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Save the most on your mortgage in Nova Scotia.

No matter where you are in Canada, we can tell you what the best current mortgage rates are by you today. Instantly get the low rates for everything from 3-year fixed rate mortgages to 5-year variable rate mortgages.

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Starting with the best rate.

Our main focus is to help you save on your mortgage. We do this in 5 ways:

1) Get the best mortgage rates in Nova Scotia

2) Ensure that you get the top advice to guide your mortgage strategy

3) Saving you time and money with a 100% virtual option

4) Added benefits to help you be mortgage free faster with all prepayment privileges as a standard offer

5) Expert mortgage advice and guidance to help you navigate the mortgage market

How to Save On Your Mortgage

1) Get the best mortgage rates in Nova Scotia: See nesto’s lowest rates and compare them to our top competitors. With our Lowest Rate Guarantee, we guarantee that we can match any rate, or we’ll pay you $500.

(2) Ensure that you get the top advice to guide your mortgage strategy. Where are the rates headed? What’s better for your situation right now – 2-years or 5-years fixed? Is it the right time to pick a variable or fixed rate? Have you read the fine print to avoid any surprises based on your short and long-term goals?  Quickly learn the basics to save yourself thousands in interest-carrying costs.

(3) Saving you time and money with a 100% virtual option. You schedule a time to chat with our experts who help you customize a mortgage solution that is as unique as you. Start your application, chat with an advisor and lock in your rate all on the same day.

(4) Added benefits to help you be mortgage free faster with all prepayment privileges as a standard offer. We offer 150-day rate holds if you need to lock in the best rates sooner.  All options are available with 1% cashback to give you a head start with your savings.

(5) Expert mortgage advice and guidance to help you navigate the mortgage market with quick approval today and ongoing interest savings, service and support for years to come. We provide unbiased transparent and honest advice from our qualified and licensed brokers.

No matter where you are in Nova Scotia, we can tell you what the best current mortgage rates are for you today. Instantly get the low rates for any term or type of mortgage – everything from 3-year fixed-rate mortgages to 5-year variable-rate mortgages.

Your Guide to Getting the Best Mortgage Rates in Nova Scotia

When you’re looking to find the very best mortgage rates in Nova Scotia nesto is your one-stop shop. Rates in Nova Scotia are very competitive due to its large and mature mortgage marketplace. You can always rely on us to help you better understand how to navigate mortgages in any kind of market and provide the very best interest rate upfront.

About Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is Canada’s seventh-largest province by population and also the seventh-largest industrial contributor to Canada’s GDP.  Nova Scotia has one of the most popular secondary-home mortgage markets in the country due to its affordable homes, beautiful beaches and friendly East coast culture.

Key facts about the Nova Scotia market:

  • Nova Scotia is home to more than 1 million people, while roughly half live regionally in the Halifax-Dartmouth region.  Halifax, Sydney and Truro are the largest cities in the province. The vast majority of the province remains unpopulated and undeveloped.
  • Nova Scotia’s GDP is just over $50 Billion with a 61% participation rate in the labour market and a 6.1% unemployment rate.
  • Average homes in Nova Scotia run just above $360K whereas the range will be from $200K in some Northern Nova Scotia communities to just over $450K in the Halifax region.
  • Nova Scotia’s gross household income ranges from $63K in Queens Regional Municipality all the way up to $87K in Halifax proper.
  • Nova Scotia’s average mortgage balance is around $213K.

Learn About Rates & Mortgages in Nova Scotia

Welcome to our Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) section, where we answer the most popular questions our nesto advisors receive on a daily basis across Nova Scotia, designed to help you make informed mortgage decisions every time you need a new mortgage or to renew/refinance an existing one.

What are today’s mortgage rates in Nova Scotia?

nesto’s advanced technology empowers us to ensure you always have the latest rate information at your fingertips to help you make the most informed decisions about whether to stay the course or lock in your rate (see chart).

Why get Nova Scotia mortgage rates on nesto?

By consulting Nova Scotia mortgage rates on nesto, you’re always getting the most up-to-date information, which helps you save money throughout your time as a homeowner.

When comparing mortgage rates in Nova Scotia, it’s important to look at similarities and differences between the comparable types and terms. Comparisons must be made with complementary solutions, meaning a fixed rate with another fixed rate and vice versa. The mortgage term must be aligned as well – compare a 5-year term with a 5-year term, and so on. 

Then you have to look beyond the rate, the features, benefits and restrictions. Many low-rate mortgages have restrictions – such as pre-emptive qualifying criteria and prepayment penalties that are outside of the normal if paid off or refinanced before the end of its term. Some restrictions go as far as to inhibit the ability to payout or renew early by adding a bona fide sale clause – meaning you can’t break the mortgage except to sell the property to an unrelated party.

