New Brunswick loses status as Canada's most affordable province to buy a house

·3 min read
Housing markets in New Brunswick remain tight.  Homes under construction like these on Rockingstone Drive in Saint John are often sold before they are built. (Robert Jones/CBC News - image credit)
Housing markets in New Brunswick remain tight. Homes under construction like these on Rockingstone Drive in Saint John are often sold before they are built. (Robert Jones/CBC News - image credit)

Soaring real estate prices over the last three years have cost New Brunswick its status as the cheapest province in Canada to buy a house.

That title now belongs to Saskatchewan.

According to data compiled by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and released last month, the calculated benchmark price of a home sold in New Brunswick in April, including houses, townhouses and condominiums, reached $313,700.

That is 34.2 per cent higher than one year earlier and nearly double prices in the province from three years ago.

Robert Jones/CBC News
Robert Jones/CBC News

New Brunswick home sales in 2022 have not been as frenzied as in 2021 with deals running about 17 per cent below last year's record levels but most everything that is listed is selling and prices have remained strong, according to Saint John real estate agent Marcus Power.

"The number of buyers have slowed down, but there's still multiple offers on every listing," said Power.

"I'm writing offers that are getting turned down every day."

Robert Jones/CBC News
Robert Jones/CBC News

New Brunswick's housing market became energized during the COVID-19 pandemic with thousands of Canadians moving east in search of cheaper housing, more space or a different lifestyle.

Thousands of immigrants also arrived from abroad generating the most significant population growth in the province in more than 40 years.

Statistics Canada now estimates 804,000 people are living in New Brunswick, up 31,000 in the last three years.

The influx created an intense demand for housing that has driven up both the cost of owning a house and renting an apartment.

Google Street View
Google Street View

Prices are up in all corners of the province, but most sharply in the Moncton area where the benchmark price of a detached single-family home in Dieppe in April hit a record $480,000. That's up $128,000 over last year.

"Upward price pressure remains steady," said Mike Power, the president of the Greater Moncton Realtors in a news release about record prices in southeastern New Brunswick.

"Market conditions are still a long way from achieving balance in our region."

There are still bargains in the province.

Prices in Northern New Brunswick are running 35 per cent below provincial averages, although those too have jumped significantly in the last three years.

Ed Hunter/CBC News
Ed Hunter/CBC News

According to CREA data, the overall benchmark selling price of a home in New Brunswick three years ago in April 2019 was $172,200. It was the cheapest among provinces by a significant margin at the time and well below Saskatchewan, which had a benchmark sales price for homes of $258,900.

However, this April saw prices in New Brunswick jump $141,500 from three years ago and at $313,700 have now caught and passed prices in Saskatchewan, which now has the cheapest house prices among provinces at $295,000.

Home prices in New Brunswick are still the cheapest in Atlantic Canada however, and remain less than half  the national average.

In Canada the benchmark selling price of a home in April was $746,146.

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