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1.55%

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2.37%

5-Year Fixed

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Compare mortgage rates in Halifax.

Halifax borrowers get some of the best mortgage rates in Eastern Canada because of the city’s competitive lending environment. This combination of low rates and reasonable home prices make now a great time to apply for a mortgage, renew your loan, or refinance in Halifax. You can compare the best mortgage rates in Halifax from 75+ Canadian banks and brokers right here at LowestRates.ca.

Variable Rates

As low as

1.55%

Fixed Rates

As low as

2.37%

Cha-ching! Our rates are always lower than the posted bank rates.

Current lowest posted bank rate

2.39%

Conventional vs. high-ratio mortgages: which is cheaper?

There are two different types of mortgages you can get: conventional and high-ratio mortgages.

A conventional mortgage is when you make a down payment of 20% or more on the property’s purchase price. For example, on a $600,000 home, that’s equal to a down payment of at least $120,000.

A high-ratio mortgage is when you make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price. In that case, you must also buy mortgage default insurance, either from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Sagen (formerly Genworth Canada), or Canada Guaranty.

Even though the mortgage interest rates on a Halifax home with a high-ratio mortgage is typically lower than a conventional mortgage, the overall costs will usually be higher because you also have to buy mortgage insurance.

Conventional 5-year fixed mortgage rates vs. high ratio 5-year fixed mortgage rates in Nova Scotia

DateAverage Conventional RateAverage High Ratio Rate
10/20 2.05%1.86%
11/20 1.82%1.59%
12/20 1.82%1.63%
01/21 1.80%1.54%
02/21 1.64%1.43%
03/21 1.93%1.87%
04/21 2.06%1.85%
05/21 2.13%2.20%
06/21 2.20%2.17%
07/21 2.19%2.29%
08/21 2.07%1.77%
09/21 2.02%1.74%

Last Updated: October 1, 2021

Fixed rate vs. variable rate mortgages: which is cheaper?

Before buying a home, you’ll want to do a comparison of mortgage rates in Halifax. When you’re looking for Halifax’s lowest mortgage rates, you’re going to have to choose a lender for your home loan. You’re also going to have to decide between a fixed or a variable rate mortgage.

Fixed mortgage rates in Halifax (and across Canada) are the same for the entire mortgage term, which is typically five years. The rate on a variable rate mortgage will usually change when the Bank of Canada raises or lowers its overnight rate. The typical term for a variable rate mortgage is also five years.

While variable rates tend to be markedly lower than fixed rates, that’s changed in the last year. Now, both variable and fixed rates are nearly identical. However, fixed rates are currently a little lower than variable rates.

In a 2019 report, the CMHC notes that almost seven out of 10 Canadian buyers choose a fixed rate. While it’s unknown how many Halifax buyers choose variable rates for their mortgage, it’s likely that the majority prefer fixed rates.

5-year fixed vs. 5-year variable mortgage rates in Nova Scotia

MonthFixedVariable
10/20 1.94%1.84%
11/20 1.73%1.65%
12/20 1.75%1.62%
01/21 1.71%1.58%
02/21 1.56%1.45%
03/21 1.90%1.42%
04/21 1.96%1.38%
05/21 2.15%1.55%
06/21 2.16%1.57%
07/21 2.22%1.50%
08/21 1.96%1.27%
09/21 1.92%1.27%

Last Updated: October 1, 2021

Factors that affect your Halifax mortgage rate

There are a number of factors that determine whether you get the cheapest mortgage rates in Halifax. Below are some of the factors that lenders look at when they calculate your mortgage rate on a Halifax home.

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Typical mortgage amount in Halifax

With the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors noting that the average sale price of a home in Halifax-Dartmouth reached nearly $400,000 in December 2020, the typical mortgage amount has also increased. On a $400,000 property with a 20% down payment, the typical mortgage amount would be $320,000.

Keep in mind that the total cost of the mortgage will be a lot higher because of the amount of interest paid over the life of the mortgage. If you don’t make a down payment of 20%, you’ll need to get mortgage default insurance. The insurance premium is often added to the balance of the mortgage, meaning the mortgage amount will be larger.

