A preference for renting over owning in downtown Halifax is lowering the price of condos.

In Halifax, 90 per cent of new residential construction is rental units. 

Construction will begin in the next few weeks on Harris East, a 56-unit building located on Maynard and Harris streets in the north end. 

David Graham of Atlantic Developments believes a 450-square-foot unit starting at $199,000 will increase demand for condominiums. 

"I don't know that people are buying condos, because I don't think developers have been building condos," he said. 

A Royale LePage house price survey in 2013 put the average standard condo price at $215,950. 

'Lock-and-leave' lifestyle

Tim Andrews, a market analyst at the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said retirees are driving the market. 

"As people get a little bit older, they're perhaps interested in getting into one floor living, or they're perhaps interested in that lock-and-leave lifestyle so they can spend four to six weeks in Florida," he said. 

Graham said Atlantic Developments targets a younger buyer. 

"At that level of price, we are targeting young professionals typically.  Which is what we have here at [Gottingen Street's] Theatre Lofts, the 25- to 40-year-old market," he said. 

But he has noticed a strong market from older customers. 

"The outliers could be someone who's single at 55, or somebody who's moved on in their life and they want to get rid of their own home or someone who has moved in to the city," he said.