Finding Cheap Places to Buy Houses in Ontario
Whether you’re looking to relocate to a small, medium-sized, or large city on a budget, we’ve got you covered!
By Emily Southey | 8 minute read
If you’re looking to find an affordable house in Ontario, look no further. Below, you will discover the cheapest places to buy houses in the province.
What is an affordable housing market?
Before you dive into our list of the most affordable places to buy property in Ontario, let’s consider what an affordable housing market is. No matter what size place you’re looking to buy, no one wants to overspend on a home. But how can you identify which housing markets are the most affordable? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as comparing listing prices in different cities. Rather, you must consider both the average listing price of a home with the average household incomes in that area. This is how you determine if the market is affordable. For example, the cost of a three-bedroom home might be significantly cheaper in a small city farther away from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but the professional opportunities and average household incomes may also be significantly less. Therefore, the upfront cost of purchasing a home in a small city may be less, but if the average income is low or the unemployment rate is high, the low purchase price may not be as favourable as you think. If you need help determining which housing markets are affordable in Ontario, consider hiring a realtor. They may have more insight into current market trends and be able to inform you of the cheapest places to buy a house right now.
15 places to find cheap homes in Ontario
For a complete list of the best places to find cheap homes in Ontario, keep reading.
Ontario’s most affordable small cities
Located in Renfrew County on the Ottawa River, Deep River is a small town of just 4,000 residents. It is known for its scenic beaches and countless cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails. The average home price in Deep River is $217,000.
Marathon, on the north shore of Lake Superior, is in the Thunder Bay District. It is a safe, quaint town, home to just over 3,000 people. It is also an economic hub and the vast majority of the population is under 45 years of age, making it a young and vibrant locale. Plus, the housing prices are extremely affordable, with the average home sitting at $134,000.
“The most affordable housing markets in Ontario can currently be found in the small cities of Deep River, Marathon, Smooth Rock Falls, Englehart, and Rainy River, the medium-sized cities of Thunder Bay, Guelph, Ajax, Barrie, and North Bay, and the large cities of Ottawa, Windsor, London, Sudbury, and Kingston.”
Smooth Rock Falls
A natural oasis, Smooth Rock Falls is in northeastern Ontario and is home to approximately 1,500 residents. Average housing prices stand at just over $100,000, making it an ideal spot for first-time homebuyers. Even better than its affordability, the area has tons of exciting activities like fishing, hunting, hiking, and snowmobiling.
Roughly halfway between North Bay and Timmins lies the northeastern Ontario city of Englehart. Here, the average price of a home is $132,000. The population is approximately 1,500 and the area is known for fishing, hunting, and nearby Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park.
The last affordable small city in Ontario on this list is Rainy River. Rainy River is a town of under 1,000 residents in northwestern Ontario, on the border of Minnesota and next to the picturesque Lake of the Woods. The average home price is around $100,000 in this charming border town, making it one of the cheapest small cities to buy a home in the province.
Ontario’s most affordable medium-sized cities
Kicking off the list of Ontario’s most affordable medium-sized cities is Thunder Bay. With housing prices averaging $220,000 in the region, it has one of the most affordable housing markets in the province (it’s also one of the cheapest places to buy a cottage in Ontario). It is located two hours from Toronto by plane or 15 hours by car and is known for having one of the best economies in northern Ontario. Natural beauty also abounds here, with Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park (home to the second tallest waterfall in Ontario), the Cascade Conservation Area, the Mission Island Marsh Conservation Area, and the Sleeping Giant all located in Thunder Bay.
Guelph is another medium-sized city that consistently ranks as one of the most affordable in the province. It offers an ideal blend of big city living and small-town charm. Plus, it’s conveniently located only 45 minutes from Toronto, has a low crime rate, a high standard of living, and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the province. It also boasts some of the best breweries in the province and is home to the well-regarded University of Guelph. On average, houses cost $500,000 here.
