Back to: January 2020

Renting vs. Owning a Home: What's the Difference?
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Buying a house can be the most rewarding purchase you ever make. However, depending on your current circumstance this may not be your best option. To help make an educated decision, try to answer the following questions first:

1. Do you really want to own your home?
Some would argue that this is the first question you should ask yourself. Homeownership, like everything else, is a matter of choice. Only you can decide whether or not homeownership is important to you. If it is then you may want to re-assess how you spend your money every month.

2. How often do you expect to move in the future?
If you expect to be moving a lot (every couple of years or more) then you probably shouldn't buy your own home. Every time you buy or sell a home you incur significant costs. Unless you get lucky and the value of the home you purchased goes up by at least 10%, you'll be losing money.

3. How stable is your employment situation?
You should only consider buying a home if your employment is stable. Homeownership requires a number of regular payments like the mortgage, property taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc. Missing any of these payments can trigger terrible consequences for a homeowner. Unless your employment is stable, your best option is "renting".

4. Can you afford to make the monthly payments?
When qualifying for a loan, most mortgage companies will not allow your housing costs to be more than 33% of your gross income. Housing costs include your mortgage payment, property taxes, utilities, and 50% of condo fees if applicable. If your total debt servicing costs (housing costs plus all of your other monthly debt payments) exceed 40% of your gross income you will not qualify for a mortgage.

How much rent are you paying now? What is the maximum amount you are willing to pay?

If you buy a home, it is important to have some money set aside for "emergencies". You may not be able to save as much money as a homeowner as you did when you were renting, but it is important that you leave some room in your budget. If you have to stretch your budget too far, you should definitely reconsider your home purchase.

5. Do the math
Housing costs can be divided into shelter costs and investment costs. When you rent, you pay your shelter costs, and the landlord pays the investment costs. When you buy, you pay both, which is usually more. Ten years later when you sell the house, you will find that your investment did well and you saved a lot of money by buying.

From a purely financial standpoint, whether you should rent or buy comes down to your monthly budget and the cost of borrowing. If you have the down payment and interest rates are 5% or lower, it makes very little difference whether you rent or buy. At interest rates above 8%, buying will cost you 20% or more than renting.

Although it might seem that you will be spending more money on buying a house than renting, you need to consider your options and priorities. There are many more advantages to purchasing a home over renting.

Buying a house is an investment, and for many people, it is a good one. You can purchase insurance to help you manage any potential risks like fire, earthquakes, and thefts. Remember to take your buying/selling costs into account when considering selling your home. The strength of the real estate market in your area will determine the return on your investment.

Assuming that you can afford the increased costs of owning your home, the question of what's better, renting or buying a house, becomes one of personal preference. There is a certain satisfaction in owning your own home, but only if it is important to you.

If you are only staying somewhere for a short period of time (less than five years), renting is almost always better; the transaction costs of buying and selling houses will definitely make it less expensive just to rent.

For longer periods, buying a house is usually better. Although if you have the discipline to invest the difference between your rent and your potential mortgage and other buying costs in a reasonably high yielding investment, renting might be better. But that’s if you carefully figure out the difference and diligently invest that difference. If you can’t do that then buying is probably the better choice.

Buying a house is usually a sound long term investment as it helps you build equity vs. throwing your hard-earned money away as rent real estate generally appreciates; a house bought today is worth more a few years down the road.



With Compliments of

Michele Vyge-Fraser
Real Estate Agent/ Associate Broker/ CNE®

Red Door Realty
1314 Martello Road
Chapter House
Halifax, Nova Scotia,
T: 902-830-6397

Hello :) Happy August!

Our Nova Scotia Real Estate market continues to be hot! Competing offers are still the norm for good listings and our Sellers Market is continuing to drive prices up. While median prices across HRM show $119,250. and, just looking at Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford, the median selling price for a single family home says $217,750, $350,000 - $450,000 seems to be the range in highest demand. Competing offers are driving prices up 10-15% above list and much more in some cases. Good listings are still in short supply. On the Halifax Peninsula alone there have only been 28 firm single family MLS sales since July 7, though there are currently 17 conditional sales pending and 60 single family active listings. List price continues to matter. If it isn't priced based on the most recent comparable firm sale, there is a good chance that buyers will wait for the seller to adjust the price accordingly. However, once that happens, competing offers seems to become the norm again. 

So where are our prices going? Is there an end in sight for our sellers market? I'm not seeing it yet. Ever curious about the big picture price categories, both locally and across the province,  I ran the MLS sold numbers to when our MLS data was first uploaded to a computerized system... we are still showing less than 4.5% over $500,000. in HRM and less than 3% across the province. With these stats and affordability thresholds it's not hard to see why so many people are considering moving here!  

Across HRM...
  • there are currently 1160 active MLS listings of which 949 are single family.
  • there have been 834 sales firm up since July 7 (median price $119,950.)
  • there are currently 357 conditional sales pending
  • of the 949 current active single family listings, prices range from $32,500 (a real fixer upper/possible tear done in Necum Teuch) to $6,450,000 (a glorious Waterfront Estate in Herring Cove on 115 Gill Cove)

Closer to Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford...
  • there are currently only 392 active single family home listings
  • prices range from $80,000 (another 'real fixer upper or tear down on 8 Yorkshire Avenue in Dartmouth) to $4,995,000 (a beautiful Northwest Arm Estate on 5960 Ingliwood)
  • there have been 393 sales firm up since July 7 (median price $217,750)
  • there are currently 136 conditional sales pending

To date, since January 1, 2020, 614 of the MLS sales across Nova Scotia have sold for over $500,000 of which 134 have sold since July 7, 2020. (128 are in HRM)

Currently, MLS sales over $500,000 account for approximately 2.8% of the 237,442 multi-class MLS sales across Nova Scotia on record and approximately 4.5% of the 237442 multi-class MLS sales across HRM. 

The highest recorded MLS sale in the last 4 weeks?... is $1,889,000 (this property, in Dartmouth, was on the market for 54 days and sold for 94.5% of the list price...)

Curious about any listings or the possibility of selling? If you are ready to get back into the market or to buy your dream waterfrontage cottage or, anytime you know someone else who is, please contact me anytime! 

Happy Summer!

With Gratitude,


Term Posted
6 Months 3.34% 3.30%
1 Year 3.59% 3.04%
2 Years 3.74% 2.89%
3 Years 3.89% 2.79%
4 Years 3.95% 2.95%
5 Years 5.34% 2.69%
7 Years 5.80% 2.99%
10 Years 6.10% 3.04%
Variable Rate 2.90%
Prime Rate ** 3.95%
*last updated: Feb 18,2020

Halifax Mortgage Specialist Bruce Lusby 

(902) 210-0515

Halifax, Nova Scotia - updated Oct 6, 2015


5yr @ Prime - .65% (2.05%)

HELOC @ Prime +.25% (2.95%)

1yr 2.29%
2yr 2.09%
3yr 2.24%
4yr 2.54%
5yr 2.54%
6yr 3.39%
7yr 3.44%
10yr 3.84%

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The material in this publication is provided for your informational purpose only and is not intended to substitute professional advice. If your property is currently listed with a Real Estate Broker, this publication is not intended as a solicitation.