Should I get an open or closed mortgage in Nova Scotia?

Whether you should select an open or closed mortgage in Nova Scotia depends on your specific life and financial circumstances.

When looking at open vs closed mortgages, it’s important to note that open mortgages are priced higher because of the flexibility they offer to pay the mortgage off at any time without facing a penalty. If you have no need to pay the mortgage off quickly, it makes sense to select a closed mortgage and benefit from lower rates.

Should I use a mortgage broker or lender in Nova Scotia?

In Nova Scotia, a mortgage broker – or associate mortgage broker, depending on specific licensing – is a professional who can negotiate the best mortgage by comparing all the offerings from multiple lenders, including banks, credit unions and trust companies, as well as alternative and private funding specialists. In other words, the mortgage broker acts as an intermediary between the borrower and the lender.

A mortgage lender is one financial institution or bank that offers a single line of mortgage products directly to borrowers. The lender’s mortgage specialists only have access to their own mortgage products.

nesto advisors offer the lowest rate upfront every time. Yes, we make less than the average broker or mortgage specialist, but we get the peace of mind of knowing that we helped you save thousands of dollars on your mortgage.

Should I try to find a mortgage with a rate hold in Nova Scotia?

If you’re planning to buy Nova Scotia property in the future, it’s a wise choice to request that nesto secure a rate hold on your behalf so you don’t have to worry about interest rates rising while you’re home shopping.

Ensuring you have a rate hold in place is like having insurance on your mortgage rate – you no longer have to worry about the mortgage rate increasing while you find your new home over the next 90 – 150 days.

Nova Scotia Housing Market

Nova Scotia has experienced year-over-year home price increases since 2009. The Bank of Canada (BoC) increases in its Key Policy Overnight rates in 2022 have temporarily limited the growth of mortgages in the province. Property prices are starting to decrease but not as much as in other provinces due to its affordability and holding the title of Canada’s second biggest vacation home market.  Nova Scotia’s property market remains resilient and has not dropped more than 15% thus far. 

The BoC’s rate increases may have put a damper on the mortgage market in Nova Scotia but we expect this to be short-lived. Canada is expecting more than 2 million immigrants over the course of 2022 and 2023 with more choosing to call Nova Scotia home. Over the shorter term – a combination of labour shortages, increase in wages and increase in demand due to population growth will intensify housing affordability as the federal govt seeks to tame inflation.  Labour and supply shortages due to Hurricane Fiona in September 2022 will continue to impact much of the Atlantic region’s growth and rebuilding in the short to mid-term.

Over the long term, these issues will only be exasperated even more as professionals and students immigrate to Canada and decide to make Nova Scotia their home.  Thus over the long term, driving prices further up as inflation is tamed and remains lower than where these future Canadians are emigrating from. In addition, more Ontarians continue to migrate to the Atlantic provinces for comparatively lower-priced homes and cost of living.

Nova Scotia Mortgage Strategy

Fixed rates are usually priced at 1 to 1.5% more than the bond yield.  Long and short-term bond yields are not showing signs of relenting any time soon.  Big banks have been pricing in risks as shorter-term rates rise due to their recent popularity. We expect the shorter-term rates to stay above expectations and borrowers to shift towards shorter-term fixed rates to curb risk if a purchase or renewal is on the horizon. 

The Bank of Canada (BoC) forecasting suggests that inflationary pressures will be checked back in place by the end of 2024 when we could expect rates to start decreasing.  In the current market, it would be advisable to go with a fixed rate over a variable one; or take on a shorter-term fixed rate to evade the market and then renew back into a variable rate once the inflationary pressures are off.

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Nova Scotia

There are several first-time home buyer incentives and programs available in Nova Scotia that were designed specifically to help lighten the financial burden for first-time home buyers. These programs will offset some home-buying costs as well as help fund your down payment, which is often one of the biggest hurdles involved in buying your first home. See: First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Canada

What are the Different Types of Mortgages?

Open vs Closed Mortgage

With an open mortgage, you’re able to prepay any amount of your mortgage at any time without facing a prepayment penalty. The compromise for having an open mortgage is that interest rates are higher to make up for the flexibility of being able to pay it off at any time.

With a closed mortgage, on the other hand, the interest rate is more attractive than an open mortgage because you’re limited by how much extra you can pay toward your mortgage each year. As well, the lender can expect to make interest from you for a set amount of time versus the uncertainty of having your whole balance paid off at any time.

