When looking for the cheapest place in Canada to live, it is important to look beyond the average cost of homes. Here is everything you should know
With high housing costs in certain major centres and stubborn inflation, many prospective homebuyers are in the market to find the cheapest place in Canada to live.
The average price of a home in Canada is now $650,140, according to Wawa.ca. However, there are plenty of options across Canada to find cheaper average home prices. In this article, we will look at the cheapest place to live in Canada by town, city and province.
We will also look at the different factors that impact cost of living, such as housing affordability, cost of living, job growth, and rental market affordability.
Here is everything you need to know about the cheapest place in Canada to live.
When searching for the cheapest place to live in Canada, housing affordability is just one piece of the puzzle. While no place is exempt from the effects of inflation, in this section we will take into account the low cost of living, job growth, and rental market affordability.
In this section, we will break down the 10 cheapest places to live in terms of housing affordability and job growth. You’ll notice off the bat that most of the cheapest places are in Quebec and Ontario:
- Sept-Îles, Quebec
- Bécancour, Quebec
- Quesnel, British Columbia
- Cornwall, Ontario
- Timmins, Ontario
- Saint-Georges, Quebec
- Rimouski, Quebec
- Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
- Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec
- Sainte-Marie, Quebec
Read our article on the cheapest cities in Ontario to get a mortgage if that area is an option for you.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the cheapest places in Canada to live.
1. Sept-Îles, Quebec
Located on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, this town of 28,500 people is roughly an 8-hour drive from Quebec City. Most of the inhabitants of Sept-Îles are French-speaking. The economy here is mostly in metalworks, a thriving cruise port, and public services.
The average home price in Sept-Îles is $204,042, making it one of the cheapest places in Canada to live. The property tax rate is also well below the national average, at 1.15%.
2. Bécancour, Quebec
Bécancour, largely an industrial city, is located on the shores of the St. Lawrance River and is less than a 2-hour drive to Montreal. With a population of just 12,500, Bécancour offers many high-paying jobs in the petroleum and aerospace industries. Despite high incomes of most of the people who live here, home prices remain low. The average home price in Bécancour is $206,748 and the property tax is 1.26%.
3. Quesnel, British Columbia
The average home price in Quesnel, B.C., is $209,133, making it one of the most affordable communities in the province and across Canada. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains, this town of 12,000 is popular among mountaineering enthusiasts and skiers and is an 8-hour drive to Vancouver.
4. Cornwall, Ontario
With a population of less than 50,000, Cornwall is the easternmost town in Ontario and is situated near the Quebec and US borders. Compared to larger cities in the province, Cornwall is one of the cheapest places in Ontario—and Canada—to live in. The average home price in Cornwall is $211,715 and the property tax rate is 1.71%. This is an up-and-coming community for many young families due to the average low costs of living and real estate.
5. Timmins, Ontario
The average price of a home in Timmins, Ontario is $212,922 and the property tax is 1.88%, which is also below the national average. Timmins, the second Ontario town to make the top 10 cheapest places in Canada to live, is a quiet community of 42,000 people. The economy in Timmins is based primarily around mining. Located in Northern Ontario, Timmins is about eight hours from Toronto by car.
6. Saint-Georges, Quebec
A French-speaking town, Saint-Georges, Quebec is a three-hour drive from Montreal and has a population of about 31,000 people. For anyone looking for work, Saint-Georges—the largest town in the Beauce region—is a key manufacturing centre. The average price of a home here is $219,124.
7. Rimouski, Quebec
The average home price in Rimouski, Quebec is $227,673 and the property tax rate is 1.10%. With a population of just under 50,000, Rimouski is a major centre for marine research and conservation. It is also fast becoming a hub for engineering and science in the region. Rimouski is about a three-hour drive from Quebec City.
8. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is one of the larger centres on this list. Located in Northern Ontario, Sault Ste. Marie has a population of nearly 75,000 and is a major economic hub for the region. The main economic drivers here are renewable energy and tourism. The average home price is $238,013 and the property tax rate is 1.64%.
9. Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec
The major industry in Rouyn-Noranda is copper mining. The average home price here is $240,191. With a population of over 40,000 people, Rouyn-Noranda borders Ontario. If you want to move here, however, you will want to brush up on your French. Ninety-five per cent of residents here speak French, making it one of the most unilingual cities on the border.
10. Sainte-Marie, Quebec
Saint-Marie, Quebec, has a population of 13,000 people and is only a 45-minute drive from Quebec City. It is considered a peaceful community, situated on the shores of the Chaudière River. The average price of a home here is $243,980, making it not only one of the most beautiful towns in the area, but also one of the most affordable.
Finding the cheapest place in Canada to live is not an exact science. There are numerous factors that impact the cost of living—not just the mortgage market—which varies from province to province. It also depends on your specific needs, or the needs of your family. For instance, the affordability of Toronto for a single person with a high income will be measured differently than the affordability for a single-income family of five in Halifax.
First, let’s look at the lowest cost of living by region. Eastern Canada has some of the lowest cost of living in Canada. Specifically, Atlantic Canada: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. New Brunswick, for instance, is home to some of the lowest housing costs in all of Canada. You can get a two-bedroom apartment there for $895 per month. And in northern New Brunswick, average home prices in 2022 were roughly $167,000. On P.E.I., meanwhile, the average home price was roughly $340,000.
While the cost of living is low in Atlantic Canada, you may have a difficult time finding job opportunities there, depending on your level of education and professional skills.
As we have seen in our Top 10 list of cheapest places to live in Canada, Quebec is another low-cost option. Housing and utility costs in Quebec are significantly lower than the national average. Quebec also offers subsidized daycare, making it especially affordable for young families.
Cheapest place in Canada to live: most affordable cities
As we have seen, most of the cheapest places in Canada to live are remote communities and small towns. If, however, you prefer the city life but cannot afford to live in Toronto and Vancouver, there are options.
The cost-of-living index is one good resource if you want to find the cheapest place in Canada to live. The index grades a city’s cost of living compared to New York City, which has a baseline score of 100.
The index accounts for local housing costs, groceries, transportation, utilities, and childcare, among others. As a point of reference, Canada’s most expensive cities have the following cost-of-living scores: Toronto scores at 74.26 and Vancouver scores at 73.79. While the cost of housing is higher in Vancouver, Toronto’s average cost of groceries, transportation, and utilities is higher.
Cheapest place in Canada to live: major cities
According to the cost-of-living index, the cheapest major cities (population over 500,000) in Canada are:
- Quebec City, Quebec: 67.08
- Brampton, Ontario: 67.35
- Hamilton, Ontario: 68.45
Cheapest place in Canada to live: small cities
The cheapest small cities (population under 500,000), according to the cost-of-living index, are:
- Regina, Saskatchewan: 64.99
- Windsor, Ontario: 66.11
- Kingston, Ontario: 67.71
Looking to expand your options? Revisit our guide on the most affordable places to live in Canada.
Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, is among the most appealing capital cities to live in Canada due to its cost-experience balance. With a population of more than one million people, it also offers a vibrant downtown and rich culture.
Edmonton is at the centre of Alberta’s oil and gas industry. It is also home to large corporations and growing tech and retail industries. In other words, there are many job opportunities, and the unemployment rate is a low 5.1%.
The average cost of a three-bedroom home in Edmonton is $408,961. The average monthly salary, after taxes, is $4,168.30. While this is higher than some of the communities in this article, the low unemployment, the average salary, and the diversified industries combine to make Alberta among the cheapest provincial capitals in Canada to live.
Read more: Best place to live in canada for retirees
Finding the cheapest place in Canada to live may take some research. It is also somewhat subjective, depending on your common expenses. After all, affordability is not based solely on the average cost of homes in any given city or region; it is also important to consider the cost of living and average salary.
Remember: the more knowledge you have, the better off you will be.
If you need help finding the cheapest place in Canada to live, take the time to look at the mortgage professionals we highlight in our Best of Mortgage section. Here you will find the top performing mortgage professionals, including mortgage brokers, across Canada.
How is your search going for the cheapest place in Canada to live? Did you find this guide useful? Let us know in the comment section below.