Canada’s top cities to buy real estate in

Based on value, momentum, economic strength and rental income potential

  17

by

From the April 2015 issue of the magazine.

  17
City skyline in No. 28-ranked Charlottetown (Getty)

City skyline in No. 28-ranked Charlottetown (Getty)

Anyone who’s been to or lived in Edmonton will tell you: the big West Ed Mall isn’t the city’s main attraction. “There’s so much more to Edmonton,” explains Mark Slobodan, realtor with RE/MAX Excellence. Considered the blue collar city of Alberta’s oil patch, much of the wealth comes from tradespeople who work in the oil sands. But locals also know that the city has the distinction of being Alberta’s cultural, governmental and educational centre. The University of Alberta (UofA) makes its home here, and the city’s famous nickname—“Canada’s Festival City”—is due, in part, to the vast number of festivals that are part of the city’s thriving arts scene, most of which is centred around Whyte Avenue (otherwise known as 82nd Avenue).

Still for anyone who lives or works in Edmonton the key to a good quality of life is access to Anthony Henday Drive—the ring road that connects all corners of this rapidly growing Albertan city. “The ring road drastically changed how people lived and worked in Edmonton,” explains Slobodan. “Before you lived near where you worked.” But that’s changed in the last 15 years since construction on this road first began and that’s meant that neighbourhoods in close proximity to the Henday (as it’s commonly referred to) continue to gain in popularity. It’s the primary reason our No. 1 zone topped the list. Located in the northeast quadrant of Edmonton, the communities of Montrose and Newton are just minutes from the ring road—as well as the Rexall Centre, home of the Edmonton Oilers. In fact, developers already started to update the northern section of these two neighbourhoods, the area closest to transit, but it’s still possible to buy an older bungalow for about $275,000.

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For home buyers who want to be a little closer to the art-scene action consider our No. 2 pick: the neighbourhoods of Ritchie, Hazeldean and King Edward Park. “It’s also the only area in the southeast to ride along the riverbank,” says Slobodan, “and anything in the riverbank valley commands top dollar.” But, being on the tail-end of the trendy side of 82nd Avenue also has its advantages: these communities haven’t appreciated in value as quickly as Belgravia, Queen Alexandra, and Garneau—all neighbourhoods in close proximity to the UofA and to the hip part of Whyte Avenue. Our experts feel there is still room for prices to appreciate in these Zone 17 neighbourhoods due, in part, to city officials rezoning places like King Edward Park for redevelopment.

“City officials realized that they needed to redevelop and revitalize the city’s core and the only way to do that is to attract families,” explains Slobodan. “They started with King Edward Park, where they let development have a bit of a free rein.” That’s meant that first-time home buyers have been competing heavily with developers to snatch up the 700 to 800 square-foot bungalows priced, on average, at just under $423,000.

Home buyers and real estate investors should also keep in mind, however, that the City of Edmonton isn’t just focused on redeveloping residential neighbourhoods. Over the last few years there’s been a push to redevelop the city’s downtown core into a commercial and residential hot spot. This redevelopment is anticipated to pull housing prices up, even if continued oil prices are low or stagnant. Just last year Edmonton Oiler’s owner, Daryl Katz, announced the development of the Stantec building—a 62-storey mixed use building that will house 1,700 employees of Stantec engineering, planning and architecture firm, as well as 33 floors of residential condo units. Considering the city’s push to develop and create a vibrant downtown core, anything in the urban northwest will be of value, says Slobodan.


