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Nova Scotia is known as Canada’s Ocean Playground and is home to 979,449 people. Halifax accounts for just under half of the province’s population and saw tremendous growth in its real estate market towards the end of 2020 and well into 2021.
Nova Scotia saw its highest level of interprovincial migration in 37 years in early 2021, as Ontarians rushed into the province looking for more space and cheaper housing prices. According to the Government of Nova Scotia, the province gained 1,870 interprovincial migrants in Q1 2021, of which 1,080 were from Ontario, 174 from British Columbia, and 171 from Alberta, a net gain record not seen since 1984. Most newcomers settle down in Halifax-Dartmouth.
It's the hope of many that these new residents can help to support Nova Scotia's aging population. With a median age of 46 years, Nova Scotia has an older population than most other provinces, and is a far stretch from a median age of 29 years in 1981 and 33 years in 1991. However, there are worries that Torontonians flooding into Halifax will push local residents out of Halifax’s housing market, as home prices continue to rise in Nova Scotia.
|Lender||Number of Branches in Nova Scotia|
|East Coast Credit Union||21|
|Credit Union Atlantic (CUA)||8|
|Valley Credit Union||7|
|Coastal Financial Credit Union||6|
|Victory Credit Union||4|
|Community Credit Union of Cumberland Colchester||3|
|Sydney Credit Union||3|
|Glace Bay Central Credit Union||2|
|Cape Breton Credit Union||2|
|New Ross Credit Union||2|
|Caisse populaire de Clare||2|
|Provincial Government Employees Credit Union||1|
|iNova Credit Union||1|
|North Sydney Credit Union||1|
|Dominion Credit Union||1|
|LaHave River Credit Union||1|
|St. Joseph's Credit Union||1|
|Nova Scotia Teachers Credit Union (Teachers Plus Credit Union)||1|
|New Waterford Credit Union||1|
|Acadian Credit Union||1|
|Princess Credit Union||1|
There are 72 mortgage lenders in Nova Scotia that are licensed as of May 2021. This large number of mortgage lenders all help to keep Nova Scotia mortgage rates competitive and give choices for borrowers to choose from when buying a home in the province. The Bank of Nova Scotia, also known as Scotiabank, was established in Halifax in 1832. The other Big Banks, including RBC, TD, BMO, and CIBC, all also operate in Nova Scotia. National Bank does not have any branches in Nova Scotia.
Mortgage Lenders in Nova Scotia are required to have a Mortgage Lender Permit issued by the provincial government under Nova Scotia's Mortgage Brokers’ and Lenders’ Registration Act, with the permit having to be renewed each year.
Other major mortgage lenders in Nova Scotia, including B-lenders, mortgage brokers, and private lenders, are alternative mortgage lenders to the major mortgage lenders, and they can offer competitive Nova Scotia mortgage rates.
Smaller regional Nova Scotia mortgage lenders and private mortgage lenders are more local options for borrowers to choose from.
There are 28 credit unions in Nova Scotia that are regulated by the Nova Scotia Office of the Superintendent of Credit Unions. Of them, 23 are insured by the Nova Scotia Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (NS CUDIC). NS CUDIC covers up to $250,000 of eligible deposits. East Coast Credit Union is the largest credit union in Nova Scotia, followed by Credit Union Atlantic.
Nova Scotians applying for a mortgage at a Nova Scotia credit union will not need to pass the federal mortgage stress test. Nova Scotia credit unions also offer low Nova Scotia mortgage rates with flexible mortgage products, such as No Down Payment Mortgages.
There are 21 credit unions that are licensed to provide mortgage loans in Nova Scotia. The following 21 credit unions are licensed to provide mortgage loans in Nova Scotia:
East Coast Credit Union is Nova Scotia’s largest credit union. With 21 branches, from Halifax to Antigonish, Dartmouth to Mabou, East Coast Credit Union has branches in towns and villages all over Nova Scotia's East Coast. East Coast Credit Union contributed $805,667 in 2020 to local organizations, including to charities and local businesses.
An enticing product is East Coast Credit Union's No Down Payment Mortgage. With this no down payment mortgage, East Coast will either lend you your down payment, up to a down payment loan of 5%, or cover your closing costs by giving up to 5% cash back. This is combined with their Cash Back Mortgage, which provides up to 7% cash back on closing day for residential properties. Your borrowed down payment is then paid off using this cash back amount.
Features of East Coast's traditional mortgages include amortizations of up to 30 years, the option of having property taxes collected through your mortgage payment, and up to 20% annual mortgage prepayment limits.
