior design and high-end finishes have become expected, many of Halifax’s prestige condominiums are taking luxury to a new level.
High-end condos in Halifax have leveraged the latest in modern technology to provide convenience and peace-of-mind. Today’s luxury buildings are outfitted with state-of-the-art electronic security systems, automated controls, and are wired for fibre optic high speed internet and HDTV access.
Technology is also being used to create environmentally sustainable buildings and minimize utility costs for owners. Solar panels, ICF Construction, capturing and re-using hot air and grey water, and energy-efficient appliances and fixtures are a few of the ways that Halifax condos are achieving LEED® Gold and Platinum certification.
Work It Out
Today’s urban dweller takes their fitness seriously. Whether you are a busy professional looking to maximize your time between home and the office, or you prefer a weekend workout without having to brave the winter cold, top-notch fitness facilities are a must. Gone are the days of a cramped room with mismatched weights and a broken treadmill. Luxury condo buildings now offer fully equipped facilities with views of the city, swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, and even yoga and massage therapy studios.
Love to entertain? A high-end condo will leave an impression as your guests can expect to be greeted in the lobby of many luxury buildings by a 24 hour concierge. And, while your stylish new pad will no doubt be an excellent place to host, if you are expecting a larger crowd or looking to take the party outdoors, Halifax’s high-end condos offer plenty of options. Furnished social rooms with kitchen facilities, as well as entertainment lounges including pool tables, big screen TVs and theatre screens offer the perfect space for a chic wine tasting or poker night with the guys. For those warm summer nights, today’s luxury buildings offer landscaped rooftop terraces with stylish touches such as loungers, cabanas, barbecues and gas fireplaces.
These are just a few of the innovative ways that Halifax’s high-end condos continue to offer luxury on par with or exceeding what can be found in major urban centres – and, perhaps best of all, often at a much more accessible investment level. Are you ready for an exclusive living experience in Halifax? Contact us for more information on move-in ready and upcoming options.
Mistakes to Avoid in Financing Pre-Construction Condos Posted on Nov 05, 2013
With all of the upcoming and current new condo developments happening in Halifax, we thought it would be prudent to have Igor Geshelin, our trusted Mortgage Market Professional partner with The Bentley Group at Premiere Mortgage Centre, offer some insight on financing a new condo purchase. Here is what Igor had to say:
Buying into a new construction condo project can be a very exciting opportunity to take advantage of if you don’t accidentally ruin it for yourself. Here is what I mean:
You are buying a pre-construction, or under construction condo… pretty exciting stuff! Between picking out the backsplash and keeping an eye on the constantly changing closing date, one important detail can fall through the cracks: the financing.
When you put together your purchase agreement, you have to meet a financing approval clause, same as if you were buying a regular, already existing and move in ready home. The difference of course is the timeline – instead of closing in 1-3 months, you are looking at 1-3 years. A common misconception is that once you are approved for your mortgage today, that approval is binding through to closing, which is NOT the case as you have to re-qualify if a significant period of time passes before your actual closing date. This means that the mortgage approval that you receive today is essentially worthless in 2 years when you finally close on your new downtown loft.
Why is this important? When it comes time to closing, the lender will have to re-approve you based on market conditions at that time. But the potential issue is much more important than a change in interest rates. If you had made any material changes to your personal financial picture while waiting for your condo to close, you may no longer qualify for a mortgage. This means you wouldn’t get to actually close on your condo; you would lose your deposit and potentially face legal action. If you are under contract to buy a condo that doesn’t fully exist yet, and you decide to change jobs, become self-employed, buy a new car, get an investment loan, max out your credit cards, get married, get divorced, etc., you MUST first talk to your mortgage provider to ensure that you don’t shoot yourself in the foot and end up homeless by virtue of one of these decisions causing you to no longer meet the mortgage qualification criteria.
