Living in a big city can be expensive. According to the most recent National Rent Report, the average monthly rent in Canadian cities increased by another 1.9% back in June after going up 4% in May!
The National Rent Report by Rentals.ca shows that Ontarians have it particularly bad, with 10 out of 12 of Canada’s most expensive cities being located in the province. Which begs the question: Is cheap rent really impossible to find in Canada?
Not all hope is lost - go outside the expensive city life of Vancouver and Toronto! You will find that real estate and the cheapest cost of living in Canada is found in places like Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, or British Columbia. Most of these places are within driving distance to the big cities. They are even affordable for students on a tight budget!
Today, we’ll be diving into these cities. Ontario may be home to Canada's most expensive cities for renting, but it's also home to some of the cheapest. Canadians seeking more affordable rentals should look towards smaller cities in Ontario and Quebec.
Here is a list of some of the cheapest cities in Canada to live in:
Close to the United States border is Windsor, Ontario, which sits along the border to Detroit. Due to its proximity to the States, Windsor has many Canadian residents that work in Detroit but live in Windsor, thanks to its low cost of living.
The rent in Windsor is 56% lower than in Toronto. The average price to buy an apartment is $3,498 per square meter, while the average price is $303,183. To rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is $923 a month.
As it is a bigger city, the low cost of living in Windsor is not the only thing that draws residents. There is plenty to do in the city with festivals like the Harrow County Fair, museums like the Canadian Transportation Museum, beautiful gardens and the Windsor waterfront with views of Detroit’s skyline.
Windsor’s location is also very accessible. You can actually drive to Toronto and even to the United States or the International Airport that offers daily flights to many major cities.
Getting around the city is easy as well with great, affordable public transport. A one-way ticket is only at the average of $3.00, while a monthly pass is $75.
Windsor is also a great city for attending university as one of Canada’s well-known universities is the University of Windsor. This makes Windsor a great city for university students, families and couples looking to buy an affordable home.
Located between Montreal and Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres is the most affordable city on this list, with an average home price of just $212,329. Despite these extremely low home prices, this city of 138,480 still maintains a median income of $53,768 and a reasonable unemployment rate of 5.8%.
Trois-Rivieres is Canada’s oldest industrial city, and the century-old buildings on the main thoroughfare house shops, cafes, and bars. There are plenty of opportunities for cash-conscious couples to put down roots in this quiet part of Quebec.
The average monthly spending on housing here: $460 to $900 for a one-bedroom apartment. Another $900 - $1000 for other living-related stuff like groceries, entertainment (including eating at restaurants, drinking at pubs and bars, watch movies, etc.), fitness, phone and internet bills, transportation and insurance expenses.
Considering all these benefits, Trois-Rivieres should definitely be on your list where you can affordably rent your house for under $1000.
Thunder Bay is often called Lakehead because it sits at the top of the Great Lakes and is surrounded by wilderness and national parks. It has about 108,400 people and is home to Lakehead University– a prominent academic organization with campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ontario.
Thunder Bay has the highest quality of air in Ontario, and it’s also committed to providing excellent drinking water from Lake Superior.
The major industries operating in Thunder Bay include transportation, education, mining, manufacturing and forestry. Many of Thunder Bay’s single employers reside in the public sector. Its largest private employer is Resolute Forest products– a globally renowned manufacturer of pulp, tissue and wood products.
Compared to other large cities within Canada, Thunder Bay comes with a significantly lower cost of living, especially for renting or purchasing houses.
Rent per month for 1 bedroom in City Centre - $925.00, and 1 bedroom outside of City Centre - $818.75. Other living expenses you can easily afford, at below or around $1000 - $1200.
Affordability is one of the strongest pulls for Canadians moving here. Not forgetting the community's active, dynamic and forward-thinking attitude is what makes the newcomers stay and call Thunder Bay home.
Another bonus is that the flight to Toronto from Thunder Bay is dirt cheap, and Minnesota is right around the corner for a weekend getaway.
