Best Cities to Buy Real Estate in Canada

Best Canadian Cities and Towns to Buy Property

Some eager home buyers in Toronto, Mississauga, MontrealCalgary and Vancouver are waking from their Corona Virus hibernation to check on the latest home price trends.

Something has happened that a lot of buyers and sellers might not be aware of.  There’s a migration shift happening. The workplace has changed along with the shopping habits of 33 million Canadians.

A noticeable trend of moving out of urban areas is visible due to work insecurity and the dangers of Covid 19. It’s a trend visible in the US too (see our US best cities to buy property report).

The Rise of Work at Home and Real Estate

Canadian employers have been thrust reluctantly into a new world of remote work, meaning there is a new detachment from physical workplaces. Of course the remote work trend began a long time ago. There was firm resistance to it from old school employers who believed companies needed work done in one physical location, whether an office or factory location.

Why would they believe that? Work provides social opportunities, feeling of belonging, and to ensure workers were doing the work.  Another benefit might be that wage demands could be suppressed.

Workers Want Release from the Costly Commute

A good portion of workers must still travel to banks, auto shops, retail stores, dentist offices, and gas stations where products or services are delivered. But for everyone else, including commuting office workers, the work at home opportunity is a welcome blessing.

Free of an expensive and perilous to health journey to an urban office everyday, they’re discovering the freedom of working at home. The extra savings are no joke. Some young parents are saving on gasoline for the commute and restaurant meals, along with 2 to 3 hours of commute time, plus not having to pay $1000 to $4000 per month for day care costs for their kids.

These are critical cost savings that keep them above water and out of foreclosure or eviction.

Big City Rents are Falling

Last month’s Toronto housing stats for April revealed rent prices dropped in Toronto and Vancouver, two locations with a lot of apartments, condos for rent. The thought is that renters are moving out of the expensive, dense, congested downtown areas for other locations.

And there are new student housing vacancies too, along with Airbnb vacancies adding to the increasing rental stock. This hasn’t happened for a decade.

For the City of Toronto, it’s a tough situation, but for buyers looking beyond the Corona Virus period, there could be some bargain properties up for grabs.

Some Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal employers are agreeing to loosen their grip on employees and let them work from home, or even work anywhere they want to. If this employer trend deepens, it allows many workers to leave the Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal regions completely.

Moving Away from the Cities to Rural Peace

If you’ve never heard of the nomad lifestyle, you know know what it’s about — freedom to combine work accomplished with travel and experience.

This means workers will likely travel just outside big cities such as Mississauga, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. And some will travel further, going well out to find very cheap accommodation or to buy a house in a rural town.

Stats show houses in rural areas are drying up fast. Just in case you were thinking of moving to Banff, Canmore, Golden, Hope, Kelowna, Wasaga Beach, Huntsville, Shuswap Lake, or Muskoka, thousands of other are looking there too. They’re all researching the best Canadian cities to buy real estate or to move to.

So let’s take a look at some ratings of the best cities.  Salmon Arm BC is in a beautiful area and yet the average home price is not all that affordable.  Tecumseh is another rural area with peace and quiet, north of Toronto.  Even in these towns and villages, homes do not come cheap, if you can find one.

Maclean’s Top Cities

Top Canadian Cities to Buy Real Estate. Screenshot courtesy of Macleans Magazine.

Maclean’s Most Affordable Rankings

For anyone coming from the big cities, homes and quiet lifestyles in these communities can be very affordable.  Quebec and Northern Ontario dominate the list.

Top Canadian Cities to Buy Real Estate. Screenshot courtesy of Macleans Magazine.

Low Mortgage Rates Make it Inviting

Given Canadian mortgage rates are at the lowest level ever, it’s an ideal opportunity to sell in an expensive urban area and move to a rural area. Sellers are left with a big bank account and locking in a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. Life can be good.

House buyers have criteria for the quality of the house, the neighborhood, local amenities, and property tax costs for sure. Price will be number one for buyers, low rent for young remote workers, and for investment buyers, price/rent ratios and rent price trends.

Your best selection will depend on why you’re moving.

Alberta Presents an Opportunity

Cities in Alberta deserve special mention. Given the oil price drop, Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Edmonton get special mention. Only in these citie will you find a impressive home for much less than it’s worth. And the oil industry will revive at some point to lift the depressed economy creating a big upside for home equity growth.

As part of your search for the best Canadian cities to buy real estate, you’ll want to weigh in the provincial sales taxes, property taxes, home building fees as they differ greatly in these communities. For certain, when you shop in some remote northern towns, medical services, grocery prices, and heating costs are big considerations.

Good luck in your investigation of the best cities to buy homes or property.

When is the best time to buy a house? Wondering which are the best US cities to buy real estate? See our updated report.

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