|CMHC Mortgage Insurance|
|CMHC is mandatory for you|
Land Transfer Tax
I am a first-time homebuyer
The Atlantic Canadian province of Nova Scotia is one of the smallest provinces in Canada. With a total area of only 55,284 square kilometers, it covers 0.6% of the total area of Canada (source: Statistics Canada). As per a report by Statistics Canada, in 2022, Nova Scotia’s population crossed the 1M mark for the first time ever. According to the income-based GDP estimates of Statistics Canada, Nova Scotia’s GDP at market prices in 2021 was over $55B, amounting to 2% of Canada’s GDP. In 2020, the median after-tax income in Nova Scotia was $57,500, which was $9,300 below the national median (source: Statistics Canada).
Despite average house prices increasing around 35% in the last three years, Nova Scotia remains a much more affordable housing market compared to Ontario housing market and British Columbia housing market. It is slightly more affordable than the Alberta housing market and Quebec housing market. The average house price in Nova Scotia for the month of November 2022 was $367,104, a 1.9% drop compared to November 2021.
The average house price in the Halifax-Dartmouth area in the same month was $491,978, a striking drop of over 35% from the previous year. This demonstrates how inflated the house prices in the region were prior to the Bank of Canada rate hikes that resulted in increased mortgage rates and subsequent drop in sales activity. The average houses in Nova Scotia qualify for CMHC mortgage insurance and require only 5% down payment if priced under $500,000 or 10% down payment when priced between $500,000 and $1,000,000.
Including the cost of land transfer tax in the province, it is recommended that buyers save at least 3% of the sale price for closing costs. Common closing costs can include:
|Type of Cost||Expected Cost||What is it?|
|Home Inspection||~$500||To discover if there are unknown problems in the property.|
|Title Insurance||~$200||To protect against property disputes.|
|Property Survey||~$450||A survey certificate is required by lenders and your lawyer.|
|Lawyer & Legal Fees||~$1000||Cost to have a lawyer act on your behalf.|
|Estoppel Certificate||~$100||Information about the condo board.|
|Government Registration||~$200||Cost to file official government documents.|
What is known as the land transfer tax in other provinces is called Deed Transfer Tax (DTT) in Nova Scotia. This is what the buyer must pay when a property is purchased by them. Tax amounts are calculated by each municipality, meaning the province doesn't set a flat rate. Nova Scotia's land transfer tax in some of its biggest municipalities are:
|Municipality||Transfer Tax Rate|
For example, if you buy a house worth $300,000 in Halifax, the deed transfer tax would be –
$300,000 x 0.015 = $4,500
From April 1, 2022, non-residents of Nova Scotia are required to pay an increased deed transfer tax. The tax is charged at 5% of the property valuation and was announced with the 2022-23 provincial budget. You are exempted from the increased tax if you become a resident of Nova Scotia within six months of the transaction closing date. This tax applies to foreign nationals and well as Canadian nationals and permanent residents who reside in other provinces.
Effective January 1, 2023, foreign nationals and foreign corporations would be banned from buying real estate in Canada for two years.
In Nova Scotia, the property registry can only be accessed by a real estate lawyer. Thus, it becomes necessary to hire a lawyer when buying real estate in Canada and their fees must be accounted for when you plan to buy a house. The lawyer will help you with the documentation and due diligence so that you are protected against potential fraud. The lawyer will ensure that the deal is in the best interest of the buyer.
Offered by the government of Nova Scotia, the First-Time Homebuyer Rebate Program gives an 18.75% rebate, up to $3,000, on the provincial portion of the HST paid on the purchase of a new home. To be eligible for the program, the buyer must qualify as a first-time buyer in Canada and make the purchased home their principal residence.
First-time homebuyers in Nova Scotia can get an interest free loan up to 5% of purchase price of the home towards down payment through the Nova Scotia Down Payment Assistance Program. To be eligible, the household income must be less than $145,000 and the applicant should have resided in Halifax for at least 12 months. In addition, the home price should be less than:
With modest housing prices and rental rates, the average cost of living in Nova Scotia is very reasonable compared to larger provinces such as Ontario or British Columbia. Especially when it comes to food costs, Nova Scotians spend the least on food in Canada, at $303 per month. This compares to the Canadian average of $344 per month. On the contrary, Nova Scotia has some of the highest power costs in Canada, with a cost of 17.1 cents per kilowatt hour (KWH). This compares to the Canadian average of 13.8 cents per KWH.
Despite the inflation rate in Canada having reduced by 0.1% from October 2022 to November 2022, the inflation rate in Nova Scotia increased to 8.6% compared to the 7.7% in the previous month (source: Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index data). This increase was attributed to consumers having to pay more for fuel oil and other fuels.
Homeowners in Nova Scotia are required to pay property taxes to the city on an annual basis. The taxes cover the expenses of municipal services such as public transit, police, garbage collections, fire department and schools. The property tax rates for some of the major municipalities in Nova Scotia are listed below.
|Municipality||Property Tax Rate|