Ajax is a city in the GTA located east of Toronto. Beyond being one of the most affordable areas of the GTA, Ajax has experienced major population growth in the past few years. It is nestled between Pickering and Whitby on Lake Ontario, and is home to several wildlife reserves and natural sanctuaries and parks. It is also an economic hub with great cultural diversity, making it one of the GTA’s top suburbs.
Barrie is another city that has seen considerable growth in recent years. And yet it remains one of the most affordable medium-sized cities in the province. Located roughly one hour north of Toronto, it combines laid-back cottage country vibes with close proximity to the big city. This makes it an ideal spot for people who work in Toronto, as the commute is relatively short and there are several public transit options, including GO Transit. Average home prices in Barrie stand at $570,000. This makes it an affordable spot for young families. Plus, its location north of Toronto means it’s also not far from cottage country or winter destinations, like Blue Mountain Ski Resort. Making Barrie even more attractive to homebuyers are its low unemployment rates (among the lowest in the country) and its thriving economy.
North Bay is the final medium-sized city on our list of the cheapest places to buy homes in Ontario. For a long time, homebuyers have favoured the province’s southern suburban cities over those in the northern part of the province, but that is starting to change. Cities like North Bay, roughly four hours directly north of Toronto, are quickly rising in popularity. Unlike other rural areas, North Bay offers access to city-like amenities but with lower tax rates and better land development. The low cost of living, abundant green space, scenic freshwater lakes, and modern infrastructure are just a few reasons Canadian homebuyers are choosing to settle in North Bay. For example, the area sits on Lake Nipissing and is located only an hour from Algonquin Provincial Park.
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Ontario’s most affordable large cities
Ottawa is the first of Ontario’s most affordable large cities. Homebuyers might be surprised to learn that the Canadian capital has some of the most affordable homes of any major city in Canada. This is in part thanks to the average median income, which is higher than that of many other similar-sized cities. The average cost of a home in Ottawa is just under $700,000. The city is consistently ranked one of the top places to live in Canada, in part due to its affordability but also due to its culture, economy, schools, bilingualism, and abundance of Canadian history.
Windsor is the second large city on our list of Ontario’s cheapest places to buy a home. Windsor is home to over 230,000 people, has some of the top technology companies in the country, and is conveniently located along the American border (across from Detroit). Average home prices stand at roughly $630,000. The benefits of living in Windsor include its affordability, accessibility, safety, and diversity. Plus, it’s not uncommon for residents of Windsor to work in and commute to Detroit on a daily basis, which means double the job opportunities.
Home to just over 400,000 people, London has another of Ontario’s most affordable housing markets. It also has a vibrant arts scene, plenty of green space (it is nicknamed “the Forest City”), and a highly rated education system (the University of Western Ontario — one of the top colleges in the province — is located here). The average home price in London is around $350,000.
Roughly four hours northwest of Toronto lies Sudbury, by far one of the cheapest large cities in Ontario to buy a home. With average home prices hovering around $450,000, you can get a lot of bang for your buck in Sudbury. It’s also a natural oasis, so if you love spending time outdoors, this might be the Canadian city for you. Even better, it is home to several higher education institutions like Laurentian University and has a growing economy. Sudbury is a four-hour drive from Toronto or a 50-minute flight. It also has some of the lowest property taxes in the province.
Kingston is the last city on our list of the cheapest places to buy a home in Ontario. Kingston is roughly halfway between Toronto and Montreal on the shores of Lake Ontario. It combines nature and history. Plus, its low cost of living makes it an attractive prospect for homebuyers of all ages (the average house price is $305,000). The area is known for being home to Queen’s University (one of the best universities in the province), water-based activities like boating, and historic sites such as Fort Henry National Historic Site.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the most affordable housing markets in Ontario?
The most affordable housing markets in Ontario can currently be found in the small cities of Deep River, Marathon, Smooth Rock Falls, Englehart, and Rainy River, the medium-sized cities of Thunder Bay, Guelph, Ajax, Barrie, and North Bay, and the large cities of Ottawa, Windsor, London, Sudbury, and Kingston.
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