An open mortgage only makes sense for someone who is unsure about their short-term goals such as being moved to another location by their employer, or knows that a separation or divorce is eminent after the maturity date, or is expecting to receive a large inheritance that they have earmarked for a big prepayment which is more than the annual allotment on their mortgage contract. 

But as with all financial decisions, it is best to complete a cost analysis to make sure that the interest saved with an open term is indeed more than the penalty due to a prepayment over and above your allotment.

Fixed Mortgages

The most common mortgage term in Nova Scotia is 5 years and more specifically, the 5-year fixed-rate mortgage. While this isn’t always the most economical option for everyone, it has become the most popular. A fixed rate is beneficial for budgeting purposes and offers financial stability given that mortgage payments always remain the same. 

Deciding on a fixed rate is really a question of personal choice and risk appetite. We would recommend speaking with a mortgage professional to assess any material risks that may pose a concern for you over the term of your mortgage. 

For a first-time home buyer (FTHB) who is getting used to all their new bills related to owning a home, it is recommended that they choose a fixed rate to provide some stability during the first term of their mortgage. By making their biggest monthly obligations (mortgage, condo/maintenance/strata fees and property taxes) static amounts they can take the time to put together a financial plan and start to put aside some money towards their emergency savings.

Variable Mortgages

A variable rate mortgage has proven over time to save borrowers more money than a fixed rate. Every borrower’s current circumstances and goals are different; therefore, all current financial restraints and future considerations should be thoroughly discussed with an advisor before deciding on the mortgage that is most suitable for your situation.

With a variable mortgage, the interest rate will fluctuate depending on benchmark rates, whereas a fixed rate remains the same throughout the mortgage term. Deciding on a variable is really a question of personal choice and risk appetite. We would recommend speaking with a mortgage professional to assess any material risks that may pose a concern for you over the term of your mortgage.

Nova Scotia Deed Transfer Taxes

Most taxes and fees are set at the provincial level. In Nova Scotia, in addition to the property purchase price, non-resident buyers must also pay the Provincial Deed Transfer Tax (PDTT).   (See: Land Transfer Tax Calculator)

There are many exemptions for this tax including becoming a resident of the province within a 6-month period after the deed is transferred to your name.

Provincial (non-resident) Deed Transfer Tax (PDTT)

The Provincial Deed Transfer Tax (PDTT) is effective for all purchase and sale agreements and other specific transfers starting 1 April 2022.

The PDTT applies to all residential properties or portions of property deemed residential with 3 dwelling units or less, including vacant land classified as residential. 

The PDTT is a 5% tax levied on the purchase price or the assessed value of the property (whichever is greater).

The PDTT applies to residential properties of 3 or less dwelling units being transferred to 1 or more owners where more than 50% of the ownership interest in the property is granted to non-residents of Nova Scotia. 

If 50% or more of the ownership interest in the property is held by residents of Nova Scotia, the PDTT does not apply. For example: If 2 siblings (1 resident, and 1 non-resident) acquire a residential property and the ownership interest of each sibling is 50%, then the PDTT does not apply. 

Ownership Interest in the Property 

If a property has multiple owners, the interest of each owner is determined by whether the owners are considered joint tenants or tenants in common: 

Joint tenants each have equal interests in a property. 

Tenants in common each have a property interest as stated on the property’s title document (e.g. deed) or parcel register (under the Land Registration Act). If no interest is stated on either, then equal interests are applied. 

Total ownership interest in a property must not exceed 100%.

Municipal Deed Transfer Tax 

In addition to the Provincial Deed Transfer Tax (PDTT), municipalities in Nova Scotia will require their own municipal land transfer taxes known as the Municipal Deed Transfer Tax (MDTT) to be paid through the province upon the purchase of residential property or land.

Municipal Deed Transfer Tax (MDTT)  rates are set by each municipality and the MDTT payable is calculated based on the sale price of the property. Municipal Deed Transfer Taxes (MDTT) are collected on behalf of the municipality through Land Registration Offices when the deed is registered/recorded. 

Municipal Deed Transfer Tax (MDTT) Rates are set by each Municipality and are updated when the province is advised by the Municipalities of any rate change. This list of rates is as current as possible; however, rate changes are at the discretion of the municipalities and may not be reported to Service Nova Scotia. You are advised to check with the Municipality to confirm the most recent rate prior to conducting a transaction. Municipal Deed Transfer Tax Rates 

What Affects My Mortgage Rate in Nova Scotia?

Factors such as credit score, income, down payment and purpose of the loan – all of which play a role in determining how your mortgage rate is priced.

