7 Things to Know About Living in Halifax

7 Things to Know About Living in Halifax

Considering a move to Halifax? You’re not alone. The city is experiencing record-setting population growth. In 2019 nearly 10,000 people moved to Halifax, making it one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. It’s seen four years of steady growth due in large part to newcomers moving here from other countries. (Of course, that was before COVID-19 brought all that to a halt.)


But for anyone thinking about moving here from other countries or other parts of Canada once things get back to something close to normal, here are seven things to know about living in Halifax.


  1. Ocean views are easy to find

Nova Scotia is known as Canada’s ocean playground and it’s easy to see why. The province is almost completely surrounded by water, except for the small land formation linking the province to New Brunswick. Its spectacular seascapes draw more than a million tourists here every year.


No matter where you are in Nova Scotia, you’re never more than 60 kilometers from the ocean. Even in the city, it’s easy to get your ocean fix by taking a stroll along the bustling harbourfront boardwalk or watching sailboats float by from Point Pleasant Park. There are also several beautiful beaches a short drive away where you can enjoy the surf and sand.  


  1. It’s a small city with an energetic vibe


As Canadian cities go, Halifax isn’t very big. With just over 440,000 people, it’s the 13th largest city in Canada. If you like the bustle of a big city, Halifax may not be the best fit. But it’s a good choice for anyone looking for a more laid-back way of life, something Haligonians call the East Coast lifestyle.


Having said that, the city feels bigger than it is thanks, in part, to its growing diversity and the youthful energy that comes from being home to six colleges and universities. There’s no shortage of places to spend an evening out socializing. Halifax has more than 450 bars and restaurants, including an expanding list of ethnic restaurants and numerous live music venues. 


  1. Economic opportunities are growing


One look at the construction cranes that dot the city skyline and you can see that the last few years have been good ones for the Halifax economy. In 2019, the labour force grew by 2.6%, well above the city’s 10-year average. The city also experienced its second-largest increase ever in the number of jobs created. Heading into 2020, the expectations were that this year would be even better. Instead, because of the pandemic, economic growth is expected to drop in 2020 but rebound in 2021.


The service sector generates the most employment but jobs and business opportunities are growing in many other fields like technology, financial services and transportation.



  1. It’s a relatively safe city to live in 


Like most cities, Halifax has its share of problems with drugs, break-ins and violent crime. Some neighbourhoods tend to have more crime than others and there are definitely areas to avoid late at night.


The city’s overall crime rate is below the national average, making it a fairly safe place to live when compared to other Canadian cities. In Maclean’s magazine’s 2020 list of Canada’s Most Dangerous Places, Halifax’s Crime Severity Index ranked in the middle of a list of more than 230 cities.   


  1. Housing costs are rising


Whether you’re thinking of renting or buying, housing costs are going up throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), which includes the city and its surrounding communities. While Halifax house prices are lower than most big Canadian cities, a hot seller’s market has been pushing prices up over the past two years. The average house price in Halifax is now more than $366,000 and is expected to keep going up.


Rents are increasing too. These days, it can be tough to find an apartment in Halifax, and if you’re on a tight budget, affordable housing is even harder to find. In 2019, the vacancy rate dropped to one percent as the average rent rose 3.8 percent to more than $1,100 a month. 



  1. It’s easy to get around

Halifax doesn’t have a subway or train system, but there’s no shortage of  ways to get around. People living downtown can often access all the services they need by walking, biking or taking the bus. The city is investing in more cycling trails and pathways with some new bike lane projects underway now and others planned for 2022. And, if you move to Dartmouth, a ferry can get you across the harbour and into downtown Halifax in about 12 minutes.


Access to parks, walking trails and public transportation have become some of the most important considerations when people start looking for a good place to live. Check out this list from RE/MAX of the top 10 most liveable neighbourhoods in Halifax.


  1. Education options are plentiful


Along with its publicly-funded education system, Halifax has some top-notch private schooling options for anyone willing and able to pay for private education for their children.


There are a lot of post-secondary choices as well. Nova Scotia is home to 10 universities and six of those have their main campuses in Halifax, including Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University and Saint Mary’s University. Halifax also offers college-level education at the Nova Scotia Community College.


Is Halifax the place for you?


There’s much more we could say about living in Halifax, but the best thing is to come here and see for yourself. If you think Halifax would be a great fit for you, contact us today. We know Halifax and can help you find your perfect home in this scenic ocean city.  

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