Revealed – Canada’s most desirable cities for millennials

Find out what draws the country's largest demographic to a city

Revealed – Canada’s most desirable cities for millennials

The oldest members of Canada’s largest demographic will be turning 40 this year and with this milestone comes a new set of challenges and possibly a fresh perspective that may impact many of their life decisions. And among the decisions many millennials are expected to make at this point in their lives is choosing the ideal place to settle and buy a home.

While most members of this generation often prioritize housing affordability and career opportunities when it comes to selecting a place to settle, their decision also hinges on several other factors, including proximity to leisure amenities, having a safe environment to start a family, waking up to good weather, and opportunities to build relationships with like-minded individuals.

In a recent analysis, real estate marketplace Point2 Homes used nine different metrics to compare 85 of the country’s most populous cities to identify which places millennials find most attractive and the results may be surprising.

None of Canada’s five biggest metropolitan areas – Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton – made it to the top 10. Also, six of the top 10 cities in the list have a population of less than 500,000. So, which cities came out on top? The list is revealed below.

Canada’s most desirable cities for millennials

The cities in the top 10 represent a good balance of housing affordability, career opportunities, accessibility to lifestyle amenities, low crime rates, great weather, and a young population that Canada’s millennial professionals find most enticing.

10. Trois-Rivières, QC

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

1

56

30

14

6

1

16

52

59

Source: Point2 Homes

This riverfront city in Quebec boasts the most affordable home prices among all cities at $174,000 and topped the list in terms of lifestyle satisfaction. It also has one of the best healthcare systems, and is among those with the lowest unemployment and crime rates.

9. Waterloo, ON

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

51

15

22

22

21

14

37

41

4

Source: Point2 Homes

This Ontario city ranks fourth among most educated cities or those with the highest number of people with at least a bachelor’s degree. It is also home to one of the biggest millennial population in the country and places high in terms of lifestyle amenities.

8. Victoria, BC

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

63

2

25

7

38

39

39

1

12

Source: Point2 Homes

British Columbia’s warm weather is the biggest draw of this city, especially for many sun-loving millennials, securing the top spot in terms of favourable climate. But there is more to this city than sunny days as it also ranks second in terms of millennial population. It is among the areas with the highest employment rate and number of degree holders.

7. Levis, QC

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

10

66

8

11

37

4

3

43

42

Source: Point2 Homes

Easy access to lifestyle amenities and low crime rates makes this city in eastern Quebec attractive to millennials, especially those planning to start a family. It also has one of the most affordable house prices, highest median incomes, and lowest unemployment rates.   

6. New Westminster, BC

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

48

17

40

9

2

27

50

6

24

Source: Point2 Homes

Like other cities in British Columbia, New Westminster boasts a fresh and warm climate. It also has the second-best healthcare system among the cities that made it to the top 10. The city also provides vast career opportunities with its high employment rate and has the one of the highest populations of millennials in the country.

5. St. John’s, NL

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

13

4

4

24

50

39

34

30

23

Source: Point2 Homes

Millennials looking to build relationships with like-minded individuals may find this Newfoundland city attractive. It ranks fourth overall in terms of millennial population and median income. Home prices are also among the most affordable of all ranked cities.

4. Halifax, NS

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

2

25

29

17

39

35

24

24

25

Source: Point2 Homes

Nova Scotia’s capital city takes second spot overall in terms of housing affordability, with median home prices pegged at around $181,800. It also ranks in the upper third in almost all other criteria.

3. Kingston, ON

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

43

22

20

14

24

9

30

28

29

Source: Point2 Homes

This picturesque city in eastern Ontario has one of the highest life satisfaction ratings among the top 10 cities. It is also home to a large population of high-income earning millennials and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the overall rankings.

2. Ottawa, ON

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

42

34

3

4

29

11

21

49

6

Source: Point2 Homes

Canada’s capital city offers a stable job market and above-average income, placing fourth and third in the respective categories in the overall ranking. It also has the sixth most-educated population and boasts a thriving cultural scene, which is reflected in the city’s high life satisfaction rating.

1. Quebec City, QC

Criteria by ranking

Home price

% of millennials

Income

Unemployment rate

Healthcare

Life satisfaction

Crime rate

Climate

Education

17

18

8

1

37

2

7

45

39

Source: Point2 Homes

Quebec City tops Canada’s list of the most desirable cities for millennials. It has the most stable job market among all cities and offers an above average annual income. The city also ranks second in terms of lifestyle amenities and boasts one of the country’s lowest crime rates, a plus for millennials looking to settle down and start a family. 

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