HILLSBOROUGH, N.S. — The first thing that comes to mind when you think of the first home you bought is your favourite restaurant.
But in Halifax, it’s the same with many of the properties that have become the envy of the country.
The country has a glut of housing, but a glut that’s slowly building.
Halifax’s housing market has been slowly building up over the past few years, with prices on average rising by 8.5 per cent a year, according to the real estate website Trulia.
The city’s housing stock is so oversupplied that there is little room for homebuyers to make a down payment, and many families in the region have been forced to wait years for a home, often paying upwards of $1 million.
Halifax is the second-largest city in Canada behind Toronto, and the fourth-largest in the country behind Vancouver and Toronto.
The real estate market in Halifax is so saturated that there are homes for sale on a weekly basis that are selling for as much as $4 million.
There’s no shortage of homes for rent in Halifax.
Halifax houses are not only affordable for a middle-class family, but are also becoming a desirable investment, according the city’s chief economist, Chris Bentley.
“We’re seeing the affordability trend that we saw in Toronto, the Vancouver market,” he said.
“It’s a new frontier in the housing market.”
But if you think about it, that’s not surprising.
There are so many condos, townhouses and apartment buildings in the city, but so few houses for sale.
Bentley said that the problem is that the housing supply in the province is so low that it’s difficult to get into the market, especially for a younger person.
“I think the problem for younger families, for people of a lower income, is that there aren’t enough of them,” Bentley said.
That means a younger family could not afford to purchase a home in Halifax because there are not enough houses for them to buy.
The only people who can afford to buy in Halifax are the rich, who can also afford to rent out the houses in their own neighbourhoods.
“I think it’s a generational problem,” Bentley explained.
“You have to be in your mid-30s to buy, and then you can only buy in a certain area.
You can’t buy in the north, or you can’t build up the east side of the city.”
The realty market is not perfect, but Bentley says that there’s enough demand for housing in the community that it is starting to take off.
The average price for a house sold in Halifax in 2016 was $2.9 million.
That’s a huge increase from 2016, when the average price was $1.8 million.
In 2017, the average house price in Halifax was $3.8, a 13.5-per-cent increase.
The median price for an individual home in the Halifax area was $5.1 million, up from $3 million in 2016.
That makes Halifax one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Bentley says the housing crisis in the area has not gone unnoticed by local officials.
The Halifax Regional Municipality’s housing office is a huge player in the market.
It has more than 30,000 employees, which means that it has the ability to provide services to a wide range of clients.
There were over 7,000 housing applications in 2017, and almost 7,600 were approved, according a report by the local economic development agency, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber says that it received nearly 50 applications for home loans in 2017.
Many of the applications came from people looking to buy their first home, and it was the people who got into the housing process that are the ones most likely to benefit from the city becoming more affordable.
“People have been waiting years for housing, and they’re going to have to wait even longer for affordable housing,” said Chamber President Doug MacDonald.
“So we think it will be the case for a lot of people, not just in the short term, but for a long-term, sustainable future.”
But it is not all doom and gloom for the housing sector.
There is a lot more to housing in Halifax than just condos and townhouses.
The province also has a program called Community Housing.
It was launched in the late 1990s, and has been a key contributor to the growth of the housing industry in the Greater Halifax area.
MacDonald said that Community Housing is the only affordable housing program in the world.
“In Canada, we have more than 700,000 units of affordable housing in our community,” he explained.
MacDonald says that Halifax is also one of only two Canadian cities with more than 40 per cent of all of its housing stock being affordable.
That doesn’t mean that every house is going to be available.
The problem, however, is the lack of affordable homes,