Would you describe yourself as house-poor? Are you scraping together money for a down payment on a home the size of your parents’ tool shed? There’s a solution to all this house-price madness: move to Moncton.
The New Brunswick city is the cheapest one in Canada to buy property, with the average price in June being $157,124, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That makes Vancouver’s average price of $772,569 and Toronto’s of $542,174 look even more absurd.
Across the country, the actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in May was $388,910, an increase of 3.7 per cent from the same month last year.
Here’s a look at five of the cheapest cities to buy a house in Canada. Start packing.
1. Moncton, N.B.
Built on the site of an Acadian settlement known as Le Coude (The Bend) on the Petitcodiac River, this city of 69,000 is a major sports tourism hub that also has short commutes and beautiful nearby beaches. Moncton was named one of the best places to live and work in Canada by Chatelaine, and Readers Digest recently called it the most polite city in Canada.
2. Windsor-Essex , Ont.
Average house price: $174,396. Here you’ll find quaint waterfront villages, lush farmlands, fragrant vineyards, an outdoor sculpture garden, the largest concentration of greenhouses in North America, and the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, the biggest venue of its kind in the Caesars chain.
As the southernmost point in all of Canada, Windsor-Essex — which is at the same latitude as northern California and some of Europe’s finest wine regions — is one of the most agriculturally productive areas in the entire country.
3. St. John. N.B.
Average house price: $182,129. Situated on the Bay of Fundy, the home of Moosehead beer was Canada’s first city, incorporated in 1785. With a population of about 70,000, the city has preserved many of its heritage buildings in its uptown core, giving it a unique and charming feel. A couple of years back, St. John’s citizens were described as the happiest in the country by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Information technology, advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare and tourism sectors form the bulk of Saint John’s economic base.
4. Thunder Bay, Ont.
Average house price: $199,642. Located on the north shore of Lake Superior — the world’s largest freshwater lake -- Thunder Bay is the sunniest city in Eastern Canada. With a population of about 109,000, the “forest capital” of Canada is increasingly becoming a hub for knowledge-based industries, primarily in the fields of molecular medicine and genomics.
It’s ranked as the sixth most-culturally diverse community of its size in North America, with Finnish, Italian, Scottish, Ukrainian, Polish, French, Aboriginal, Chinese and Croatian being some of the most common ethnic backgrounds
5. Lethbridge, Alta.
Average house price: 239,097
Small-town charm and warm Chinook winds characterize this sunny Southern Alberta spot, which has a population of about 90,000. It’s home to two post-secondary institutions. Intersected by the Oldman River, the city has one of the largest systems of urban parks in North America. Besides agriculture, the city’s economy is based in health, education, retail, hospitality sectors.