Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada, occupying only 0.6% of the country’s land area. It is a popular destination for active tourists who enjoy water sports that are offered all around the province. The residential areas of Nova Scotia are exceptionally quiet and peaceful. At the same time, the region is well-developed and has all the infrastructure required for a comfortable life.
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Best Cities in Nova Scotia for an Airbnb Investment
The choice of the city is always an important decision for an Airbnb investment, as the location has a huge effect on the performance of the business. In Nova Scotia, there are many interesting cities to choose from. The main benefit is the extremely low competition in most of the cities. At the same time, the visitation rates have almost recovered from the pandemic, and the province’s tourism industry is ready to grow and develop further.
Around 1.8 million people have visited Nova Scotia in 2022, which is still lower than in 2019 but is already a massive increase, compared to the visitation levels of 2021. Many short-term rentals in smaller cities have closed, and now is a great time to fill the space, as the demand is growing consistently.
Amherst is the first town on the list, and it is important not to confuse it with the city north of Montreal which has the same name. Amherst reviewed here is a small town located right next to the border with the neighboring province New Brunswick. In total, it is home to only twelve active properties, meaning the competition is almost absent here.
The Average Daily Rates here are $91, which is noticeably lower than in most other cities on this list. The Occupancy Rates are 46%, and the average monthly Revenues generated by the properties in Amherst are $777. Most visitors don’t consider Amherst their main destination in Nova Scotia, but those who travel by car regularly stop here for a night.
The real estate prices here are lower than average, so the investors should not give up on the town, even though the performance of short-term rentals here is not as impressive as in some other locations on this list. It is easier to reach the break-even point in Amherst, which might be an advantage for some investors.
Mahone Bay is located one hour drive away from Halifax, and it is a city with access to the ocean. The location is rather remote, but it still manages to attract enough tourists to make the business here viable. There are only 28 active short-term rentals here, 75% of which are entire homes and apartments. Most properties are scattered around the shore, so there are no places where the competition is especially intense.
The Average Daily Rate in Mahone Bay is $162, which is significantly higher than in the previous city. Even with such a high level of prices, the Occupancy Rates average 71% throughout the year. Much like in all the other parts of Nova Scotia, most visitors come to Mahone Bay in summer. The average Revenue is $2,498 per month in this city, which is the highest level on this list. The city can easily handle a few more short-term rentals operating in it, so it is definitely a worthy place for investors to consider.
Digby is another small town, but in contrast to Mahone Bay, it is located on the north-western shore of the province. Just like all the other cities on this list, Digby does not have a huge vacation rental market: there are only 15 properties that are currently being rented out here. Eleven of them are entire home listings, while the remaining four are private rooms.
The rental market in Digby has shrinked by 34% in 2022, but the performance of the properties that remained active implies that there is still room for more entrants. The Average Daily Rate in this town is $152, and the Occupancy Rates stay at the level of 72%. This results in a Revenue of $2,353, generated by the rentals on average every month.
The rental prices in Digby are comparably low, and the competition is not intense at all. Not only is the number of rentals low here, but their location is also beneficial for new investors. There are no clusters larger than two properties in the entire town, meaning a new Airbnb can be opened in any part of Digby and still have almost no competitors around it.
Wolfville has the largest vacation rental market on this list, and there are still only 130 active rentals here. The city is located on the shores of Minas Basin, which is a relatively popular destination for fans of water sports. In fact, the flow of visitors makes Wolfville one of the few rental markets in Nova Scotia that are growing consistently. At the same time, the performance of properties remains quite impressive. It is also one of the few cities, where Private Rooms make up for 32% of all listings.
The Average Daily Rate in the city is $157 with noticeable deviations between different seasons. The Occupancy Rates also experience a significant seasonal effect: they may reach 90% in August and drop all the way down to 39% in February, averaging 64% throughout the year. The properties in Wolfville generate $2,184 worth of monthly Revenue on average.
Expectedly, most rentals in Wolfville are located near water. The most popular location is the northern part of the city center, as it combines easy access to water sports with a well-developed infrastructure for comfortable living. The competition there is quite intense, but all the other parts of Wolfville have significantly milder conditions for new entrants.
Annapolis Royal is another small town in Nova Scotia. There are only ten active properties here, but the surge of visitors in summer has an effect here too, making local Airbnbs sustainable enough. Out of these ten properties, seven are entire home listings, two are private room listings, and one is a shared room. The market has noticeably shrinked because of the pandemic: there used to be more than 30 Airbnbs in Annapolis Royal.
