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Canada Mapped

Canada’s most expensive cities

We've mapped the average price of a house by city, and compared that with the local cost of living.
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Greg J. Smith, January 29, 2014 3:05:19 PM

Real estate markets wax and wane, but which ones are the most expensive in the country? And, which ones are growing or shrinking? This week, we dug into data showing December and November average house prices for several cities to answer exactly these questions. Here is what we found:

First off, to the surprise of no-one, we found that the most expensive real estate market in Canada can be found in Vancouver, where it costs a whopping $825,653 (on average) for a house. This astronomical price does kind of make sense when you consider the fact that Vancouver was recently recognized as the second most expensive housing market in the world (Hong Kong is the most expensive). Nearby, Victoria is a bargain in comparison, where the average price is only $477,692—but December prices are up 6% from a month earlier. Heading to Alberta reveals even better deals, with prices of $449,124 and $356,473 in Calgary and Edmonton. Saskatoon and Regina are even cheaper at $331,893 and $305,411, and the market in the latter is dropping, so there are bargains to be found there.

Related: The “why” behind expensive Canadian housing

Bouncing to Central Canada we see that Sudbury is the cheapest city in Ontario to buy a house at an average price of $199,182. Toronto is of course, quite high at $541,637 but still reasonable compared to Vancouver. Prices in Ottawa, meanwhile, are similar to Edmonton. The big surprise in Ontario is Hamilton, where houses are $396,321 but prices increased 8% from November. We could not unfortunately get current data for Montreal and Quebec, but the prices there are (perhaps unexpectedly) in line with the Prairies. Zooming to the Maritimes reveals big deals with average prices of $190,278 and $273,792 in Saint John and Halifax.

Related: Real estate market predictions for 2014

Housing prices are a great metric for considering the ‘cost’ of various Canadian cities but real estate is not the only metric we can use—there is also average annual expenditure per household. What good is a cheap house if the culture of the city/province you live in is extremely expensive? If you mouseover each of the cities on the map, you’ll see their average household expenditures and you can can compare that to the provincial average. Some observations: Alberta households tend to spend the most in Canada at approximately $87,000 (Calgarian households spend approximately $95,000 a year!). British Columbia and Ontario are the second most expensive provinces at $74,000 and $77,000 respectively and the cheapest and average spending drops into the $60,000 range in the Maritimes.

The big takeaways from this map: Don’t buy in Vancouver, but invest in Hamilton.

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