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Nova Scotia seeing the fastest growing rent prices in Canada

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While the population in the Halifax-area grows, the number of rentals available is dwindling, leaving many paying prices for units that have never been seen in Nova Scotia’s history.

According to Statistics Canada, rent in Nova Scotia went up an average of 9.5 per cent last month compared to 2022.

This makes Nova Scotia, along with Newfoundland and Labrador, the provinces with the fastest growing rent prices in Canada.

Residents in the Halifax-area are already noticing the increases in rental units.

“I currently live in a studio not far from the university building and it’s about $2,200 a month. That’s like without most utilities. I do pay Wi-Fi on the side as well,” said Emma Whidiker, a student at Saint Mary’s University who recently moved to Halifax for school.

Whidiker was shocked to learn the prices when searching for a place in the city. She said another apartment is not an option.

“There’s nothing else available. It’s impossible especially such a young age to find anything availably. Everything is either overprices or just not within a good distance to be going to school or there’s nothing really to rent right now,” she said.

Her saving grace were her parents, who are supporting her financially until she finds a job.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like renting here as a student without your family’s support,” she said.

It is not just Whidiker struggling to find a rental. Megan McQuade and Olivia Chisholm have been eager to move out of their family home, but their search came to an immediate halt when they noticed the cost of rentals. “We feel trapped. We both just turned 20, it’s kind of hard to learn who we are without being able to live on our own,” said McQuade.

NDP opposition leader, Claudia Chender said a permanent rent cap is the answer.

“Where people have security of tenure. They can stay in their apartments. [Once] you have signed a lease you will stay in that apartment, it will be your home,” said Chender.

Another solution to the program Chender said is rent geared to income affordable housing.

“We need non-marketing housing. We have them in the form of public housing, non-profit housing, co-op housing but we don’t have nearly enough.”

However, according to Minister of Service, Colton LeBlanc, that is not in the cards for Nova Scotia.

“I restate that our government’s position for permanent rent control is not on the table.”

The federal government recently announced its plans to remove its controls on HST, a consumption tax where both the regional provincial sales tax and federal goods and services tax combine into a single-value added tax.

HST in Nova Scotia is 15 per cent, with five per cent belonging to the Federal government and the other 10 per cent belonging to the province. The move is to help promote new builds. The Nova Scotia government said it plans to follow suit.

“Their program was for five or seven years. What we’ve talked about is ours will be the same as theirs. We’ll match them except I think we will kind of reassess in two years,” said Premier Tim Houston.

The government estimates the lost revenue from removing the HST will be in the range of 80-100 million dollars a year from principal coffers.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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