For newcomers to Canada, East Coast's Newcomers Program helps you build your credit score by providing a credit card with a $500 limit, along with one year of no monthly banking fees. East Coast Capital also offers mobile home mortgages, HELOCs, and purchase plus renovation financing.
As Nova Scotia's second largest credit union with eight branches and 20,000 members, Credit Union Atlantic mission is to deliver a “wow” banking experience. CUA has a variety of unique mortgage products, such as their Foreign Resident Mortgage and No Down Payment Mortgage.
Credit Union Atlantic's Foreign Resident Mortgage is focused on international post-secondary students looking to purchase a home while studying. CUA's Foreign Resident Mortgage is designed to allow foreign residents not in Canada to purchase a home for an immediate family member, such as a child, that is attending a Nova Scotia school. This foreign resident mortgage requires a minimum down payment of 35%, with a maximum allowed mortgage amount of $600,000. Borrowers will also need to keep 12 months worth of mortgage payments and property tax payments in a separate CUA savings account as collateral.
With CUA's No Down Payment Mortgage, borrowers can purchase a home with no down payment savings required. CUA will lend you up to 5% as a loan or line of credit to use as down payment. On closing day, you can receive up to 5% cash back on your mortgage to be used to pay off your borrowed down payment. This means that you don't need a down payment saved up at all to purchase a home.
For CUA's cash back mortgage which cannot be used as down payment, you can receive up to 7% or $25,000 cash back on closing day. Other unique mortgages include CUA's mobile/modular home mortgage.
Based in the Annapolis Valley on Nova Scotia's West Coast, Valley Credit Union looks to put "people over profits". Just like Nova Scotia's major credit unions, Valley Credit Union also offers a No Down Payment Mortgage through Valley Credit Union's Borrowed Down Payment Program. Valley's Cash Back Mortgages provide up to 5% cash back, while their Second Home & Cottage Mortgage can be used for second homes or investment properties.
Valley Credit Union has branches in Waterville, Bridgetown, Greenwood, Middleton, Canning, Hantsport, and New Minas.
Mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders in Nova Scotia are governed by Nova Scotia's Mortgage Brokers’ & Lenders’ Registration Act. For personal loans, lenders and loan agents are regulated by the Consumer Protection Act.
Consumer Reporting Agencies, namely Equifax and TransUnion Canada, are regulated by the Nova Scotia Consumer Reporting Act. Collection Agencies are regulated by the Nova Scotia Collection Agencies Act.
|Type||Governing Provincial Legislation|
|Mortgage Brokers’ & Lenders’ Registration Act|
|Lender||Consumer Protection Act|
|Consumer Reporting Agency||Consumer Reporting Act|
|Collection Agency||Collection Agencies Act|
Source: Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services
Halifax housing prices have increased extraordinarily over the past ten years, rising from an average price in 2011 for a single-family detached home at $304,000 to $529,000 in 2021, for a 74% price gain over 10 years. Interestingly, Halifax condo prices outpaced the price growth of detached homes, as the average condo price in 2011 of $201,000 increased by 88% to $379,500 in 2021.
As more and more homeowners look to purchase in rural areas, the Halifax-Dartmouth housing market slightly underperformed the rest of the province in 2021. The average home price in Halifax-Dartmouth increased 32.4% year-over-year in the first half of 2021, the lowest year-over-year change of the province's regions.
Cape Breton saw a 40.1% price increase year-over-year, the Highlands of Pictou, Antigonish, and Gusboroigh saw a 36% increase, Annapolis Valley had a 37.5% increase, the South Shore including Shelburne and Queens saw a 52% increase, and Yarmouth saw an impressive 55% increase.
While housing prices in Nova Scotia continue to increase, the average household income of Nova Scotians have stagnated. The average value of a new Nova Scotia mortgage increased from $174,000 in 2012 to $213,000 in 2021, a 22% increase. Meanwhile, the average Nova Scotia household income of homeowners went from $92,600 in 2012 to $93,800 in 2019, a 1.3% increase.
In Halifax, the average value of a new Halifax mortgage increased from $207,000 in 2012 to $245,000 in 2021, a 18% increase. The average Halifax household income of homeowners went from $110,400 in 2012 to $109,100 in 2019, a 1.2% decrease. As mortgage payments make up an increasingly larger share of Nova Scotian’s incomes, it’s important for borrowers to compare Nova Scotia mortgage rates and Halifax mortgage rates to make sure that they aren’t overpaying for their mortgage.