If you make a down payment of 5% (or $20,000), you’ll need to get a $380,000 mortgage. However, the insurance premium is 4% when your down payment is between 5% and 9.99%. On a $380,000 mortgage, the premium is $15,200. That means your mortgage will be $395,200.

Halifax’s housing market and home prices

Before the pandemic, price growth in Halifax’s housing market had been fairly modest. However, that changed as demand for houses soared in the city and throughout most of the country.

The average price of a home sold in Halifax-Dartmouth was $397,378 in December 2020 — a year-over-year increase of 19.4%. And 504 properties were sold that month, which was a 44% increase compared to December 2019. More than half of the properties sold in Nova Scotia were in Halifax-Dartmouth.

While a 19.4% increase sounds like a lot, the South Shore part of the province saw the average price of a home sell for $348,479 in December 2020 — a 44% increase on a year-over-year basis.

Halifax closing costs and land transfer tax

The cost of buying a home also includes a lot of additional expenses that you need to pay before taking possession of the property you buy. These are called closing costs and they typically add up to about 3% to 4% of the purchase price.

Here are some of the common closing costs:

Your closing costs may also include a land transfer tax. In Nova Scotia, this is called a deed transfer tax (DTT) and the rate (which varies from 0.5% to 1.5%) is set by each municipality. The amount payable is calculated based on the property’s sale price. For Halifax residents, the DTT is 1.5%. On a $400,000 home, that’s $6,000.

 

Information for first-time home buyers in Halifax

When looking at bank mortgage rates, Halifax buyers need to shop around and compare the different products each financial institution offers. With a broker, they compare mortgage rates in Halifax for you. Best of all, you don’t have to pay them anything to do the work for you because they’re paid by the lender.

Broker mortgage rates in Halifax are usually more competitive than what the bank offers because there are many lenders willing to compete for your business. The belief that because you’ve been a loyal bank customer means you’ll get a great rate isn’t always true. If you happen to use a lot of the bank’s products and services, it’s possible you’ll get a better rate than what a broker can find.

One thing you should understand is that the broker finds a lender for you, but doesn’t actually do the lending itself.

As a first-time buyer, there are tax credits you should be able to take advantage of:

  • The home buyers’ amount (formerly the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit) is a $5,000 non-refundable tax credit that first-time buyers and persons with disabilities can claim when they buy a home.
  • When you buy a new home, tax is included in the purchase price. The GST/HST New Housing Rebate lets you recover some of the federal part of the HST paid for a new home. This can be a new home you buy from a builder or an owner-built home.
  • Nova Scotia also offers the First-time Home Buyers Rebate. The rebate amount is 18.75% of the provincial portion of the HST paid for a newly constructed home or up to $3,000.

Your questions about Halifax mortgages, answered.

What’s the difference between a mortgage term and an amortization period?

A mortgage term and an amortization period are two different things, and it’s easy to get confused.

The term is the length of the mortgage you’re getting, which is typically five years. However, mortgage terms can be as short as six months and as long as 10 years. When the term is up, you can renew your mortgage with the same lender or shop around for a better rate. Over time, you’ll likely have multiple mortgages from one or more lenders.

The amortization period is the length of time it’s expected to pay off your mortgage (both principal and interest). The typical amortization period is 25 years, but you can get a mortgage with a 30-year (and sometimes a 35-year) amortization. However, in order to get a mortgage with an amortization of more than 25 years, you need to put at least 20% down. If you want to get an amortization of 15 or 20 years, that’s also possible. The shorter the amortization period, the less interest you’ll pay.

What’s the difference between an open mortgage vs. a closed mortgage?

Buyers not only need to compare current mortgage rates in Halifax, they also need to choose between an open and closed mortgage.

A closed mortgage typically has a lower interest rate than an open mortgage, but it comes with restrictions. For instance, you might only be able to make one mortgage prepayment annually that’s limited to a certain percentage of the original mortgage amount. There are also financial penalties if you decide to refinance or pay off your mortgage before the term ends. The restrictions and penalties vary from lender to lender so it’s best to review what they are before signing on the dotted line.