The Average Daily Rate in this town is $152, while the Occupancy Rates average 77%. The average monthly Revenue of property in Annapolis Royal is $2,176 throughout the year, but most of the profits are made in summer. For comparison, the average Revenues in July reached $4,909, while in January, they were only $393.
The investors who decide to launch an Airbnb in this town should be ready for the unique conditions of the local market. The competition is very mild, but the data is not necessarily representative, as there are too few properties here. To attract more visitors, the hosts set Flexible cancellation policies here: it happens with nine out of ten listings.
Lunenburg is a town that is located close to Mahone Bay, which was already covered on this list. The short-term rental markets of these two locations are very similar, although the number of Airbnbs in Lunenburg is almost twice as large. There are 46 properties here, and 33 of them are entire home listings. An average rental in Lunenburg has 1.4 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 3.5 guests at a time.
The ADR in Lunenburg is a bit lower than in Mahone Bay because of the competition: it averages $153 here. Surprisingly, the Occupancy Rates are higher, as they average 75% throughout the year. The Revenue generated by an average property in Lunenburg every month is $2,008. Similarly, the profits are mostly made in summer.
Even though the average monthly Revenue of properties in Lunenburg is almost $500 lower than in Mahone Bay, it still remains an attractive option for new investors. The main reason is the stability of the market: it is larger, meaning the performance data is more accurate. Moreover, it clearly attracts more visitors every year than Mahone Bay.
Kentville is a small town located next to Wolfville. Unlike most other cities on this list, Kentville does not offer quick access to water sports. Nevertheless, many tourists visit the town and make the business here viable. The rental market here is also very small: there are only 22 active rentals in the area. Eight of them are private rooms, while all the other listings are entire homes. On average, a property in Kentville can host up to 5.1 guests and has 2.2 bedrooms.
The Average Daily Rate in this town is $130, while the Occupancy Rates average 67% throughout the year. An average property in Kentville generates $1,447 worth of monthly Revenue. Of course, the sum is affected by a large percentage of cheaper accommodation options in the area, but the performance of entire home Airbnbs is still not as decent as in some other cities on the list.
Investors who decide to launch a short-term rental business in Kentville will be able to benefit from an incredibly mild competition, as the properties are almost evenly spread around the city area. The real estate prices here are also relatively low, but it is important to take into account that the performance data of existing properties is not very representative because of the small sample size.
Middleton has the smallest short-term rental market on the list, as there are only two properties actively operating there. Similarly to Kentville, the town does not have access to water, so most visitors come here for reasons other than water sports. The rental market of Middleton was always small, but the pandemic resulted in most businesses closing: their number used to be around ten.
The ADR in Middleton is $130, and the Occupancy Rates stay at the level of 60%. Local hosts on average receive $1,369 worth of Revenue every month, which is a rather decent result. However, it is important to keep in mind that the data is not very reliable. Taking into account the Occupancy Rates dropped to 10% in November with only two properties operating in the town, a new vacation rental risks to be significantly impacted by the seasonal effect of demand.
Antigonish has a market with 18 active properties, all of which are entire home listings. In 2020, the number of rentals in this town reached 72, so the effect of the pandemic was especially damaging here. As visitation is getting back to normal levels, some investors are considering repopulating the area with short-term rentals. An average property in Antigonish has 1.9 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 3.8 visitors at a time.
The ADR in this town is $121, which is noticeably lower than in most other cities on this list. The Occupancy Rates average 60% throughout the year, resulting in the properties generating $1,279 worth of Revenue on average every month. Most Airbnbs in Antigonish have a flexible cancellation policy, and the most common minimum stay requirement is 1 night here.
New Glasgow is a city located on the shores of Northumberland Strait. The interesting fact about it is that it turned out to be one of the first towns to start recovering from the pandemic. Its short-term vacation rental market has grown by 34% the last quarter, exceeding the number of properties that were available in 2020. In total, there are only 27 active rentals here, and more properties are expected to be opened by summer.
The ADR in New Glasgow is $111, and the Occupancy Rates stay at the level of 67%. On average, the properties generate a Revenue of $1,110 every month here. Expectedly, the demand is very seasonal here as well. The monthly Revenues in summer may reach $3,014, but in winter, they can drop all the way down to $603. Even though most properties are located around the city center, there is still enough space for new Airbnbs to open there.