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Canada real estate: The most affordable cities for housing in the country



A recent Royal LePage survey reveals that many Canadians are considering moving to more affordable cities to escape high housing costs in the Greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal areas. The survey, which included 900 residents from Canada’s largest cities, found that 50% would think about purchasing a home in a cheaper city if they could secure a job or work remotely. This number rises to 60% among renters and 45% among homeowners.


Thunder Bay, Ontario, emerged as the most affordable city for homebuyers, requiring just 22.2% of household monthly income for mortgage payments. The affordability ranking is based on median household income data and home prices, with mortgage payments calculated using a three-year, fixed-term rate of 5.71%, amortized over 25 years with a 20% down payment.


Saint John, New Brunswick, followed as the second most affordable city, where 25.1% of monthly income is needed for mortgage payments. Other affordable cities include Red Deer, Alberta (25.7%), Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (28.5%), and Edmonton, Alberta (28.9%). The survey highlights that no British Columbia cities made the affordability list.


Interestingly, Edmonton ranks as the top choice for relocation among residents from Toronto and Vancouver if they could find a job or work remotely. Quebec City is the most popular destination for those living in Greater Montreal.


Karen Yolevski, Chief Operating Officer at Royal LePage, commented on the trend, stating, “There’s an old saying in real estate, ‘drive until you qualify.’ As housing affordability continues to worsen, many Canadians are seriously considering relocating to less expensive cities to get a foot on the property ladder.”


Statistics Canada data shows a significant net migration from Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, with over 132,000 people moving within their provinces in 2022-2023, though this is down from more than 148,000 in 2021-2022. The pre-pandemic yearly average was just over 42,000.


The survey, conducted by Leger Opinion between May 13 and May 16, has a margin of error of +/- 3%, 19 times out of 20, and results are weighted to reflect the latest census figures.


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