Cheapest Place to Live in Canada
Buying a home in Canada can be expensive. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you don’t have to be rich to find a beautiful home in a safe and desirable area. It’s even possible to buy on a single income. You just need to know where to look. Popular places like downtown Toronto and Vancouver have increased prices due to demand, so the secret is to cast your eyes -and your search- off the beaten trail.
Below is a list of some of the most affordable Canadian cities.
1. Sherbrooke, Quebec
Most sources agree that Sherbrooke one of the most affordable cities in Canada. Located approximately 160 kms east of Montreal, it has so many schools and universities that it is essentially a student town, with the relaxed lifestyle and budget-friendly prices to match. Sherbrooke’s cost of living is 15.6% lower than the national average, making it the most inexpensive city in the country with a population of over 100,000.
2. St. Catharines, Ontario
With a cost of living that is 0.5% below the national average, St. Catharines is one of the most affordable Canadian cities. It is primarily a base for the local service and manufacturing industries. In April 2018 it was confirmed that St. Catharines will receive almost $3 million from the Ontario government to finance the construction of affordable housing high-rises in the city.
3. Burgeo, Newfoundland and Labrador
With median house prices at $29,500, Burgeo is easily a contender for the most inexpensive place to live in Canada. Although a small community with less than 1500 residents, it is a popular tourist destination thanks to its proximity to Sandbanks Provincial Park, so-called because its flat, sandy beaches and dunes offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the province. Famed nature writer Farley Mowat called Burgeo home for five years.
4. Port Alice, British Columbia
A beautiful community on northern Vancouver Island, Port Alice is another contender for the cheapest place. The median home price is only $88,000, putting home ownership within the grasp of people who might have a hard time finding an affordable apartment in nearby Vancouver. If you want to enjoy the west coast lifestyle of nature hikes and surfing but have been deterred by high real estate prices, Port Alice could be for you.
5. Alma, New Brunswick
Ask anyone in New Brunswick, “Where is the cheapest place to live in Canada?” and most of them will direct you to Alma. The average cost to buy a house is $76,950. The village is tiny with less than 300 residents but amenities are plentiful, the people are friendly, and it’s next door to Fundy National Park, where you can witness breathtaking waterfalls and some of the highest tides in the world.
6. Kelowna, British Columbia
With a cost of living that is 3.7% below the national average, Kelowna may not be the cheapest place to live, but it’s very affordable by BC standards. It is located in the famed and picturesque Okanagan Valley and has an economy primarily based on wine production and tourism. Kelowna’s population of retirement-age residents is growing, suggesting that it is one of the best Canadian cities to call home after retirement.
7. Halifax, Nova Scotia
A popular tourist attraction due to its rich Maritime history, Halifax is another attractive yet affordable place to live. Although the population is currently at over 400,000 and growing, property prices remain low, with the average being $290,000 in 2016. That’s impressive for a provincial capital. The job market in Halifax is also lively, prompting The Loop to classify it as the cheapest city to live in Canada due to low house prices and high job opportunities.
8. Regina, Saskatchewan
A couple of years ago the Huffington Post nominated Regina as another contender for the most affordable city in Canada. In 2016 the average house price was $312,000 compared to nearby Saskatoon’s $361,000. Job creation is strong here, which is why its affordability rating is so high. Last year the population was an estimated 253,200, so it’s a decent-sized city that more people can afford to call home.
9. Edmonton, Alberta
When asked, “What is the cheapest place to live in Canada?” most Albertans will tell you to check out Edmonton. Like Halifax and Regina, it’s a provincial capital that’s surprisingly affordable. Last year’s median house price was $389,330 (Alberta’s other major city, Calgary, has an average price of $559,484) and the local job market is one of the least competitive in Canada. If you don’t mind the fact that for over half of the year the temperature is at or below freezing, Edmonton is definitely worth checking out.
10. Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John is the biggest city in New Brunswick and has an average house price of $149,900, making it one of the most affordable ‘big’ cities to live in. It was primarily a shipbuilding city, but once large-scale vessel production ended in 2003, it turned to tourism as an income mainstay, greeting over 1.5 million visitors a year, many of them from incoming cruise ships. Although property prices are low, job prospects are few compared to other affordable Canadian cities. Just something to bear in mind when you’re weighing your options.
11. Kingston, Ontario
Located on the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario, Kingston is nationally acclaimed as the best place to retire to in Canada. The median property price is slightly over $300,000 and it has a first-rate entertainment and restaurant scene, making Kingston an irresistible combination of big-city amenities and small-town charm. The quality of life is first-rate, with the sun shining around 45% of the entire year.
When you’re trying to decide where to live, your primary considerations are affordability, employment prospects, and quality of life. The cities on this page offer an appealing combination of all three. Now all you have to do is choose!
Images attribution: Wikiedia.org