This Pocket of Ottawa Is More Affordable Than Windsor (and 50 Other Ontario Cities)

For a big city, Ottawa remains a better bargain — depending on location — than many smaller municipalities, suggests Wahi’s Roadmap to Housing Affordability: Ontario Edition.

By Josh Sherman | 3 minute read

Aug 22

The Bells Corners section of Ottawa boasts surprising value for homebuyers even as many urban centres fall further out of reach for average earners.

Owning a home in a big city is becoming increasingly out of reach for Ontarians, who have fewer and fewer affordable options. Perhaps surprisingly, however, a part of Ottawa is more affordable than almost any city in Ontario, including Kingston, London, Toronto, Windsor, and many more, according to digital real estate platform Wahi’s new Roadmap to Housing Affordability.

The Roadmap to Housing Affordability is an interactive tool that shows potential homebuyers where they can potentially afford to live, depending on their earnings and local home prices in 245 local real estate markets, including about 50 cities around the province as well as many towns and villages. 

“The fact that only a handful of cities — mostly small — are affordable to households with even above-average earnings truly highlights Ontario’s affordability crisis”

Wahi found that Bells Corners, in Ottawa, was one of only six local housing markets that was located within a city and still affordable for households with a combined income of $125,000, which is about $25,000 higher than the provincewide average. While most of the local housing markets analyzed were standalone municipalities, Wahi broke down larger cities, such as Ottawa and Toronto, into smaller subdivisions.  


How Wahi Calculates Affordability  

To use Wahi’s Roadmap to Housing Affordability, homebuyers first enter their household income. The tool then populates a map that highlights local markets where the median home price is affordable, based on a few assumptions. Wahi assumes a 20% downpayment, a mortgage rate of 5.24% (provided by Rocket Mortgage as of July 14), and a 25-year amortization period. To meet the affordability threshold, households shouldn’t be spending more than 25% of their pre-tax income on monthly mortgage payments.

Overall, Wahi analyzed 245 housing markets across the province, using home price data from the first quarter of this year. Median home prices include all housing types. Places where there were fewer than 50 transactions in the first three months of the year were excluded from calculations.


“The fact that only a handful of cities — mostly small — are affordable to households with even above-average earnings truly highlights Ontario’s affordability crisis,” says Wahi CEO Benjy Katchen. “However, the new Roadmap to Housing Affordability also puts the spotlight on local housing markets that homebuyers might not have thought about considering before,” he adds.

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Affordable Cities for Households Earning $125,000 Annually  

As previously reported by Wahi, North Bay, which has a population of about 50,000, was the only city affordable for Ontario households earning the average income of about $100,000. Six other cities, if you count the Bells Corners section of Ottawa, were affordable to households bringing in $125,000 annually. Ottawa is far and away the largest city represented on the list.


City Median home price Monthly recurring costs**
1. North Bay* $401,950 $2,610
2. Owen Sound $439,000 $2,513
3. Greater Sudbury $470,000 $2,680
4. Port Colborne $499,900 $2,841
5. Ottawa (Bells Corners) $499,950 $2,841
6. Windsor  $500,000 $3,313
7. Cornwall $500,000 $2.841
*North Bay is affordable at an income of $100,000
**monthly recurring costs include mortgage payments (assuming a 20% downpayment and a five-year fixed-rate on a 30-year loan), home insurance, utilities, and property taxes


Bells Corners was an outlier within the city of Ottawa. Other local markets Wahi analyzed that fall within the city’s borders — the city’s core, as well as Barrhaven, Orleans, Vanier — require household incomes of $150,000 to meet the affordability threshold, while Kanata required an income of $175,000. However, even these more expensive areas — excluding Kanata — fall within the top half of all local housing markets for affordability. They remain more affordable than places such as Hamilton, Kitchener, and Thunder Bay, which, like Kanata, are in the $175,000 household income range.



Curious to see which parts of the province are within your homebuying budget? Check out Wahi’s Roadmap to Housing Affordability: Ontario Edition.

Josh Sherman

Wahi Writer

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