The number of homes listed for more than $1 million in Nova Scotia has tripled in the last five years as the provincial real estate market heated up.
Some of that increase is due to housing appreciation and more luxury homes hitting the market. Matthew Honsberger, president of Royal LePage Atlantic, says he defines a luxury listing as about three times the market average price.
"[In] Halifax, the average price is around $500,000 roughly, give or take. So you're talking about $1.5 million or over. When you get sort of north of two or $3 million, you're talking what I would describe as ultra luxury for Nova Scotia
A notable example of ultra luxury is the home of Stanley Cup champion Nathan MacKinnon in Enfield, N.S. It's listed for just under $6 million.
The 4,500-square-foot bungalow overlooks Grand Lake. It is located on a hectare of land and boasts three bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, an outdoor in-ground swimming pool and a gym.
"That's certainly a unique scenario," said Honsberger.
"It's pretty rare that you're dealing with someone who is that recognized across Canada and selling a personal residence, right? In representing that sale, some of the cachet there is the ability to say this was his house ... that rarity will add to the value there," said Honsberger.
More $1M+ listings in N.S.
While MacKinnon's house is on the pricier end of luxury properties available to buy in Nova Scotia, there are more homes in the province selling for more than a million dollars.
Data from Point2Homes shows there are three times as many Nova Scotia homes on sale for $1 million or more in 2022 than there were in 2017.
In 2022, there were 4,513 homes available to buy and five per cent (241) were listed for $1 million or more. In 2017, there were nearly twice as many homes for sale (8,580) and only one per cent (80) were listed for $1 million or more.
"The overall price increases in the housing market have most likely contributed to this growth trend even in areas where the local median price is around half the price of a luxury home, like in Nova Scotia," a spokesperson for Point2Homes told CBC News in an email.
In its predictions for 2023 report, ReMax Canada anticipates another seller's market year in Halifax, but noted the luxury market — which has had a recent rise in prices — will cool in 2023.
Luxury market anticipated to cool in 2023
Ryan Hartlen, a broker of record for ReMax Nova in Halifax, says a lot of the price increases relate to properties appreciating over time.
He said rising interest rates and inflation has slowed the market down in general, but it's had a bigger impact on higher-end properties.
"There's a smaller buyer pool for those properties. There's obviously less and less people that can afford those than there would be, say, a $500,000 property, " Hartlen said.
"As far as looking forward to the future, that market always moves more slowly than the mainstream, average price-type market, but I suspect that's going to be impacted more so because just of the financial constraints ... with interest rates the way they are."
Honsberger says one of the biggest challenges in selling a property that's a million dollars or more is that it can take a while to sell — a year to a year and a half.
"You're competing with housing all over North America. If I have $6 million to deploy in a personal residence, I could have a pretty nice home in California, Arizona, Florida, Vancouver, you know, wherever I want," Honsberger said.
Nova Scotia's appeal
Despite competition from the rest of the continent, Honsberger said Nova Scotia has some enticing selling points that make it stand out.
"I think our recreational market has certainly picked up since the onset of the pandemic," he said. "And recreational is everything from someone buying a cabin in the woods to someone who is looking to have a summer residence, kind of a Nantucket, Cape Cod-style summer residence."
Honsberger said the ocean has always been a draw with places like Chester and the rest of South Shore being consistently popular with American and European buyers.
More expensive homes are also popping up around areas with golf courses, he said.
"Cape Breton has been an economically challenged area for a long time, but then you have a world-class golf facility in Cabot Links. The housing popping up around there, even on the resort, are a million dollars plus," he said.
"Fox Harb'r is another golf community in the middle of the province with not much around but houses selling for close to $2 million each in the resort."
More bang for buck
Money also tends to go further in Nova Scotia compared to places like British Columbia.
"The reality has been people coming in from out of province, either migratory buyers from other parts of Canada or new-immigration buyers. They look at that and say, 'That's great value compared to what I've seen in other places or other cities,'" he said.
"So, it's all relative and it's hard for us locals to wrap our heads around sometimes."