If you’re looking for a city that has rock-bottom real estate prices, respectable household incomes and good job prospects, then look no further than Moncton, N.B. With an average house price of just $155,500, Moncton holds the No. 1 spot on our ranking of the best places to buy real estate in Canada. It was one of only four cities out of 35 that got top marks on our value ranking, earning an A. In fact, given Moncton’s relatively high average household income of $68,819, it would take only two and a bit years to buy a home. (Compare that to Vancouver, where it takes over seven years.)
Despite the low house prices, Moncton also gets top marks when it comes to the local economy. This city of more than 126,000 has seen its population grow by 6% over the last four years—one of the highest rates of growth in the cities we tracked. Newcomers find jobs easily in this bilingual town, whose main industries include health care, small business, management and retail sales.
“Housing is so cheap here and you get so much more than you do in the U.K.,” says Paul Harris, a recent home buyer from Britain who had visited Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia several times before settling in Moncton last year. “We have a two-acre lot with a view of the water,” says Harris. “It’s a four-bedroom bungalow with 2,200 sq ft of living space and we paid just $152,000. A similar house would have cost us $1.2 million in the U.K.—if we could find one.”
There are three main communities in Moncton: Moncton proper, Dieppe (which is 95% French and has a population of 25,000) and Riverview. And while it helps if you speak French, it’s not mandatory. There are two national parks close by for nature lovers who enjoy hiking, skiing or camping—Fundy National Park and Kouchibouguac National Park on the central eastern shore. For a good place to start your real estate search, check out Riverview, a bedroom community. If you want space and lots of it, consider an acreage just outside Moncton city limits complete with a spacious home, trees and a beautiful view. “The quality of life here is remarkable,” says Harris. “I don’t think people here really understand how lucky they are.”