Canada’s 10 most affordable housing markets
August 5, 2022
The 10 least expensive housing markets in Canada based on the price per square foot are primarily in Atlantic Canada and on the Prairies and include two larger Canadian cities.
The sixth annual price per square foot survey released July 27 by Century 21 Canada compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30, 2022, to the same period last year and in previous years.
According to the survey, Saint John, NB, has the least expensive homes in the country at an average of $163 per square foot—nearly 10 times less costly than the priciest homes in Canada located on Vancouver’s West Side with an average of $1,421 per square foot.
‘Rounding out the top four least expensive cities (all in the Atlantic region) are St. John’s ($167), Fredericton ($170) and Moncton ($173).
Five of the rest of the top ten least expensive are all on the Prairies where a Regina condo sells for an average of $194 per square foot and a condo in Edmonton (ranked tenth) is an average $222 per square foot.
While sales have cooled in 2022, compared to the first half of 2021, the study found prices continue to increase.
“We recognize the concerns that some might have because of interest rates, but the first half of 2022 showed growth in nearly every regional market in the country,” said Brian Rushton, chief operating officer of Century 21 Canada. “The highest point of the boom may have passed, but the trend is still towards higher prices.”
The regional price spread, however, has spurred a migration of buyers to lower-priced markets, as people began to realize they could work from home from anywhere in the country.
This shift has benefited Atlantic markets. And it has extended to the resort area of Kelowna, B.C. where prices average between $402 and $463 a square foot—cheaper than every Ontario market surveyed except Owen Sound.
“A good handful of people have come in from [Ontario] into Kelowna on that very theme – they were able to do their job wherever they wanted to be. Even though the prices have increased considerably, it’s still a bargain,” Rushton said.
This underscores that many buyers are weighing factors such as location, convenience and amenities into their purchase decisions rather than size.
While rising interest rates had yet to have an impact during the survey period, which covered the first six months of the year, Rushton expects a change.
“Builders have pretty much stopped anything on spec at the moment,” he says. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the second half. I don’t think anyone really has a crystal ball on this.”