This is an important consideration when buying any property, but becomes a much more prevalent concern when the timeline between purchasing a property and actually closing on it is quite lengthy as is the case with a new construction project. Many life events can certainly fit into that window of time, and some of them may negatively impact your ability to borrow money.
Purchasing a new construction condo is exciting and has many benefits. By no means is this article saying that you must put your life on hold while you are in this process – just make sure you consult with your mortgage professional before making any decisions.
To learn more about financing strategies for your condo purchase, or any other mortgage questions for that matter, give Igor a call (902-441-6493) or shoot him an email (igor.geshelin@
More New Development For The North End Posted on Oct 29, 2013
Harris East is soon to be the newest condo development coming to the North End. Bringing more places to live in this great neighbourhood.
Atlantic Developments will build “Harris East”, 56 condo units on the corner of Harris and Maynard Streets. The condos will be directed toward first time buyers between 25-40 and be made up of mainly bachelor and one bedroom condos with a few two bedroom spaces on the top floor with higher ceilings. The building will include underground parking and a rooftop common space and balconies on most units. Atlantic Developments has experience in the neighbourhood, having built and sold “Theatre Lofts” on Gottingen in recent years.
If you have questions or comments about this building or any other questions about buying or selling condos in Halifax, contact us here.
Downtown Condo Pre-construction Update Posted on Oct 10, 2013
There are a number of new and exciting downtown condo buildings popping up on the market here in Halifax. Interestingly many of these condos or mixed use buildings are projected to near completion around the same time. Here is the quick rundown of what’s happening in condo news downtown:
This new development is proposed by Toronto developer Urban Capital as the South End’s first loft-style condos. Located between the Atlantic Superstore and Tim Hortons at the southern end of Barrington street. The condos are expected to be directed toward condo buyers with prices starting in the low $200,000.00’s.
The existing Roy Building at 1650 Barrington street is slated to be razed to the ground beginning sometime in the coming months. The building will be Barrington’s first luxury condo high-rise featuring 24/7 concierge services, year round pool facilities, rooftop cabanas, fitness centre and ultra high-end finishes not to mention unobstructed views of Citadel Hill and Halifax Harbour. These condos are expected to start in the $500,000.00 range and up from there. The Roy will be a 22 story mixed use building with retail and commercial space as well as condos. The Roy condominium complex is one of a few developments in the downtown that will be allowed the height of 22 stories as Halifax By Design no longer allows buildings of this height. The developer, Starfish Properties, who own many buildings along Barrington street, has already begun to help with the revitalization of downtown with their reconstruction of the old Sam The Record Man building.
It is interesting to note that these new developments are expected to be complete around 2015 when the Nova Centre is expected to be completed. It will be a long couple of years for traffic, but Halifax will feel like a whole new city when it is all complete!
If you have any questions or info to add, please feel free to contact us!
Do I Really Need To Have A Condo Inspected? Posted on Sep 25, 2013
We all think that a condo is a safe bet because know that condo fees cover exterior and common area maintenance so we shouldn’t need to get an inspection, right? This question often comes up when I talk to clients who are looking to save a few bucks when it comes to closing costs, but a proper inspection can often bring to light issues that are worth having a professional opinion on. I thought it would help to ask a home inspector what he thought about inspecting condos before committing to buy. Glen Strang is one of our trusted partners and the owner of Amerispec Inspection Services who have been in business since 1995, this is what he had to say:
A condominium is a building like any other home that has repair and maintenance requirements. A qualified home inspector will give you information regarding the condition of the dwelling unit and its major systems, including the performance of the electrical, heating and plumbing systems in the unit.
Defects in structural components with the building overall can also often be detected through an inspection of the interior of the unit itself. This process can potentially alert the purchaser to any major repairs or replacements that will be necessary in the near future. A deteriorated common element such as the roof or siding that has resulted in leakage to the interior of a unit dwelling can mean that a large portion of the money that has been saved in the reserve fund may soon be required. This situation can result in the potential for a ”special assessment” or an increase to a unit owners monthly condo fees for a period of time, based on their percent- age ownership in the corporation.