Mortgage rates in Canada vary depending on different factors such as the borrower’s credit, the property which is being used as collateral, the borrower’s income capacity to service the debt, the borrower’s capital in the form of savings/investments and down payment, and most importantly, conditions. Conditions such as the purpose of the loan and the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio – these two conditions will have the most impact on the rate. The mortgage rate is priced based on the risk associated with that mortgage, property and borrower.

The lowest rate is not the most important aspect of getting a mortgage that will save you the most interest. Sometimes the lowest rate is the “no frills” or “restricted” or “limited” mortgage that a lender offers which, on top of not having a high rate doesn’t have any prepayment privileges or other features such as portability or assumability. 

Down Payment

The size of your down payment will determine your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and whether you must also purchase mortgage default insurance. LTV is most important to mortgage rate pricing with insured or insurable lending criteria.

Insured and insurable mortgage rate pricing applies on properties valued at less than $1 million dollars and the amortization is up to 25yrs. In such cases, the lender will provide a better rate as there is a lower risk of loss to them. 

You would need to purchase the insurance on the front end in the case of an insured purchase with less than a 20% down payment. To give you a lower rate, lenders can also purchase the insurance on the back end to lower the default risk on the mortgage if your down payment is more than 20%. 

An insured mortgage is qualified as such when your down payment is less than 20% therefore you will need to purchase default (high ratio) insurance. 

Amortization Period

On the prime lending side, the amortization period cannot exceed 30 years. The maximum allowable amortization is 25 years on mortgages with less than a 20% down payment, or equity in the property at the time of renewal. You can go up to 30 years amortization on mortgages with down payments of 20%, or more. 

The longer the amortization, the lower your mortgage payment. The shorter your amortization period, the more money you save on interest over the term or life of the loan. The difference between two identical mortgages with different amortizations is the interest-carrying cost for the extended time the money is lent out.

Property Usage

If you’re buying a home that you personally intend to live in, this is considered your primary residence and will be known as owner-occupied. If you’re buying an investment property that you intend to rent to others, you’ll pay higher interest rates than on your primary residence. Or if you purchase a primary residence with a second separate legally registered suite then your property will be an owner-occupied rental and you’ll have access to the lowest rates as a primary residence. 

The logic behind your higher rate for a mortgage on a property solely for investment purposes is, if money is tight, people will pay the mortgage on their primary residence before other obligations. As such, lenders build added risk into the rates for rental properties.

Mortgage Type

The type of mortgage you select will play a major role in your mortgage rate. Mortgage types such as adjustable, variable, fixed, open, closed, standard charge or revolving home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) under a collateral charge are all personal choices based on your unique financial planning needs.

When looking at open versus closed mortgages, for instance, it’s important to note that open mortgages are priced higher because of the flexibility they offer to pay the mortgage off at any time without facing a penalty.

There are two types of variable rate mortgages, those that have static payments and those that have variable or fluctuating payments. Static payment variable rate mortgages are more specifically called variable rate mortgages (VRM); whereas variable rate mortgages with a variable payment, in which the payment adjusts with changes in the lender’s prime rate, are more accurately called adjustable rate mortgages (ARM). Commonly, they are both known as variable-rate mortgages.

Your Credit Score

nesto has a specific minimum FICO score requirement of 680 or 720 out of 900 to provide you with the best mortgage rate. Our strict underwriting guidelines do not permit missed payments, especially for mortgage payments. In order to provide an explanation for missed payments you’ll need to show whether it was a mishap or not due to poor budgeting or cash flow. Moreover, you’ll need to prove that your monthly obligations and carrying costs do not exceed your income. Underwriters will want to know if you have put any practices in place to avoid any negative habits in the future.

How nesto Works

At nesto, all of our commission-free mortgage experts hold professional designations from one or more provinces concurrently. We believe that our clients will receive the best advice and care when they speak with specialists that exceed the industry status quo.  

Unlike the industry norm, our agents are not commissioned but rather salaried employees. This means you’ll get free unbiased advice on the most suitable mortgage solution for your unique needs.  Our advisors are measured on the satisfaction and quality of advice they provide to their clients. 

nesto’s working hard to change how the mortgage industry functions. We start with honest and transparent advice, followed by our best rates upfront.  We are able to offer you these best rates by using technology by providing a virtual and 100% online process to reduce our overhead costs.  

By working remotely across Canada, all our mortgage experts and staff spend less time commuting to work and more time with their friends and family. This makes for more dedicated employees and in turn, contributes to our success with happy and satisfied clients.

nesto is on a mission to offer a positive, empowering and transparent property financing experience, simplified from start to finish.