Best Places to Invest in Real Estate in Canada

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Last updated on July 28, 2021

Canada boasts one of the hottest and most expensive real estate markets in the world, which has both residents and international investors eyeing properties in the Great White North. Whether you’re looking for a place to call home, or to earn a great return on an investment property, Canada truly is the land of opportunity. Many large and small cities alike boast attractive real estate investment opportunities

The average house price in Canada is now $716,828, but it ranges widely depending on where you’re looking. While most of the conversation around Canadian real estate is dominated by talk of Toronto and Vancouver markets, we compiled a list of some overlooked cities across the country that might have even more to offer.

LocationAverage Cost in June 2021Average Cost in June 20201 Year Growth %
Windsor, ON$543,983$400,03426.46%
Hamilton, ON$879,100$682,80022.33%
Montreal, QC$498,900$391,60021.51%
Kelowna, BC$915,000$698,50023.66%
Ottawa, ON$671,400$525,00021.81%
Calgary, AB$445,000$397,20010.74%
Kingston, ON$582,179$457,39321.43%
Nanaimo, BC$665,900$513,20022.93%
Halifax, NS$468,790$366,66821.78%
Moncton, NB$247,100$180,72126.73%

The Best Places to Invest in Real Estate in Canada

Ready to buy a property? It’s time to consider some of the hidden gems outside of Toronto and Vancouver. Here are the best places to invest in real estate in Canada.

Windsor, ON

About the City

Windsor, ON

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Windsor is located on the Detroit River, directly across from the US city of Detroit. Many Canadians and Americans live in one city and work in the other. Windsor is a mid-sized city with a population of just under 250,000 but is the third fastest-growing city in Canada.

Why it’s on the List

Not only is Windsor one of the more affordable cities in Canada, but its proximity to a major US city also makes it great for travellers or those who do any work in the States. The job market in Windsor has been one of the highest in the country for a long time, but now that so many jobs have moved remote, Windsor is a better option to call home.

Hamilton, ON

About the City

Hamilton, ON

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While Hamilton has mostly been treated as a distant suburb of Toronto, the city is truly coming into its own as one of the hottest neighbourhoods in Ontario. With a population of over 500,000, a solid job market, and a thriving restaurant and retail scene, more and more people are choosing Hamilton as a place to live and work, not simply to commute from to Toronto. Hamilton is also the waterfall capital of the world and boasts plenty of walking and bike trails for residents to enjoy the great outdoors.

Why it’s on the List

With home prices still more than 1/3 cheaper than Toronto, many people choose Hamilton to stay close to big city life on a budget. The city’s growth shows no sign of stopping, making it a great place to put down roots and start a family or a business. If you do find yourself longing for the Toronto skyline, the city is just over an hour’s drive away.

Montreal, QC

About the City

Montreal, QC

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Montreal is a world-class city known for its culture and nightlife. The city has a population of nearly 2 million, making it a thriving metropolis in French Canada. Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, second only to Paris, France.

Why it’s on the List

Montreal is hands-down Canada’s most affordable glamour city. If you want a European feel to ordinary Canadian life, the best of French food and French culture can be found here. In addition to house prices well below the Canadian average, Quebec also offers other money-saving perks like affordable universal childcare. Montreal families keep housing and childcare costs low, freeing up money for travel and fun.

Kelowna, BC

About the City

Kelowna, BC

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Kelowna is one of the most beautiful cities in Canada and a popular tourist destination. Nestled in the BC interior, Kelowna sits on the Eastern shore of Okanagan Lake. The warm weather and palm trees make it feel like a tiny piece of California in the Great White North. The city has a population of just over 100,000 but attracts nearly 2 million visitors each year.

Why it’s on the List

Kelowna is the perfect vacation spot, retirement destination, or place to raise a family. Whether you’re looking for a property for yourself or an investment to list on Airbnb, this might be your best choice in all of Canada.

Ottawa, ON

About the City

Ottawa, ON

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Ottawa is the nation’s capital and home to nearly 1 million people. Not only is the city beautiful with a rich history, but it’s also walkable, affordable, and family-friendly. Ottawa offers a strong economy with high incomes and is a city of outdoor markets, museums, and plenty of parks. If you are a history buff or simply want a picturesque place to raise a family, Ottawa can’t be beaten.

Why it’s on the List

Despite its size, location, and importance, Ottawa remains one of the most affordable cities in Canada. With house prices still below average in Canada, you can live in Ontario without paying a Toronto price tag.

Calgary, AB

About the City

Calgary, ON

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Calgary is the 4th largest city in Canada, offering all the perks of urban Canadian living at a fraction of the cost of big cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Located in the middle of the prairies, Calgary provides all the amenities of a city with the Rocky Mountains in its backyard. A ski trip or scenic hike in Banff is less than 90 minutes away.

Why it’s on the List

Calgary is one of the few big cities in Canada where your dollar can still buy lots of square footage. With a population of over 1 million and an average home price below $500,000, Calgary is one of the most affordable urban centres in the country. Furthermore, Alberta offers some of the highest average incomes and lowest income taxes in Canada, making it a great place to build financial security.

Kingston, ON

About the City

Kingston, ON

ImageSource: Shutterstock

Kingston is a small city with a population of 136,000 located in Eastern Ontario, about 2 hours from the nearest US border. It’s home to Queen’s University and a few other post-secondary institutions, giving it a very “college town” vibe. Students and academic staff can account for nearly half the city’s entire population during the academic year.

Why it’s on the List

Kingston is one of the most affordable cities in Ontario, but its location is what makes it stands out. It’s 2 hours from Toronto, as well as the same distance from the US border, making it easy to travel from. If you don’t want to call Kingston home yourself, it’s a great place to invest in one or more rental properties from university students.

