The Only Ontario City Affordable on an Average Income

Wahi’s Roadmap to Housing Affordability: Ontario Edition shines a light on challenges (and opportunities) for homebuyers around the province.

By Josh Sherman | 3 minute read

Aug 15

North Bay is on the northeastern shore of Lake Nipissing, Ontario’s third largest lake and a perfect backdrop for homebuyers looking to get close to nature.

Even with a 20% downpayment and an average household income, only 19 out of 245 local real estate markets in Ontario are affordable for homebuyers, according to new analysis from digital real estate platform Wahi. 


That’s just one of the findings from the Ontario edition of Wahi’s Roadmap to Housing Affordability, a new interactive tool that lets homebuyers see where they may — or may not — be able to afford a home, based on their earnings and local home prices.

“Overall, Wahi analyzed 245 housing markets across the province, using home price data from the first quarter of this year.”

“Wahi’s Roadmap to Housing Affordability highlights the challenges facing many households throughout the province, but it also gives first-time homebuyers valuable insights into places where home prices are more affordable,” says Wahi CEO Benjy Katchen. “The tool helps Ontarians understand what kind of income they’ll need depending on where they want to live.”


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.


Only one of the 19 housing markets that were attainable with a household income of $100,000 — which is roughly the average for the province, according to Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey — was a city. That city, North Bay, has a median home price of $401,950 and a population of about 50,000. It’s approximately a four-hour drive from Toronto.

gta overbidding neighbourhoods

The vast majority of places affordable for households with incomes around the Ontario average were smaller towns and in rural areas. Other key findings:


  • No local housing markets were affordable for the average Ontario salary, which is about $60,000.
  • For households with an income of $75,000, the lowest annual earnings that Wahi analyzed, Deep River — a small town on the Ottawa River, in Renfrew County — was the only affordable option. 

We put the real back in real estate.

Join Wahi today and find out how easy it is to get real estate in Canada.

The Most Affordable Cities in Ontario  


With a higher household income of $125,000, homebuyers have a handful of opportunities for ownership in more urban areas, including six additional cities out of the province’s more than 50, according to Wahi’s analysis.


Cornwall, Greater Sudbury, Ottawa (Bells Corners), Owen Sound, Port Colborne, and Windsor were each priced within reach of households that take home $125,000 annually. (For larger cities like Ottawa and Toronto, Wahi has broken them down to smaller submarkets.) Ottawa is by far the biggest city available to homebuyers in this income range. However, it’s worth noting that other parts of the city (the city’s core, as well as Barrhaven, Orleans, and Vanier) require an income of $150,000, while homebuyers need household incomes of $175,000 to comfortably afford Kanata.


If you’re looking to live in Toronto, the city’s former boroughs of Etobicoke, North York, and Old Toronto are among the 39 markets that require a household income of $200,000 to afford the median-priced home. Meanwhile, Scarborough has a required income of $225,000, while York’s is $250,000 and East York’s is a whopping $300,000.


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

Become a Real
Estate Know-It-All

Get the weekly email that will give you everything you need to be a real estate rockstar. Stay informed and get so in the know.

Yes, I want to get the latest real estate news, insights, home value
estimates emailed to my inbox. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Get so in the Know

On everything real estate.

From the latest Canadian housing market trends and stories, to insider tips and tricks.

By clicking “subscribe”, you agree to receive emails from Wahi. You always have the option to unsubscribe at any time, see our privacy policy for more details.