Rank Rank City City Average home price (2014) Average home price (2014) Average home price ratio to average rent (Price to rent ratio) Time to buy in years Time to buy in years Home sales to new listings 1-year price appreciation 5-year price appreciation 5-year price appreciation 10-year price appreciation Average 5-year rent increase Average 5-year rent increase Rental vacancy Discretionary income levels Average GDP growth 2010 to 2014 (%) Projected GDP growth for 2015/2016 (%) Current unemployment rate (2014) (%) Previous year’s unemployment rate (2013) (%)
1 1 Thunder Bay (Ont.) Thunder Bay (Ont.) $208,705 $208,705 0.84  2.7 2.7 67.9 7.4% 8.5% 8.5% 8.5% 21% 21% 2.4% $39,753 2.1 2.5 4.9 6.4
2 2 Calgary (Alta.) Calgary (Alta.) $459,980 $459,980 1.26  3.7 3.7 70.8 5.5% 4.6% 4.6% 3.6% 22% 22% 1.4% $58,779 4.2 3.0 5.5 4.6
3 3 Barrie (Ont.) Barrie (Ont.) $338,624 $338,624 1.04  3.7 3.7 61.1 6.4% 5.7% 5.7% 5.1% 16% 16% 1.7% $44,000 2.1 2.5 5.8 7.2
4 4 Brantford (Ont.) Brantford (Ont.) $275,622 $275,622 1.05  3.4 3.4 74.9 5.3% 5.0% 5.0% 4.7% 14% 14% 2.3% $40,628 2.1 2.5 6.0 7.0
5 5 Edmonton (Alta.) Edmonton (Alta.) $362,244 $362,244 1.07  3.5 3.5 63.9 5.2% 3.6% 3.6% 2.5% 21% 21% 1.7% $49,369 4.2 3.0 5.6 5.2
6 6 Winnipeg (Man.) Winnipeg (Man.) $274,679 $274,679 1.04  3.3 3.3 59.3 3.1% 4.6% 4.6% 5.9% 27% 27% 2.5% $38,373 2.2 2.4 5.4 5.4
7 7 Hamilton (Ont.) Hamilton (Ont.) $405,619 $405,619 1.51  4.4 4.4 73.8 6.0% 6.7% 6.7% 7.0% 15% 15% 2.2% $44,812 2.1 2.5 6.0 7.0
8 8 Regina (Sask.) Regina (Sask.) $314,319 $314,319 1.04  3.3 3.3 45.8 0.2% 4.4% 4.4% 5.2% 30% 30% 3.0% $45,136 3.5 2.5 2.8 3.1
9 9 Guelph (Ont.) Guelph (Ont.) $357,569 $357,569 1.22  3.7 3.7 66.5 3.9% 5.7% 5.7% 6.1% 12% 12% 1.3% $45,994 2.1 2.5 6.7 7.2
10 10 Durham/Oshawa (Ont.) Durham/Oshawa (Ont.) $387,492 $387,492 1.29  3.7 3.7 70.6 9.7% 7.3% 7.3% 6.9% 13% 13% 1.8% $47,698 2.1 2.5 7.9 8.0
11 11 Saskatoon (Sask.) Saskatoon (Sask.) $340,558 $340,558 1.13  3.7 3.7 46.5 2.6% 4.2% 4.2% 4.2% 21% 21% 3.4% $43,200 3.5 2.5 4.2 4.4
12 12 Toronto (Ont.) Toronto (Ont.) $587,121 $587,121 1.67  5.6 5.6 58.2 8.0% 6.7% 6.7% 7.6% 15% 15% 1.6% $47,698 2.1 2.5 7.9 8.0
13 13 Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo (Ont.) Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo (Ont.) $337,216 $337,216 1.22  3.6 3.6 57.3 3.9 3.7% 3.7% 4.8% 13% 13% 2.4% $45,596 2.1 2.5 6.7 7.2
14 14 Greater Sudbury (Ont.) Greater Sudbury (Ont.) $249,895 $249,895 0.97  2.9 2.9 45.9 2.2% 3.0% 3.0% 4.5% 12% 12% 4.1% $44,613 2.1 2.5 6.0 7.2
15 15 Windsor (Ont.) Windsor (Ont.) $187,385 $187,385 0.87  2.4 2.4 58.9 4.5% 4.3% 4.3% 4.1% 8% 8% 4.5% $40,319 2.1 2.5 8.7 9.1