An open mortgage is more flexible, but it has a higher interest rate than a closed mortgage. You can pay off the entire mortgage whenever you like without having to pay a penalty. Open mortgages typically have a term of five years or less. These types of mortgages are for people who want to make extra payments whenever they’d like, who intend to pay off the mortgage early, or expect to sell and pay off their mortgage in the near future.

How much does it cost to live in Halifax?

Halifax is the place where Maritime culture intersects with big city life — where heritage meets hip. Residents love this city’s laid-back lifestyle, and they relish the abundance of indoor and outdoor activities available at their doorstep.

Living in Halifax is less expensive than Toronto or Vancouver. For instance, the average price of a Toronto home sold in December 2020 was nearly $930,000 — more than twice as much as in Halifax. While the average mortgage rate in Halifax is higher than Toronto (which is a more competitive mortgage market), the cost to finance a home is still lower than Canada’s largest city.

Renting in Halifax is also lower than most major urban centres. According to the CMHC, the average monthly rent was $1,170 in Halifax in 2020. That was lower than Toronto ($1,523), Vancouver ($1,508), Victoria ($1,275), and Calgary ($1,195). However, rent in Halifax was higher than Edmonton ($1,153), Winnipeg ($1,107), and Montreal ($891).

Long commutes aren’t much of an issue for Haligonians. Statistics Canada reports that just 3% of drivers in Halifax spend 60 minutes or more commuting to work compared to 7.2% in Montreal, 7.7% in Vancouver, and 11.1% in Toronto. That means less money spent on gas. And average annual auto insurance rates in Nova Scotia were $891 in 2020, which are lower than British Columbia ($1,832) and Ontario ($1,528).

How much does getting a lower interest rate matter in Halifax?

While getting one of the best home mortgage rates in Halifax is important for home buyers, there are other things you should consider before choosing a mortgage:

  • A prepayment privilege allows you to make additional payments to your mortgage on top of your regular payments. Some lenders may only allow you to pay 10% of the original mortgage amount once a year while others will allow you to pay 20%. Lenders have different prepayment privileges so it’s important to review these and avoid paying any unnecessary penalties.
  • There’s often a mortgage penalty when you break a mortgage because you decide to move or refinance. The cost to break a mortgage can sometimes be in the tens of thousands of dollars so make sure the cost of breaking the mortgage is worth it if you’re refinancing for a better rate.
  • If you port your mortgage, you can avoid a mortgage penalty. If you sell your home, you can transfer the mortgage to the new property. You’ll still pay the same interest rate and make the same payments as before.

Your questions about LowestRates.ca, answered.

How are mortgage rates determined on LowestRates.ca?

LowestRates.ca works to bring you Halifax's best mortgage rates from 75+ banks and brokers in Canada. We work with our partners to obtain their best deals and offers, and then we let them compete for your business. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and in minutes you’ll be provided with today’s mortgage rates for Halifax. There’s no obligation, but you can choose to speak with our broker partner to secure your best rate and see if you're eligible for more savings.

Is it safe to get a mortgage online?

Yes, it’s safe — you no longer need to visit a bank branch or mortgage broker’s office in person to apply for a mortgage. It’s becoming increasingly common for Canadians to apply for mortgages online. LowestRates.ca only works with reputable, trustworthy financial institutions. Your credit score won’t be affected and your information is secure. We don’t share your information with anyone unless you want to connect with a mortgage broker. We take care of the heavy lifting by comparing the market for you and can connect you with the best mortgage lenders not only in Halifax, but across the country.

How do I know I’m getting the lowest rate?

We have a strong selection of lenders on LowestRates.ca including the big banks and many independent providers and we’re adding more lenders all the time. This ensures we’re always delivering you a competitive rate. Even if you’re not ready to commit to anything, you can use our site as a starting point for research (it’s totally free, and you’re under no obligation).

The better informed you are, the more likely you'll negotiate a better deal for yourself. And, really, that’s what we care about the most.

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