The home inspection is also a useful process to help educate the purchaser on the importance of regular maintenance such as ensuring that seams in the bathrooms that are prone to water penetrations are kept well sealed. A home inspection will also advise a purchaser on the benefits of performing regular maintenance to appliances such as Heat Recovery Ventilators. A properly maintained ventilation system will help to promote positive air quality in the dwelling itself as it is designed to maintain acceptable humidity levels within the unit.
If you have any questions about condo inspections, or any other home inspection questions for that matter, don’t hesitate to contact Glen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 902-469-1119.
As always if you are looking to buy or sell a condo feel free to contact us.
5 Things to Look Out for When Purchasing a Condo Posted on Sep 16, 2013
2. Are there any special assessments being considered for this condo?
If you are in the market for a condo, you should be considering the condo fees, if you are not aware of this, or need more info on what they are click HERE to get caught up. There are some other things that you need to keep your eyes open for. Generally speaking, in Halifax the condo doc’s are sent over after an offer is accepted. This package should contain many things, among them should be the last few condo meeting minutes, at the very least the last meeting’s minutes. These are important reading as they should discuss any special assessments that may have recently been carried out or (more importantly) WILL be carried out in the near future. If there is a special assessment, it can affect you greatly as they can be as high as $15K a year and can be paid for multiple years above and beyond the regular condo fees. It is not uncommon to ask a seller to pay them out before closing, but that isn’t always possible, so you must be aware of this.
3. Do the condo bylaws exclude me from living the way I want?
So you have found a condo you love in a location that’s perfect and your Buyer’s Agent assures you that a new Eaton Centre isn’t going up directly in front of your floor to ceiling windows, there’s even a little park down the street for Linus your pitbull-sheltie mix who loves to run in circles. This is where the contents of those by-laws become quite interesting; they should say something about if dogs are allowed or not. Most buildings allow dogs, but might only allow them at the discretion of the condo board or up to a certain weight. You can be fairly certain that they will exclude American Staffordshire Terriers.
4. Is the condition of the condo something that I can live with?
People sometimes make the mistake of buying a condo that needs more upgrades than they can handle, it is uncommon with my clients due to my sage wisdom and guidance, however I have heard of it happening. The client loves the space, but the kitchen needs to be opened up, and all the counters replaced, and the bathroom needs a total makeover. We see a lot of home reno shows these days, but be aware that a kitchen or bathroom reno is not cheap and is not for the faint of heart; it will take longer than you think and cost much more than you think. When you buy a place, you should almost always expect to have to paint and a good mortgage broker can often get you a purchase plus improvement deal to allow for the necessary renos. All this being said, if the place you are looking at needs a new everything, are you willing and able to do the work, or should you just keep looking until you find something that suits a little better?
5. If you can, buy two bedrooms
Even if it’s just you or you and your significant other, the extra space will be needed someday, either as a place for a friend when they come to visit or to crash when you are in the dog house. The extra space will allow you to live there comfortably a little longer and two bedrooms can tend to sell a little quicker than one bedrooms.
If you have any questions or comments about what you see here or anywhere on our site please feel free to contact us here.
Halifax Condo Market Update 2nd Quarter 2013 Posted on Jul 03, 2013
Halifax Condo Market Update 2nd Quarter 2013
Figure 1 – All data based on MLS® statistics for areas 1 – 40 which encompass all of HRM.
Figure 2 – All data based on MLS® statistics for areas 1 – 40 which encompass all of HRM.
The Halifax condo market is still experiencing a slowdown in both average price and the number of sales. Average price for the 2nd quarter decreased by 1.1% and the number of sales dropped 25% compared to the second quarter of 2012. This trend is no different with single family homes and investment properties in HRM. All markets in HRM are experiencing a slowdown. The summer market is generally a slow time in the real estate market in HRM. We anticipate sales and price could increase in the fall of this year.