I spent some time trying to find statistics on land for sale in Nova Scotia, average sale price etc. While it’s easy to find sales statistics on residential real estate, sales of vacant land are seldom reported. So thanks to some help from the Canadian Real Estate Association I was able to obtain some info. 

 

So what is land worth in Nova Scotia? Are average sale values increasing? This chart plots the trendline of average sale price and median sale price for vacant land sales in Nova Scotia from 2019 through to March 2022 (just one quarter of 2022 data, so take it with a grain of salt). During that time, the median sale price has increased from $43,000 to $72,250, a gain of 68%! Sure beats the performance of my stock portfolio. At the same time, the average sale price has risen 39%, from $67,011 to $93,240 during the same timespan.

 

Nova Scotia Vacant Land Sales – Average Sale Price 

Nova Scotia Land Sales - Average Sale Price 2022

 

I was also interested in statistics on the duration of land sales in Nova scotia. How long is the average duration between when land is listed for sale and actually sold? The average days on market for land has dropped dramatically in the last few years, from 265 days in 2020 to an average of 155 days. For this statistic, the median (which represents the “middle” value of the full range of values) is down to 76 days whereas it was 123 days in 2020.

 

Nova Scotia Vacant Land Sales – Days on Market

 

So, not only are Nova Scotia vacant land sales increasing significantly in value, the deals are moving faster.

 

I also wanted to explore the gap between list price and sold price. In a seller’s market, this gap narrows as more competition drives prices closer to the original asking price. As the following chart shows, this gap has been decreasing year-over-year. In 2019 the gap between Average List Price and Average Sold Price was $8,804. In 2020 it was $8,121. In 2021 it was $5,901. For the short portion of 2022 measured that gap is down to $4,607.

 

Nova Scotia Land Sales – List Price vs. Sold Price

Nova Scotia Vacant Land Sales - List Price vs. Sold Price

 

This suggests that buyers likely won’t be able to purchase vacant land in Nova Scotia at the same discount of List Price that we’ve seen in the past. 

 

The Bottom Line

No market is immune to change, and it’s yet to be seen what impact interest rate increases will have on sales of vacant land in Nova Scotia. I suspect these impacts will be felt more severely in the residential real estate market where a mortgage is the most common financing vehicle; many land plots are purchased in full through personal funds rather than a mortgage. 

 

Inflation and the rising cost of living may also put a damper on a hot market, leaving buyers with less disposable income to purchase a property they’ve been eyeing. All in all however, I think any sort of market slowdown will be muted when it comes to land buying in Nova Scotia. Unlike commodities such as stocks, bonds, etc, land holds value well with little volatility. Housing is still out-of-reach for many young people looking to own a home in places like Ontario, and the trend of increasing remote work options makes it likely that a high level of immigration to Nova Scotia will continue, and that will buoy the values of land sales.

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