The mortgage loan rates in Halifax are currently the lowest in the province, according to data provided by the Nova Scotia Mortgage Insurance Corporation.
“We are in the lowest mortgage rates in the country,” said Scott Hargrave, director of the agency.
“And that is because the rate is actually low for the vast majority of Canadians.”
The Halifax area has one of the highest home sales prices in Canada and one of Canada’s highest rates of home ownership, but the average monthly payment for new homes in Halifax is just $4,500, according a report from the National Association of Realtors.
That’s well below the national average of $5,850, according the NAR.
Hargreaves said the low interest rates are due to the fact that Halifax is the only city in the region where rates are below the Canadian average.
Halifax, which is home to the country’s largest airport, is also one of only a handful of Canadian cities with a low average mortgage rate.
Halifax’s average monthly mortgage payment is $3,834, according with NAR data.
“What we’re trying to do is to get as many people into that market as possible, and we think that that is really important,” said Hargrey.
In 2016, the average cost of a new home in Halifax was $1,946, according NAR figures.
A comparison of average monthly loan payments for the top 30 cities shows the average mortgage payment in Halifax to be just $3.40 per month.
The median monthly payment in the Halifax area is $1.35 per month, according CBC News figures.
“When you look at that, it is really, really high,” said Jeff Boulware, vice president of finance and risk at Halifax Real Estate Board.
BoulWare said the Halifax region’s affordability is important because it is home not only to a large airport but also to many young professionals who want to live close to work, play and shop.
He said there are plenty of places in Halifax that offer low-cost housing, such as affordable apartments, and it’s important for those people to be able to afford the cost of housing.
“People in this city, and particularly in the downtown, are very, very willing to pay that price,” said Bouleware.
Halifax has been struggling to maintain affordability, with prices in some parts of the city soaring.
Prices have been rising in recent years, and Boulouse said a number of factors are to blame.
“The economy has been pretty good for the last couple of years, but it’s just a question of keeping it up and keeping the housing market in line.”
According to Boulouses research, only three cities in Canada have higher home prices than Halifax: Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
But he said there’s still a long way to go in bringing down the price of housing in the city.
“There are still many, many more affordability issues that we have to deal with before we can really get there.”
With files from The Canadian Press