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.