Are you looking to buy a home in Newfoundland & Labrador in the near future? If so, it would be in your best interests to do some research on the average price of homes in the province.
Given the cost of a home purchase, you’ll want to find out what the going price is for a property in the area you plan to buy in, as well as have your finances lined up to ensure that you can comfortably afford the hefty price tag.
Let’s take a closer look at the current average home price in Newfoundland & Labrador, as well as what you should do to avoid becoming house poor.
How Are Home Prices Determined?
Sellers cannot just arbitrarily pick a listing price and expect buyers to give them what they’re asking if the figure is not in line with the current market. While they technically have the freedom to list at whatever price point they want, they’ll likely have very little success finding a buyer who is willing to pay far more than what the property is worth.
So, how are home prices determined?
To determine what an accurate listing price is, sellers must take a close look at historical sales in their neighbourhood.
Real estate agents will look at homes that have sold in the past to come up with a listing price. More specifically, the properties that make this list meet the following criteria:
- They sold within the recent past (no further back than 3 to 6 months earlier)
- They are very similar to the subject properties (ie. same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, same type of dwelling, etc)
- They are located in the same neighbourhood (ideally on the same street)
Adjustments And Comparisons To Historical Sales
Based on the price at which similar homes in the neighbourhood have recently sold for, real estate professionals will make comparisons to the subject property and will make adjustments as needed until they come to an accurate listing price that’s reflective of the current market.
Adjustments involve adding to and subtracting from the sale price of a similar property. These additions and subtractions will based on a number of factors and features, including the following:
- Type of dwelling (detached, semi-detached, two-story, bungalow, etc)
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of bathrooms
- Lot size
- Location within the neighbourhood
- Size of the home
- Age and condition of the home
- Finished basement
- View (for condos)
- School district
Ideally, the subject property will be as close as possible to the comparable properties as possible based on the above factors. This will make arriving at a listing price much easier and more streamlined.
Average Price Of Homes In Newfoundland & Labrador
In Newfoundland & Labrador, the average home price is currently $280,400, as of May 2023. That’s a 3.3% increase from the same the year before when the average price for a home across the province was $271,400
Comparing Average House Prices By Province
|Home Prices May 2023||Home Prices May 2022||Year-Over-Year % Change|
|Newfoundland and Labrador*||$280,400||$271,400||3.3%|
|Prince Edward Island||$358,200||$346,700||3.3%|
How Do Home Prices In Newfoundland & Labrador Compare To The Rest Of Canada?
Newfoundland & Labrador home prices are much lower than the national average. Compared to the average home price of $280,400 in Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada’s average home price is more than twice that, at $729,044.
How To Avoid Becoming “House Poor”
What does it mean to be “house poor,” exactly? The term refers to a situation whereby a large portion of your income is spent on home ownership, including mortgage payments, utility bills, home insurance, property taxes, and maintenance. When you’re house poor, you have very little money left over to spend on other things, including saving up for retirement.
This is not the scenario that you want to find yourself in. Unfortunately, buying a home that’s a little too expensive for your budget can land you in this position. So, how can you avoid becoming house poor?
Understand The Full Cost Of Homeownership
To make sure your income isn’t stretched to the limits after buying a home, it’s important to make sure that your mortgage payments are well within your budget. Even if your lender approves you for a certain loan amount, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should take out that entire amount. Instead, consider applying for a lower loan amount to avoid stretching your dollar too much.
Ideally, your mortgage payments should take up no more than 30% of your income. So, if you earn $6,000 per month, your mortgage payments should be less than $1,800 per month.
Further, you’ll want to calculate your debt-to-income ratio, which represents your mortgage divided by your income. This ratio should be no more than 40%. Any higher than that will not only cause you to scramble to make your mortgage payments every month, but you can also risk your mortgage application being denied altogether.
See the difference between being pre-approved and pre-qualified for a mortgage.
Save Up For A Sizable Down Payment
The bigger your down payment, the less you’ll have to borrow from your lender to buy a home. And in turn, this will mean smaller mortgage payments. Saving up for a down payment takes time, so don’t rush into buying a home if your savings are too skimpy for a decent down payment.
You can also look into the Home Buyers Plan (HBP), which allows you to borrow against your RRSPs and use those funds to be put towards a down payment. The HBP is available for first-time buyers and allows you to borrow up to $35,000 from your RRSP. You’ll need to pay back the money within 15 years.
Maintain A Good Credit Score
Not only does the loan amount dictate how expensive your mortgage payments will be, but so does the interest rate you’re being charged. A higher rate will mean more money spent over the life of your loan. The lower the rate, the better.
One way to help keep your rate as low as possible is to make sure that your credit score is healthy before you apply for a mortgage. A good credit score will afford you a lower interest rate, as long as all other factors associated with your situation are favourable.
People with good credit have a history of sound financial habits. They typically pay their bills on time and don’t rack up high amounts of debt. As such, they present less of a risk to lenders, who will then reward these borrowers with a lower interest rate.
But a low credit score says the opposite about someone. Lenders may not be comfortable loaning out money in the form of a mortgage to someone who may have a history of missed or late bill payments. To offset this risk, they’ll charge a higher interest rate. This will cost the borrower much more by the end of the mortgage term.
By maintaining a strong credit score, you stand a much higher chance of securing a lower interest rate, which will cost you less in interest overall and can bring your mortgage payments down.
Should You Buy a Condo or a House?
There are so many decisions to be made when it comes to buying a home, including whether to buy a condo or a single-family house. Before you make that decision, make sure you weigh the pros and cons of each.
Reasons To Buy A Condo
Condos Are Cheaper Than Houses
Generally speaking, a condo is more affordable than a single-family home. The lower price affiliated with condos makes them an attractive option for homebuyers on a budget, and a smaller price tag means lower monthly mortgage payments.
No Maintenance Or Repairs Are Required
As a homeowner of single-family property, it’s your responsibility to cut the grass, shovel the driveway, make repairs, and so forth. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also costs money. Condo living, on the other hand, doesn’t require all this work. Instead, the condo corporation will take care of maintaining the property on your behalf, which you pay for through your condo fees.
Condos Are Centrally Located
Condos are usually located in areas that are closer to urban centres. As such, they’re closer to work, shopping, and entertainment.
Access To Building Amenities
Condo buildings usually feature a number of on-site amenities, such as fitness rooms, party rooms, swimming pools, tennis courts, and rooftop gardens. You can have direct access to these amenities without having to leave the confines of your home.
Reasons To Buy A Home
Houses Have More Space
There’s more square footage for living space with a single-family home, as well as more outdoor space to roam about without having to descend an elevator to access.
Is this your first home? If so, then you qualify for First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit.
More Freedom & Flexibility
Condos typically have rules that owners must abide by, which can impact how they enjoy their homes. For instance, you may have restrictions on the type of pets you have or whether or not you can barbeque on your deck. Instead, no such restrictions exist when you own a house. You’re free to decorate as you please, have pets in the home, build a playhouse in the backyard, and paint your front door any colour. Houses can be customized to your liking, while condos can’t without permission from the condo board.
Buying a home in Newfoundland & Labrador is pretty affordable compared to other provinces across the country. Having said that, you’ll still need to pay a few hundred thousand dollars to become a homeowner, so it’s in your best interests to do some research on the cost of homes across the province before signing on the dotted line. Also, be sure to have your finances in order to ensure your mortgage payments are within your financial means and to avoid becoming house poor.