Cape Breton Cottage Market Trends (2023)

The Cape Breton cottage market currently favours sellers. Inventory in the area is down considerably from Q1 2022. While the 2023 market had a slow start, listings have been increasing with the onset of spring coupled with the effects of the foreign buyer ban.

The foreign buyer ban has created market confusion and caused some sellers to delay listing their properties. “The new exemption for buyers with work permits has relieved a bit of the stress associated with the foreign buyer’s ban,” Jesslyn Chisholm, Broker with RE/MAX Park Place Inc. in Cape Breton. “Realtors are careful to ensure client are permitted to purchase properties. A large number of recreational properties in our area are located within the ban boundaries, which could be part of the reason for a slower start to the year with number of transactions.”

During the first quarter of 2023, there were 173 properties sold, compared to 273 during the same period in 2022 – a 37-per-cent decline. Meanwhile, average prices increased during that same time frame, sitting at $197,861  in Q1 2023, compared to $171,678 in Q1 2022.

A strong seller’s market persists across all property types due to low inventory, high demand from buyers, and a steady price point compared to other parts of the country. 

Buyers in the area are both local and from out of province. “We have one of the most affordable housing markets in the country – which is driving retirees from coast to coast searching for property in Cape Breton,” says Chisholm. “We are still seeing multiple offers and strong competition between buyers.”

The market is being driven largely by Millennials and Gen X, with families, couples and retirees accounting for a majority of activity. In-demand features include large properties with plenty of outdoor space, waterfront locations and a quiet neighbourhood.

Cape Breton is known for its laid-back lifestyle, beautiful landscapes and welcoming people, as well as an abundance of properties located on the ocean or Bras d’Or Lakes, which continue to attract newcomers and particularly retirees.

The shift to remote work has many people returning to Cape Breton, working remotely while enjoying the lifestyle they grew up with and love. This is allowing homebuyers to come back before retirement to enjoy the lifestyle and be set up for retirement. The region’s lower price point, compared to larger city centres, makes the transition easier.

Looking ahead, the Cape Breton cottage market is expected that average price in the Caper Breton cottage market will continue on their upward trajectory this year, while sales will continue their downward trend.

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