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Located on the east coast of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is the least densely populated province in the country. At over three times the size of the Maritime Provinces, and with 29,000 km of coastline, Newfoundland and Labrador has plenty of space to explore. From iceberg viewing to hiking, to whale watching and birdwatching, the province is rich in wildlife both on land and at sea.
Newfoundland and Labrador is the seabird capital of North America, being home to over 35 million seabirds. The famous Atlantic puffins can be found in Witless Bay Ecological Reserve near St. John's, while the province also has some of the largest populations of bald eagles in North America.
For those looking for an adventure out on sea, Newfoundland and Labrador is world famous for its fantastic whale watching, with the world's largest population of humpback whales feeding on the province’s shores between May and September. Icebergs also pay the province a visit every year, appearing between April right through to July. If you're looking to experience the province's famous icebergs, seabirds, and whales all at one go, the best time to visit would be in July.
Newfoundland and Labrador aren’t part of the Maritime Provinces, but are instead considered to be part of Atlantic Canada. That's because the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI) were referred to as the Maritimes well before Newfoundland joined confederation and became a province in 1949. Labrador was only added to the province’s name in 2001, changing from just Newfoundland prior to 2001 to Newfoundland and Labrador. The Newfoundland Dog and the Labrador Retriever are the province's official dog breeds, while the pitcher plant is the province’s official flower. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the sales tax is 15%.
Labrador largely follows Atlantic Standard Time (AST), while Newfoundland is in a different time zone that is 30 minutes ahead, in Newfoundland Standard Time (NST). Saint-Pierre and Miquelon can be found off the south coast of Newfoundland, and is an overseas territory of France. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon follow Pierre & Miquelon Standard Time (PMST), which is 30 minutes ahead of Newfoundland Standard Time and one hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon use the Euro and you will need to go through Canadian Customs, however, Canadians do not need a passport to visit the overseas territory.
Gander had the largest airport in the world in the 1930's, and became one of the busiest in the world in the 1950's. After stopovers for transatlantic commercial flights became a thing of the past, Gander now caters mainly to private flights, with 20% of transatlantic business jets stopping at Gander.
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is split into two: Newfoundland is an island, while Labrador is part of the mainland. While Newfoundland is the most populated area of the province, Labrador is three times the size of the island of Newfoundland. In Newfoundland, you'll find the capital city of St. John's, which is also the province's largest city and the most easterly city in Canada. In 2020, St. John's metro area had a population of 214,014.
Other large cities and towns in Newfoundland include Conception Bay South, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander, and Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. Happy Valley-Goose Bay is the largest town on the mainland of Labrador with a population of 8,109, while Labrador City is the second largest town in Labrador with a population of 7,220.
There are two ferries to Newfoundland, both out of North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Seasonal service from June to September is available to Argentia, just a 90 minutes’ drive from St. John's, with the ferry crossing taking 15 hours. For year-round ferry service, the ferry to Port aux Basques takes six hours, with the drive to St. John's taking another nine hours. The drive to get from the ferry to St. John’s is longer than the drive from Toronto to Quebec City!
Getting to and driving within Labrador is particularly challenging. To get to Labrador from Newfoundland, you'll need to take a ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland to Blanc Sablon, Quebec. The drive from Quebec to Labrador takes eight hours, part of which is on gravel roads, with limited cell phone service and gas stations.
Due to Newfoundland and Labrador’s vast size, there can be geographic limitations on which mortgage lender you can use based on which lender has available branches nearest to you. That's why using a mortgage broker can be particularly useful, as they can help connect you to Newfoundland mortgage lenders and help you find the best mortgage rate.
Mortgage brokers include nationally operating ones, such as Dominion Lending Centres, Centum, Mortgage Architects, IntelliMortgage, Invis, First National, and Verico. Others include Nesto, A Plus Mortgage Group, and Dream Escape Mortgage Brokers.
The Financial Services Regulation Division of Digital Government and Service NL regulates mortgages and real estate in the province. There are 71 licensed mortgage brokers in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are also 78 licensed real estate brokers and 636 licensed real estate agents (real estate salespersons) in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Registered Newfoundland mortgage brokers include:
Many Newfoundland mortgage brokers are based in the capital city of St. John’s, but many mortgage brokers also operate throughout the province.
There are nine credit unions in Newfoundland and Labrador with 36 branches and a total of 61,157 members. The Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC) of Newfoundland and Labrador insures eligible deposits, up to $250,000 per deposit type, at Newfoundland and Labrador credit unions.
Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union is the largest credit union in Newfoundland and Labrador with 12 branches and over 20,000 members. The second largest credit union is Eagle River Credit Union, followed by Leading Edge Credit Union.
|Credit Union||Number of Branches||Locations|
|Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union (NLCU)||12|
Freshwater Road, St. John’sWater Street, St. John’sTorbay Road, St. John’sMount PearlConception Bay SouthCarbonearClarenvilleGanderGrand FallsCorner BrookStephenvilleLabrador City
|Eagle River Credit Union||6|
L’Anse au LoupMary’s HarbourSt. AnthonyPort Au ChoixDeer LakeHappy Valley - Goose Bay
|Leading Edge Credit Union||5|
Corner BrookDoylesJeffrey’sSt. GeorgesPort Aux Basques
|Venture Credit Union||4|| |
|Hamilton Sound Credit Union||3|
Carmanvlle (Gander Bay)Triton (Green Bay)Gander
|Community Credit Union||3|
|Public Service Credit Union||1||St. John’s|
|Reddy Kilowatt Credit Union||1||St. John’s|
|EasternEdge Credit Union||1||Mount Pearl|
Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union (NLCU) is the largest credit union in the province with 12 branches and 20,000 members. In 2020, NCLU had $398 million in outstanding residential mortgage loans and $42 million in commercial mortgages and loans.
In 2020, NCLU's weighted average interest rate of outstanding mortgages was 3.22%. In 2020, NCLU's weighted average mortgage rate was 3.35%. Personal loans interest rates also fell, from 6.10% in 2019 to a weighted average of 5.29% in 2020. For commercial loans, the weighted average interest rate was 4.73%, down from 5.68% in 2020. In 2020, just about half of NCLU's mortgages were uninsured, with half being insured mortgages. $219 million were uninsured, while $203 million were insured.
NCLU offers variable rate mortgages and fixed rate mortgages, with terms from 6 months to 7 years. NLCU's FastTrack CASHBACK Mortgage gives up to 5% cash back for a 5-year closed term, while the Energy-Efficient mortgage provides a 10% CMHC insurance premium refund for eligible homes.
Formed after BMO left L'Anse-au-Loup, Labrador in 1984, Eagle River Credit Union moved into the old BMO branch, and has since expanded to six branches in Newfoundland and Labrador. Eagle River Credit Union requires a higher share requirement than most other credit unions in Canada, at $100.
Today, Eagle River is the second largest credit union in Newfoundland and Labrador, having 12.40% market share. In 2020, Eagle River Credit Union had $58 million in outstanding residential mortgages and $14 million in commercial mortgages. Most of the credit union’s mortgages are administered by League Savings and Mortgage Company, part of Atlantic Central.
When including loans, mortgages, and lines of credit, Eagle River's average variable interest rate in 2020 was 5.08%, a decrease from the average variable interest rate of 6.11% in 2019. For fixed interest rates, the average in 2020 was 4.25%, lower than average fixed interest rate of 4.47% in 2019.
Eagle River only offers mortgages with a term of up to five years. Eagle River's prime rate is 2.95%, which is higher than most major banks.
Finding the best mortgage lender can start with comparing the best Newfoundland and Labrador mortgage rates online. Canada’s Big Banks all have branches in Newfoundland and Labrador, including RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC, as well as others, such as HSBC.
For those looking for a more flexible Newfoundland mortgage lender, such as if you're not able to pass the mortgage stress test, then one of Newfoundland's many credit unions is an alternative. Credit unions can also offer competitive Newfoundland mortgage rates, and may offer promotions such as cashback on mortgages or insurance premium refunds for certain home types.
Atlantic Canada has had historically low housing prices compared to the rest of the country. Newfoundland’s low cost of living is due in part to the province’s high unemployment rate and weak economy, making it a challenge for new home buyers from other provinces in terms of job prospects.
Even so, Newfoundland and Labrador wasn't left out from surging demand from home buyers in 2020 that swept across much of Canada's housing market. Persistently low Newfoundland mortgage rates have helped to boost home sales in the province. In 2020, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Realtors (NLAR) found that the number one reason for home buyers looking to buy a house was due to record-low Newfoundland mortgage rates, with some thinking of it to be "free money". First-time home buyers and returning Newfoundlanders from other provinces also helped to boost demand for homes in the province.
The record-breaking number of home sales in Newfoundland doubled in June 2021 year-over-year, with the average price of a home rising 11.6% year-over-year to $308,000 according to NLAR. Single-family homes had a benchmark price of $310,800, townhouses had a benchmark price of $267,900, and apartments had a benchmark price of $231,400 in June 2021. The prices of apartments slightly fell from June 2020 to June 2021.
Benchmark home prices in St. John's were slightly lower than the provincial average, at $277,500. Meanwhile, the average price of homes sold in the province in June 2021 was $286,765.
Looking forward, Newfoundland continues to struggle with a dwindling population, with the province's aging population declining by 0.3% in 2020 while net migration was at zero. Newfoundland had among the largest declines in their real GDP growth rate compared to other provinces, and is forecasted to have the lowest GDP growth in 2021.
The province's unemployment rate was 12.3% in 2019 before the pandemic, and increased to 14.1% in 2020. Despite this, Newfoundland and Labrador's average weekly wages was the third highest in Canada, at $1,096 per week. In 2019, the average household income in Newfoundland and Labrador was $78,700, while the average household income in St. John's was $82,400.