16 16 St. Catharines – Niagara (Ont.) St. Catharines – Niagara (Ont.) $272,922 $272,922 1.03  3.5 3.5 60.2 5.0% 3.7% 3.7% 4.0% 11% 11% 3.6% $39,271 2.1 2.5 7.3 8.6
17 17 Kelowna (B.C.) Kelowna (B.C.) $398,479 $398,479 1.47  5.0 5.0 57.5 6.1% 1.6% 1.6% 1.1% 9% 9% 1.0% $37,078 2.3 2.9 5.1 6.2
18 18 Vancouver (B.C.) Vancouver (B.C.) $810,608 $810,608 2.43  9.1 9.1 58.1 6.2% 1.3% 1.3% 6.6% 13% 13% 1.0% $37,108 2.3 2.9 5.8 6.8
19 19 London (Ont.) London (Ont.) $254,856 $254,856 0.97  3.0 3.0 51.2 3.0% 2.9% 2.9% 3.6% 6% 6% 2.9% $42,184 2.1 2.5 7.4 7.9
19 19 St. John’s (Nfld.) St. John’s (Nfld.) $284,896 $284,896 1.22  2.9 2.9 37.2 0.6% 4.3% 4.3% 6.9% 27% 27% 3.9% $46,543 2.2 1.7 6.5 5.6
21 21 Peterborough (Ont.) Peterborough (Ont.) $279,696 $279,696 1.03  3.5 3.5 51.1 2.9% 3.2% 3.2% 3.4% 9% 9% 3.1% $40,761 2.1 2.5 7.3 7.5
22 22 Trois-Rivières (Que.) Trois-Rivières (Que.) $163,839 $163,839 1.02  2.5 2.5 53.5 4.5% 1.5% 1.5% 3.3% 8% 8% 5.2% $30,522 1.6 1.9 6.0 8.8
23 23 Kingston (Ont.) Kingston (Ont.) $282,360 $282,360 0.93  3.3 3.3 37.8 1.1% 2.6% 2.6% 3.1% 19% 19% 1.9 % $43,486 2.1 2.5 7.8 6.4
24 24 Québec (Que.) Québec (Que.) $263,795 $263,795 1.18  3.4 3.4 48.6 -0.7% 2.7% 2.7% 4.7% 14% 14% 3.1% $34,718 1.6 1.9 5.7 4.8
25 25 Ottawa (Ont.) Ottawa (Ont.) $362,860 $362,860 1.16  3.4 3.4 45.4 1.2% 1.8% 1.8% 3.6% 10% 10% 2.8% $52,959 2.1 2.5 6.8 6.6
26 26 Victoria (B.C.) Victoria (B.C.) $495,403 $495,403 1.78  5.9 5.9 54.8 2.9% -0.3% -0.3% 0.9% 8% 8% 1.5% $37,530 2.3 2.9 5.2 5.2
27 27 Halifax (N.S.) Halifax (N.S.) $276,814 $276,814 0.99  3.3 3.3 45.6 0.7% 1.9% 1.9% 3.0% 14% 14% 3.8% $40,117 0.9 1.4 6.1 6.9
28 28 Charlottetown (PEI) Charlottetown (PEI) $162,928 $162,928 0.69  2.2 2.2 36.2 3.9% 2.6% 2.6% 1.9% 16% 16% 4.9% $38,583 1.2 0.8 9.5 11.3
29 29 Moncton (N.B.) Moncton (N.B.) $163,087 $163,087 0.74  2.1 2.1 42.0 2.3% 1.0% 1.0% 1.7% 13% 13% 8.6% $38,264 0.3 1.1 7.7 9.4
30 30 Abbotsford – Mission (B.C.) Abbotsford – Mission (B.C.) $515,569 $515,569 2.23  6.4 6.4 54.5 5.4% 1.1% 1.1% 4.0% 6% 6% 3.0% $36,305 2.3 2.9 8.1 7.8
30 30 Gatineau (Que.) Gatineau (Que.) $242,016 $242,016 1.11  2.8 2.8 39.4 -0.5% 1.6% 1.6% 3.6% 9% 9% 6.5% $39,150 1.6 1.9 7.2 6.1
31 31 Saguenay (Que.) Saguenay (Que.) $190,673 $190,673 1.13  2.7 2.7 43.7 0.4% 2.7% 2.7% 4.7% 13% 13% 4.2% $32,199 1.6 1.9 9.4 8.2
33 33 Saint John (N.B.) Saint John (N.B.) $169,683 $169,683 0.83  2.2 2.2 35.3 -1.0% -0.2% -0.2% 0.0% 11% 11% 9.0% $39,884 0.3 1.1 7.7 9.4
34 34 Montréal (Que.) Montréal (Que.) $328,307 $328,307 1.52  4.2 4.2 45.8 2.5% 2.3% 2.3% 3.9% 10% 10% 3.4% $33,608 1.6 1.9 7.8 7.9
35 35 Sherbrooke (Que.) Sherbrooke (Que.) $224,222 $224,222 1.27  3.4 3.4 44.9 -1.1% 1.5% 1.5% 3.1% 10% 10% 5.4% $29,763 1.6 1.9 6.8 7.2




