St. John’s in Top 10 for best real estate deals: Moneysense

Daniel MacEachern
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St. John’s has placed ninth in 35 markets across Canada as home to some of the top real estate deals in the nation. — Telegram file photo

While St. John’s housing prices continue to rise, Moneysense magazine says the city is still home to some of the best real estate deals in the country.

In an article in the magazine’s June

edition, Moneysense places St. John’s ninth out of 35 major markets across Canada.

“Its biggest resource is the ocean, which now provides Newfoundland with an offshore oil industry attracting scores of newcomers in search of work,” reads the St. John’s entry, which also noted the city’s economic growth of 5.8 per cent last year and the emergence of the province’s mining sector. “Although house prices have gone up by almost 36 per cent over the past four years, the average house still goes for just $255,000.”

The article ranked the locations in three categories: value (reasonableness of prices), momentum (how hot the market is) and economy (local prosperity). St. John’s earned a B, an A and a B-minus respectively, for an overall mark of B-plus. Moncton, N.B., tops the list with an overall A ranking.


Kathy Butler, a real estate agent with Remax in St. John’s, said she thought the magazine’s ranking was a fair assessment of the city housing market.

“With the way Newfoundland is going, with the oil industry — because we’ve got one of the most valuable commodities in the world, we’re looking at such a migration of people (to Newfoundland),” she said.

“With the way Newfoundland is going, with the oil industry — because we’ve got one of the most valuable commodities in the world, we’re looking at such a migration of people (to Newfoundland)." Kathy Butler

“A lot of people are staying here, and our younger generation’s being educated here, because of our university, and we’re drawing so many people here because of our real-estate market itself. We’ve got some of the lowest-priced houses in the country, and we are comparable to Moncton and Halifax in some areas, but because of our diverse economy, the Lower Churchill, and because of the oil and gas, and with Long Harbour, we’re attracting so much more. We’re a very wealthy province, as well.”

Butler said the diversity in the economy spills into the housing market, which is seeing stronger showings in condos now, too.

“Our condo market, that’s becoming very viable because of the price range condos are in, and condos are also being used for lease for the oil and gas industry,” she said. “There’s so much diversity here with our real estate, because rental vacancies are low, which is driving rental rates. They’re exorbitant right now. I was in a house the other day, $800 a month, I wouldn’t put my dog into. So for the condo market, you can get $3,000 a month for a condo because of the oil and gas near the downtown sector.”

As for rising rents and housing costs, though, Butler notes they’re still much more reasonable than larger cities.

Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Moneysense magazine, Conference Board of Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Moncton Long Harbour

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Recent comments

  • Taxpayer too
    June 01, 2011 - 10:24

    There isn't any advantage with housing prices going up, unless you are selling and not buying another house. What worries me is that with the increase in housing prices folks who own their own homes are going to have to pay increased taxes on these homes that may actually force them to sell because they can no longer pay the taxes. Yet nothing else changes for the home owners, their house suddenly has an increase in value but at the end of the day it also becomes more of a liability.

  • Brad
    June 01, 2011 - 09:16

    Boy I'd love to be living in the place that Kathy Butler is living. A really rich province? How can you say that when we have the highest debt per capita in the whole country? We pay the most taxes on everything, our unemployment rate is the highest in the country, and the wages paid are below par. Our young people are being educated here but are still flocking to the mainland because the companies here want 10-15 years experience. Show me some statistics that prove that we have a huge influx of people moving here, our population has been dropping or stagnant forever. There's lots of retail jobs but that's not going to pay the $3000 rent for a downtown condo. Smoke and mirrors, realtors and politicians are all alike.

  • Donny Dooley Dildo NL
    June 01, 2011 - 08:04

    Oh, there are good real estate deals in St. John's alright. That's if you don't mind the pungent odor of sulfides coming from the St. John's Regional Dump! Yes, nothing says city living around here like the stink of landfill gas whiffing over your neighborhood. I wouldn't live in the eastend of St. John's if they were giving the houses away! No offence.

    • BR
      June 01, 2011 - 09:24

      DONNY DOOLEY get your facts right before you post. I moved to St. John's two years ago and bought a house in the East End (Airport Heights) and have yet to smell anything from the dump. Maybe Logy Bay Road and King William get the smell but that is not all the East End. Airport Heights is convenient and a good area to live.

  • David
    June 01, 2011 - 07:45

    In the next Moneysense issue: Computers...the next big thing? Seriously, where were these "financial geniuses" when houses were $150,000 cheaper than now? But go out and get your copy quick, everyone.....makes a great gift!

    • cornergirl
      June 01, 2011 - 11:17

      I think the City should grandfather in the increase in property tax. If my neighbour renovates a house down the street that he paid 180k for then flips it for 325k why should my property tax go up? If or when I sell my house for the over-inflated price that I will get, then the city can over-tax the next poor fool. The appeal process is a farce.

    • badameli
      June 01, 2011 - 13:57

      Wrong CornerGirl - all properties should be assessed annually and everyone should pay their share. If city the city is pulling in more money year after year based on housing price inflation then the mill rate should be adjusted. You neighbour renovating his house does not mean yours goes up in value. The assessment of the home is based on the value of your property - that includes renovations. You might have to go for a 15 minute meeting with the city to see their comparables ($100 fee if they do not change your assessment). I have 4 properties and I have contested some of the assessments. I haven't had a problem (won all contests, but haven't contested all assessments). I do have an issue however with people who want to live in their house worth 100k and have for the last 30 years, have no inflation of property tax/not be assessed at current values, yet all the city services are increasing in cost, and they aren't contributing more to cover their usage. You know, things like road repairs, street lights, garbage collection, etc. Find me someone who doesn't use the road or walk on the sidewalk. Use a park or the library.

  • BR
    June 01, 2011 - 07:24

    It sickens me to hear real estate agents talk about how hot the market is. All they do is say buy now before the prices go up. They say they can get more than you think it is worth so they can get the listing. The seller goes along with it if he figures he can get more money. It drives up the market price and the agent makes more money. I pity the person starting out looking for a house. The salaries have not kept up. At some point the oil will be gone and there will be nobody to buy the houses ... or at some point the rates will jump and owners will not be able to afford the increased payments as happened in the early 1980s.