Nanaimo, BC

About the City

Nanaimo, BC

ImageSource: Shutterstock

Nanaimo is a small city located on the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island. It has a population of just under 100,000 but is a popular tourist destination as it’s a main ferry port. If you’re looking for affordable, quiet island life but with the option to visit one of Canada’s largest metropolitans, Vancouver, on a whim, Nanaimo is ideal.

Why it’s on the List

Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful places in Canada, and Nanaimo is one of the most affordable places to live along the Pacific Coast. With average house prices significantly lower than elsewhere in the province, Nanaimo offers all the perks of BC living at a fraction of the cost.

Halifax, NS

About the City

Halifax, NS

ImageSource: Shutterstock

Halifax is a mid-sized Canadian city with a population of nearly 500,000. It is the capital of Nova Scotia, and an Atlantic Ocean port making it a fishing and travel hub. Nova Scotia is one of the most beautiful places in Canada, and an ideal place if you like to enjoy sailing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, or fishing.

Why it’s on the List

Halifax offers small-town, seaside life with all the amenities of a large Canadian city. It’s one of the most affordable places to buy a home in the entire country, while still offering huge potential for price growth.

Moncton, NB

About the City

Moncton, NB

ImageSource: Shutterstock

Moncton is a small city of just under 100,000 people located in southeastern New Brunswick. What it lacks in size it makes up for in character and culture, boasting an impressive restaurant scene, plenty of festivals, and has consistently ranked as one of the best cities in Canada to do business.

Why it’s on the List

If you want the ease of oceanside small-town life, but found the Pacific Coast too pricey, Moncton may be exactly what you’re looking for. With the average house price still well below $300,000, you can get the home of your dreams and still have money to enjoy everything else.

How We Chose The Cities On The List

When it came to choosing the best cities to invest in real estate in Canada, we primarily considered affordability, value, and growth.

Many Canadians feel priced out of hot real estate markets across the country, but there remain quite a few opportunities in small and mid-sized cities to get a foothold in the real estate market. With the exception of only two cities, Hamilton and Kelowna, all the cities on our list have an average house price below the national average, and usually by a fair margin!

Investing in real estate in Canada isn’t just about getting into the market, it’s what you get when you buy. You want to get good value for your dollar so we considered the type of home and what kind of lifestyle you get by investing in real estate in different cities across Canada. Whether you’re looking to be immersed in culture and nightlife in a city like Montreal, or you want the relaxing slow-living of island life in a small town like Nanaimo, you have to make sure you’re buying what you want.

Finally, we considered growth. All of the cities on the list except for one (Calgary) boast 1-year average price gains of over 20%. The markets listed are both accessible and thriving, so you can enjoy a financial return on your investment over the long term.

Things to Consider When Purchasing Real Estate in Canada

When it comes to purchasing real estate in Canada, there are a few different things to consider. Purchasing a home to live in is much different than purchasing a rental property you plan to rent out. Likewise, buying a house in a small town in Alberta is much different than buying a condo in a big city like Toronto. Here are some things to consider when investing in real estate in Canada.

Home or Investment Property?

If you’re purchasing a home to live in, you’re likely making a more expensive purchase than you would for a rental property. Likewise, you will select a city and neighbourhood that suits your own preferences, rather than whatever has the lowest vacancy rate.

Affordability

Your budget is likely to be the biggest determinant of what you buy, and you want to get the best value for your dollar. While Toronto and Vancouver seem to dominate the conversation around real estate in Canada, smaller cities have a lot to offer smaller budgets. Instead of trying to find the cheapest property in the most expensive city, why not consider a cheaper city instead?

Growth

Whether you’re purchasing a property for yourself or as a way to invest in real estate, growth is an important part of the equation. You want to put your money where it will earn the highest return. The past year has seen unprecedented gains in house prices across the country, so you want to choose real estate investments in markets that still have room to grow.

Lifestyle

Finally, the property you choose needs to match your lifestyle. Whether it’s a detached home to grow your family, an urban condo to rent out on Airbnb, or a vacation property you can escape to a few times per year, the location and space itself have to serve their purpose. Canada is a large and diverse country, and each city offers completely different things, whether that’s a busy urban paradise or a small town in the great outdoors.

What to Look for When Investing in Real Estate

You may have a personal preference on where you want to buy property. If you’re looking for an investment property, you might want something that’s close to your main residence, for example. But that shouldn’t be the deciding factor for investing in real estate. You want to look at other elements that can affect the pricing and growth prospects of a property, such as:

  • Is it close to a university? There will always be demands from students for housing, so investing in a property near a university is a safe bet
  • Is it near public transportation? Whether you’re living in the property or renting it out, being closer to main train or bus lines is a big selling point
  • What’s the local economy like? Is it a sleepy town with one restaurant, or an up-and-coming neighborhood with new businesses and job prospects?
  • What are the property taxes like? You need to take this cost into consideration, as places like urban centers where there’s higher demand will likely also have higher property taxes

Final Word

The Canadian real estate market is still growing at breakneck speed, and at this point, shows no signs of a slowdown. If you’re interested in buying a home for yourself or as an investment property, consider some of the lesser-known hidden gems shared here that have so much to offer. Alternatively, take a look at our list of the best places to live in Canada for some more options on where you should consider buying a home.

 

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Author Bio

Bridget Casey
Bridget Casey is the award-winning entrepreneur behind Money After Graduation, a Canadian financial literacy website aimed at 20 and 30-somethings. She holds a BSc. from the University of Alberta, and an MBA in Finance from the University of Calgary. She has been featured as a millennial financial expert by Yahoo! Finance, TIME Magazine, Business Insider, CBC and BNN. Bridget was recognized as one of Alberta's Top Young Innovators in 2016.

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