SOURCES: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Canadian Real Estate Association; Environics Analytics: WealthScapes 2014

When ranking the top cities not all metrics were weighted equally. Read our full methodology.

 

17 comments on “Canada’s top cities to buy real estate in

  1. In the body of the story you said Brampton but on the list its Brantford. Which is it? Based on the prices number 4 is Brantford, Ontario

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  2. #98 and #58 are on the South Shore as well

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  3. I live in Thunder Bay so this information has to be weighed carefully with what you want in a house. The people working in our new economic growth sectors are not buying houses at the “average” price or even 50% higher. The houses they are looking for cost double that – at minimum – and are not the great value portrayed here. You get more for your money between $400,000 and $500,000 in many other cities than you get in Thunder Bay because inventory is very tight here above $350,000. Our “average price” is skewed by the high number of low-priced sales in older (40’s and earlier) neighbourhoods that are not highly desirable areas. People buy there for one reason – it is what they can afford. There are a couple smaller older desirable neighbourhoods but they are not all like that.

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    • What are you talking about? How are the prices “skewed”? I bought a house in a desirable neighbourhood (Port Arthur – N. Algoma) in October 2014, and I paid $120,000. I have 2 bedrooms, a large yard ,and it was not a “handy-man special”… I’d say $209000 is right on point for a 3bd/2bath.

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      • As a Senior couple, 83 and 79 we also feel that the rinsig Taxes are unfair and not justified, We are on a fixed moderate Pensionwithout any type of Indexing and all the Increases in Taxes and Services result in lowering our Standard of Living. I agree with your comments in the recent Seniors Newspaper, that a lot of our Tax Money is spent without any good Reason. I sent a Note about theSilver Balls to the Mayors Office some time ago and suggested that, if he and Council really feel that they are necessary and represent a Work of Art, they should be taken away from the Whitemud Freeway, where they are a Distraction, and placed in front of the City Hall or the Arts District. A lot of Taxpayers Money is also being wasted in hiring outside Consultants; plus the Fiasco about the proposed new Arena does not seem to end. Mr.Katz should finance the entire Project with his Billions and leave the Taxpayersout of it; hopefully our Mayor shows some Strength and makes the right Decision.All Governments, no Matter which Level, are known for excessive Spending and there is no Consideration for the average Citizen.You may be a lone Voice in City Council, but I believe you are trying to stick up for the Underdog; please keep up your Efforts.I don,t know who my Councillor is.

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  4. Am I the only one who finds these articles absolutely ridiculous? You make a point to say how Saint John, Moncton (and let’s throw in Charlottetown) are low on the list but unless the average job in BC pays 150k a year to start, I don’t see how people can afford these homes. I live in Moncton and was mortgage free at 32 without having to rent half of my house just to be able to afford it. Give me the bottom of this list anyday- at least there people don’t live in 800k town houses with an hour long commute to work.

