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Why some young Nova Scotians say they can’t afford to stay in the province

by News Desk
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After years of working and saving money in Alberta, Tiffany Campbell dreamed of buying a home and raising her son in Nova Scotia when she returned to the East Coast. However, after a few months, her plans changed drastically.

The 32-year-old says she renovated her first Halifax apartment. She and her 7-year-old son have moved more than twice a year, looking for affordable housing.

And they haven’t found it yet. Ms. Campbell says she spends more than 50% of her income on an apartment on her North End of the city where she and her son share her bedroom.

“By the time I got here, it was just impossible,” said Campbell. I never imagined, things are really great in Halifax, I never imagined this for maritime.”

Campbell came to Nova Scotia to complete his doctorate in social anthropology from Dalhousie University. She grew up on the East Coast and thought housing in the area was affordable.

But despite having a full scholarship, two part-time jobs, no car and using the university’s food bank, she says staying in Halifax is unacceptable.

Campbell’s son’s work hangs in the apartment. She says she’s worried that moving multiple times a year will negatively affect his childhood. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Campbell was one of more than 30 young people who spoke to CBC News this fall who wanted to make a living because they thought the rent was too high to own a home. He says he feels compelled to leave the state.

Some say they plan to move to another state with their family or to a place with higher wages. But a common theme is the struggle to find housing in Nova Scotia.

“I remember what was going on in high school…a lot of young people had to go out west,” Campbell said. It makes me sad because I have

Rents rise most in Atlantic Canada

according to Data is from rental accommodation site Rentals.ca Atlantic Canada’s rental prices rose 32.2% over the past year, the highest increase in Canada, according to an analysis by data firm Urbanation.

Although in Nova Scotia Temporary 2% Rent Cap Instead of an existing lease, you can raise the rent on the new lease if the tenant moves out or evicts. Rentals.ca measures list prices for vacant rooms.

According to a sample size of about 150 rental units in Halifax, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $1,819, while a two-bedroom unit averages $2,240, according to Rentals.ca.

Much of Campbell and her son’s belongings are still packed from their last move. She says their studio apartment doesn’t have much space to unpack. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Halifax ranks 18th among cities with the highest rents on a list of 35 urban centers nationwide, according to the company. Some of the most affordable cities on that list include Edmonton, Quebec City and Regina.

Paul Danison, Content Director at Rentals.ca, said:

“During the pandemic, demand increased because many people discovered Halifax and decided they wanted to move there. Halifax has a huge immigrant population, which has also increased demand…Halifax there is not enough supply.”

Statistics Canada data reflects this trend.Immigration to Nova Scotia from abroad more than 2 times Last year from pre-pandemic levels.When After decades of immigration Elsewhere, immigration from other states added a total of 14,079 people to Nova Scotia’s population last year. His 80% of them were from Ontario.

However, the number of people leaving the province for the rest of Canada is 2021-22 will also record the highest price in 6 yearsPeople in their 20s to 40s account for more than half of those moving to other provinces.

high housing prices

Average residential real estate prices in Nova Scotia have also increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It peaked at over $450,000 in April of this yearaccording to the Nova Scotia Real Estate Association.

Since then, the average price of a residential unit has fallen to less than $400,000, but is still nearly double the average compared to five years ago.

Professor Paul Kershaw of the Department of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia said the numbers are staggering.

“Back in the mid-1970s, when today’s baby boomers were young and coming of age, it took about four years of a full-time job to save a 20% down payment on an average-priced home in Halifax.” Looking at today, it now takes 12 years.”

Marius Normore, 29, and his partner started saving for a down payment on a Halifax home that averaged around $225,000 in 2018.

In 2021, we have examined 20 homes and made offers for 4 homes. Normore said they were bidding above the asking price, from his $50,000 to his $87,000, outperforming each time.

Marius Nomore said he and his partner wanted to buy a home and raise their children in Nova Scotia, but they couldn’t make it happen. (Brian McKay/CBC)

By mid-2022, the couple was still spending most of their income renting an apartment in Bedford.

“The best analogy I can use is like football,” Nomore said. “You’re running for a touchdown, and the closer you get, the further the goal line gets.”

they are not alone. According to her 2021 data from Statistics Canada, 45% of Halifax households spend more than a third of her income on housing. This is the highest among Canadian cities, surpassing both Toronto and Vancouver.

Nomore said he had been optimistic about staying in Nova Scotia for years, but “that optimism slowly turned into pessimism.”

“I’m not the only one going through this,” he said. “Most people you know, former colleagues my age, we are all in the exact same boat. There is no way.”

As such, Nomore and his partner have made the difficult decision to leave the company. They moved to Newfoundland to buy a house and received the keys in early November.

Nomore and his partner have cleaned out their Bedford apartment and moved to Newfoundland. (Brian McKay/CBC)

Kershaw is also a founder generation squeezeis a philanthropic think tank that studies the impact of systemic issues across generations.

He said Halifax youth are now facing a long-talked-about “affordability squeeze” in British Columbia and Ontario, which is more backward than previous generations.

Young people are disproportionately affected

Kershaw said now is the time to change policies at all levels of government to prioritize housing affordability.

“We often joke that young people eat too much avocado toast, drink too much latte, and are lazy, but no, the data is clear,” he said.

“Younger people go on to post-secondary school, pay more for privileges, are more likely to start off with student loans, and get jobs that are thousands of dollars cheaper after adjusting for inflation.”

He said that not being able to afford a house and paying the rent can have a huge impact on the lives of young people who are trying to settle down and start a family.

Campbell agreed.

“It has a huge impact on your mental health,” she said. .”

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