New year, new you … new house? Most real estate experts predict that the Canadian housing market may calm down and prices drop a little in the coming year, partly due to higher interest rates. However, there are some areas where prices may continue to rise. If location isn’t that important to you, a good strategy for entering the real estate housing market is to look in areas where house prices are low but there is high growth in prices, so that you can someday sell at a decent profit.
If affordability is your main criterion for trying to enter Canada’s real estate market right now, where’s the best place to look? The Canadian Real Estate Association keeps monthly statistics on house prices in various markets in all provinces as well as in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. They publish these statistics about a month or two later, so to bring you information on the cheapest houses you can buy in January 2023 in Canada, we look at the real estate map for November 2022.
British Columbia: B.C. Northern
Average home price: $410,916
Change since November 2021: 1.4 percent
Average home price in province: $904,020
Change since November 2021: -8.9 percent
By far the most expensive housing market Canada has is, well, most of British Columbia but especially the Greater Vancouver area and Victoria. It’s not all gloom and doom if you’re thinking of buying in the province, though, as long as you’re willing to look at more remote markets. The B.C. Northern real estate market is the cheapest in the province and, unlike in those bustling B.C. cities further south, housing prices have shown a little growth rather than significant drops.
This housing market covers the regional districts of Bulkley-Nechako, including the town of Smithers; Cariboo, including the cities of Quesnel and Williams Lake; Fraser-Fort George, including the city of Prince George; Peace River, including the cities of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek; the Northern Rockies, including Fort Nelson; and the North Coast, which includes Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii.
Average home price: $271,688
Change since November 2021: -3.9 percent
Average home price in province: $422,709
Change since November 2021: -1.0 percent
While houses on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster are pretty cheap, there are even more affordable housing markets in the province. Hop across to the western side of 50th Ave and past those tall red border markers, though, and you’re in Alberta’s cheapest housing market. Like just about everywhere else in the province except Calgary, some 500 km to the southwest, Lloydminster has seen a slight drop in average house prices in the past year, so buying here can be good for building equity but right now it’s not the best location for buying an investment property.
Saskatchewan: The Battlefords
MLS® HPI benchmark price: $204,900
Change since November 2021: -2.1 percent
MLS® HPI benchmark price in province: $321,000
Change since November 2021: 1.7 percent
The Battlefords – the city of North Battleford and the town of Battleford on opposite sides of the North Saskatchewan River – are the area to look at if you want to buy in Saskatchewan’s cheapest housing market right now. And that’s not even taking into account the bargains that come with buying a house in winter. However, house prices in the Battlefords have seen a bit of a drop in the past year, unlike in Saskatoon, around 140 km to the southeast.
Manitoba: Portage la Prairie
Average home price: $161,277
Change since November 2021: -10.6 percent
Average home price in province: $330,742
Change since November 2021: -0.7 percent
If you want to buy cheap in Manitoba, Portage La Prairie, some 85 km west of Winnipeg, is the best housing market to look at. If you want to buy cheap and sell quickly at a big profit, however, you’ll be sorely disappointed. In the past year, house prices have dropped throughout the province but in Portage La Prairie, that drop has been has been significant enough that not even the wisest renovations will help you make a decent profit.
Ontario: Timmins, Cochrane & Timiskaming Districts
MLS® HPI benchmark price: $221,229
Change since November 2021: -11.6 percent
Average home price in province: $829,934
Change since November 2021: -10.0 percent
The Timmins, Cochrane and Timiskaming districts were the cheapest housing market in Ontario this time last year and they’re still the cheapest in the province this January. However, where house prices here had seen a huge increase since the beginning of 2020, they’ve seen a similar drop over the past year than for the province as a whole. Still, it might be worth buying in one of the lovely spots in these parts and build equity while you wait for housing to maybe someday become affordable in the GTA again.
Quebec: Saguenay CMA
Average home price: $257,644
Change since November 2021: 14.4 percent
Average home price in province: $476,787
Change since November 2021: 1.1 percent
Quebec as a whole tends to be less expensive and the Saguenay CMA has consistently been one of the Canadian regions with below average house prices for several years now. About 210 km north of Quebec City, Saguenay is currently one of the hottest housing markets in the province too, so it could be a good place to buy if you’re willing to brush up on your French.
New Brunswick: Northern New Brunswick
MLS® HPI benchmark price: $169,300
Change since November 2021: 6.3 percent
MLS® HPI benchmark price in province: $269,800
Change since November 2021: 8.7 percent
If you want to enter the housing market, 2023 is still the year to look east for affordable real estate. New Brunswick is the cheapest province in all of Canada and the most affordable housing market here is Northern New Brunswick. There are worse places to buy a home: Northern New Brunswick includes the beautiful coast stretching from the Acadian Peninsula to Campbellton. House prices have seen an increase over the past year, so try and get that down payment together sooner rather than later.
Nova Scotia: Cape Breton
MLS® HPI benchmark price: $186,300
Change since November 2021: 12.2 percent
MLS® HPI benchmark price in province: $368,600
Change since November 2021: 7.0 percent
Nova Scotia as a whole is where you’ll find incredibly cheap homes for sale in the East Coast right now, especially if you look beyond Halifax and Dartmouth. Cape Breton is the cheapest market in the province but the significant increase in prices over the past year indicates that it’s also one of the hottest markets here. With a good mix of rural, lakeside and coastal, you might plan on buying an investment property but quickly turning it into your dream work-from-home home.
Prince Edward Island
MLS® HPI benchmark price in province: $355,000
Change since November 2021: 8.8 percent
Prince Edward Island tends to have some of the more expensive real estate in Atlantic Canada, especially in Charlottetown. Still, you may be able to afford a home here without having to pool together with 15 of your closest friends. And why would you pay too much to live in a closet in Toronto if you can live the island life and have enough money left over for some cool home decor? House prices in Prince Edward Island have seen a significant increase over the past year, so it’s a good market for buying an investment property too.
Newfoundland and Labrador
MLS® HPI benchmark price in province: $280,200
Change since November 2021: 6.6 percent
Newfoundland and Labrador should be on your bucket list and not just for a visit. Real estate in the province is still very affordable and has seen an increase in prices over the past year that indicates steady growth rather than a buying rush. Prices are higher in St. John’s but just follow the coastline for cheaper, charming seaside communities like Brigus or the infamous Dildo.
Average home price in province: $498,567
Change since November 2021: -5.8 percent
Housing in the Yukon isn’t quite as cheap as you’d think but it’s still significantly more affordable than in most of Ontario and British Columbia. It may be remote too but here you’ll find tiny Canadian towns with gorgeous real estate, like Dawson City with its old-timey architectural style. There has been quite a drop in Yukon house prices in the past year, though, so unlike in those Gold Rush days, this is not the real estate market to go to make a quick buck right now.
Average home price in province: $392,255
Change since November 2021: 3.6 percent
Of Canada’s three territories, the Northwest Territories have the most affordable housing. Not only that, but house prices here have seen a slight increase over the past year, so should you decide that getting away from it all isn’t something you’d like to take literally, you could at least make a return on your investment. Don’t knock the Northwest Territories life though until you’ve had drinks by the fireplace after admiring the Northern Lights.