cheapest canadian cities homeownership

These Canadian cities have the cheapest first-year homeownership costs

As if being forced to shell out over a million dollars for an average-priced Toronto home weren't bad enough already, buying a place actually costs a lot more than what the property is listed for.

Between closing costs, down payments, property taxes, insurance, and monthly mortgage payments, the first year of homeownership, specifically, can get pretty expensive, potentially surprising those who aren't prepared with some heavy, unexpected financial demands.

"Never has the dream of becoming a homeowner in Canada felt just like that — a dream," reads a new report from Point2 on how first-year homeownership costs vary in different markets across the country.

"As homeownership rates declined to a 20-year low back in 2021, potential buyers might still be inclined to postpone ownership plans due to ongoing inflation and out-of-reach home prices. The first year of homeownership, in particular, can be daunting, given the down payment, closing costs, first mortgage payments, homeowners' insurance, and property taxes — all new to first-time homebuyers."

Released by the international real estate search portal on Wednesday, the report compares Canada's 50 most-populous cities, comparing them against one another using data from two categories: upfront costs (assuming a 20 per cent down payment based on local benchmark prices) and annual recurring costs.

Analysts found that the first year of homeownership is literally five times as expensive in some Ontario cities than it is in Quebec.

Only one single Ontario city (Greater Sudbury) actually made Point2's list of the top 15 most-affordable places for first-year homeowners in Canada. Nine cities were in Quebec, two were in Saskatchewan, and one each were located within the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland.

"Feeling perpetually priced out of today's market, buyers have to decide whether to wait it out or bite the bullet — and the cost of the first year of homeownership is essential to making that choice in good conscience," reads the Point2 report.

"For example, the first year of homeownership averaged more than $315,000 in Ontario and British Columbia cities such as Richmond Hill, Markham ($383,469), Oakville ($378,122), Vancouver, and Toronto ($315,031)."

Richmond Hill, Ontario, actually posted the highest tab for first-year homeowners at a staggering $400,700 (a 20 per cent downpayment alone makes up $281,700 of that figure, while closing costs come in at an average of $22,947.

Toronto was found to have the highest closing costs in Canada at an average of $28,951, but registered as the sixth-most expensive market overall for someone's first year as a homeowner.

By contrast, first year ownership costs averaged only $74,342 in Saguenay, QC, which took the top spot on Point2's list of affordable markets.

Without further ado, here are the 15 of Canada's 50 most-populous cities where your first year of homeownership would be cheapest right now:

  1. Saguenay, QC
  2. Trois-Rivières, QC 
  3. Québec City, QC 
  4. Regina, SK 
  5. St. John's, NL 
  6. Lévis, QC 
  7. Winnipeg, MB
  8. Edmonton, AB  
  9. Sherbrooke, QC  
  10.  Saskatoon, SK 
  11. Terrebonne, QC
  12. Gatineau, QC  
  13. Greater Sudbury, ON  
  14. Longueuil, QC 
  15. Laval, QC

"Considering the measures taken to make it easier for Canadian individuals to buy a home —such as the tax-free First Home Savings Account plan or the recently introduced Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act— there's hope that ownership rates might start to inch up," concluded Point2 when releasing its findings.

"But, despite financial aid programs and dwindling competition for already-scarce inventory, the costs of homeownership weigh on any potential buyer."

Lead photo by

Wikimedia Commons

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