Tell anyone that you’re looking to buy a house and you’re sure to be met with sympathetic groans if not outright laughter. Especially if you’re a first-time home-buyer, finding a house in a city you like that’s in your price range is kind of like spotting a zebra in cottage country; not completely impossible, but very very unlikely.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. There are quite a few hidden gems throughout Canada where not only are prices affordable, but the area is also seeing steady growth, which means you’ll see the value of your home increase quickly. These places also offer the qualities you might like about big cities like Vancouver or Toronto, without the price-tag.
House prices are based on averages for a standard, detached home in the city.
Victoria – $586,000
Victoria is like Vancouver’s more polite cousin. They have all the great things Vancouver does (minus the hockey team), but at a fraction of the cost. You want a mild climate? Check. A place near the water? Check. A beautiful city? Check. And all for a lot less than Vancouver.
Vernon – $467,000
What is it with B.C. and cities that start with the letter “V”? Anyway, Vernon is farther inland so you won’t be on the coast; however, it’s surrounded by lakes — so you won’t be starving for water fun. It’s a lot smaller than Victoria, but that could be part of its charm.
Regina – $314,000
According to realtor, Monte Burris, Saskatchewan is quite the growing province. The capital city is seeing a lot of growth too after taking a hit from oil prices. If you want to live in a capital without Toronto prices, take a look at the birthplace of Deadpool.
Montreal – $350,000
Montreal seems like it would be really expensive to live in, but apparently, it’s not too bad just yet. The city is seeing massive growth though, so you might want to get on it fast if this is your dream location. Montreal is a cool alternative with all the vibrance of a young North American city, and all the history and culture of an old European one. We highly recommend you learn some French before moving there though.
Thunder Bay – $219,000
If you’re looking to move out of Toronto (and aren’t afraid of the cold), Thunder Bay is where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck. Sell a house in TO, and you can afford a small mansion in T-Bay (that’s only a slight exaggeration). Here’s the best part: compared to the average yearly income in the city, houses are super affordable.
Guelph – $442,000
If you want/need to be farther south, Guelph is shaping up to be an incredible Toronto alternative. They have all the amenities of the big city like shopping, entertainment and that “city feel” at a fraction of the cost for a home. Plus, Toronto is just a GO ride away if you need a 6ix fix.
Barrie – $470, 000
Also just a train ride from the big city? Barrie. Same deal as Guleph, just north rather than west. It’s got all the culture of an independent city with the bonus of being close to pretty much of southern Ontario. Though it’s one of the most expensive places to rent in Canada, the city’s rapid expansion is making it a pretty sweet spot for owning property. Plus, who doesn’t want lakefront property (although it will cost you significantly more than the average price we gave you)?
Moncton – $168,000
If you’re looking to buy your first home and settle down in one city for a while, Moncton might just be perfect for you. While lots of the local young people are moving out for the bigger cities, Moncton is a great place to put down roots and raise a family. Plus, with the current housing market, the average cost of a house is less than two times the average income (that’s incredible!). And if you need another reason to move here, the city is on the Petitcodiac River, also known as the Chocolate River. Mmmm!
Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown – $178,000
Last but certainly not least, way out on the East coast, is quaint, little Charlottetown P.E.I. All the Maritime culture and weather, with beaches and the best potatoes in Canada (we assume). Plus, you just can’t beat those housing prices. Check out this hidden treasure if you’re looking to settle down in the Maritimes.