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    • I don’t know enough about real estate and house prices in Moncton but I do know this. You had an absolutely brutal winter with almost 300 centimetres of snow (300 -not a typo). I also have friends who live in New Brunswick and they constantly complain about the terrible weather. So you can be my guest and live there if it pleases you – I would much rather have an $800,000 townhouse and drive an hour to work than live in a place which has 9 months of winter, hibernate almost year round and have terrible weather conditions. That does not sound like a very appealing lifestyle to meat least here I have great entertainment, great restaurants and nature is at my doorstep when I want it.

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      • I live just outside Saint John and I would like to bring up a few points. I will be in the same boat as initial commenter, mortgage free by 32. I will then have flexibility. You say you would rather spend 800k on a house and drive an hr to work instead of deal with our weather. Well within 5yrs I will be spending my winters in a warm climate (second place in Caribbean). Something I doubt you can do due to your 4k/month mortgage payment. Overall though, I love how you bring up the weather, I have lived across Canada… so lets see the options, Vancouver, albeit beautiful I would take snow over rain. Alberta, do I need to say more? Ontario, ridiculously cold to ridiculously hot with no in between. And “9 months of winter”?… it didnt start snowing until Jan 5th and I went cycling today and it is plus 12… so 3-4months at most, but whatever lets you justify your indebtedness. And re: your last line… we have the best seafood in the world, we are within a days drive to NYC, Montreal, Boston, so entertainment is not lacking, and nature is at our doorstep too.

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  5. There is a disconnect between time to buy and discretionary income. Especially in expensive cities…. What’s the logic?

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  6. Hi:

    I was glad to see that St Catharines made the list. I saw the value and potential in this city and sold a home in the GTA and moved here last year. It is an amazing city and so beautiful. I bought a bungalow in a wonderful neighborhood that has expansive lots, 200 year old trees and is right on the lake. The same house in Oakville would have cost me almost 2 million and in St Catharines, I bought and renovated my home for less than 25% of that. The commute from St Catharines is only 30 minutes to Burlington, so by going 30 minutes west of Burlington I saved, 1.5 million. If you are thinking of retiring, and live in Oakville, you could sell your home, purchase here and bank a considerable amount towards your retirement or retire early. If you are young and just starting out you can actually buy a home and be able to afford to have one spouse stay home with the kids. The commute is doable, the region is lobbying for the go train and right now there is the “Mega bus” which provides an affordable way to commute to Toronto. I think it is a great city that has so much potential so I am glad to see it is not going unnoticed.

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  7. what happened to Brampton, ON. the 12th largest city???

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    • We use the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation list of 35 cities as a starting place for our rankings. Based on their analysis, Brampton is not yet large enough to be included in the top 35, which is why it is not included on our list. (Please see this report on their website for an idea of what they rank: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/esub/61500/61500_2015_Q01.pdf).

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  8. Grande Prairie, AB is one of North America’s fastest growing cities…you are bound to get your money back and more if you invest there. The population is expected to double in 10 years!

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  9. What about Milton Ont. fastest growing city in Ontario maybe Canada!! Its boomtown here baby!! People buy new builds don’t even live in them flip them in 6 months and make 50 grand.Low unemployment everybody’s rich. Very few rentals available so rent is at a premium rate. The city is going to double in size from 120,000 now to 250,000 in the next 10 yrs.

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  10. The Picton ,On area is on the move ( Prince Edward County)

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  11. As a mortgage broker who has lived in Guelph and worked in the area for over 15 years, the city has been a great place to invest in real estate. The real opportunities are the down town and its redevelopment of brown fields. The south end is a great area for commuters with families as it’s still reasonably priced compared to Milton.

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  12. This is Dec 2015 ..Your Calgary Alberta estimates are WAY off ..Try Half the price today .If That .

    Reply

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