Moncton is situated in the heart of Maritime and can be accessed through highway train or plane, which has been central to the city’s growth. It has a population of just over 140,000 and is the only city that has been officially declared bilingual, recognizing both French and English as its main languages.
Moncton is perfect for nature lovers, too, because this city is snug between national parks and beaches and is brimming with affordable real estate and a warm community. Over 1.4 million people live within just 3 hours of downtown Moncton, and frequent visits to the city for leisure activities are very common.
Moncton is progressive and diverse. Because 47% of its workforce is fluent in French and English, many employers love to hire based on bilingual proficiency. This skill makes Moncton one of the best places in Canada to do business. And as such, it should come as no surprise that this city is swimming with companies in the finance sector, gaming, animation, and warehouse operations.
Living here is amazingly cheap. Rent per month for 1 bedroom in City Centre is $734.29, and 1 bedroom outside of City Centre - $642.08.
Do note that if you don’t own a vehicle or are a family that shares a car, living within the city centre will help you take advantage of its transit system. If you hate traffic congestion in the big cities, you will love Moncton because you can easily get places within 15-30 minutes and save time commuting.
Saint Catharines is aptly called the Garden City because it’s surrounded by lush green gardens, parks and trails. This little city is often overshadowed by the more famous wonder — the Niagara Falls, which pulls the attention of all the tourists. The good news is that because of this, the pristine gardens and parks around the Falls stay quaint, secluded and undisturbed from crowds.
St. Catharines has a cost of living that is 0.5% less than the national average. This city is popular for its manufacturing and service industries. It’s the second-largest city in the Niagara Region and the sixth-largest area in Ontario. For those pursuing higher studies, note that Brock University and Niagara College are located near Saint Catharines, both highly respected educational facilities in Canada.
Rent per month for 1 bedroom in City Centre is around $998 and for 1 bedroom outside the City Centre is around $900.
St. Catharines is also the most favourite area for retirees and seniors who want to relocate, downgrade and settle down in modest and affordable housing with a slower lifestyle but plenty of outdoor activities.
Located in British Columbia, Abbotsford is home to about 141,397 people. This city contains the third-largest concentration of visible minorities. Abbotsford is close to the US border and Abbotsford International airport. It’s less than an hour away from larger cities like Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby.
Plenty of students and families with children move here because of its strong education system, consisting of 46 public schools, 4 private schools and 8 post-secondary institutions. One of Canada’s biggest universities, The University of Fraser Valley, is located here.
Abbotsford is a very tight-knit community with a diverse population. Hence, the social scene is vibrant, colourful and family-friendly, making it the perfect city to reside in regardless of age and ethnicity.
Almost 70% of the city’s land is part of the Agricultural Land Reserve and contains over 1,300 farms. More than 22,000 hectares of developing farmland in Abbotsford employs over 7000 people. About 1/5th of the farms sell their produce directly to the consumers. With farms so close to Abbotsford, residents have easy access to local, fresh and affordable produce.
This city is also close to pacific beaches and the Cascade Mountains, so hikers and outdoor adventurers will find plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities here without breaking their bank. The rent per month for 1 bedroom here in City Centre is $900 to $980, and 1 bedroom outside the City Centre is around $950 - $962.
We hope you like your affordable cities with a side of stunning beauty. Although Ontario is home to some of the most expensive cities in Canada, it’s also home to some of the most affordable cities, such as Sault Ste. Marie. Bring your skills to the third-largest city of Ontario, where you can find jobs from all industries and rent for about $1000 per month or below.
The favourable work-life balance is a reality and not just a dream in Sault Ste. Marie. Here you can access high-quality education, enjoy renowned, beautiful, and inspiring landscapes (such as the Agawa Canyon), and find out why winter sports are an integral part of the Canadian lifestyle. Experience the best cottage life with roasted marshmallows, hiking, hot saunas, and a swim.
With less than $1000 per month for rent, it's safe to say that these city areas will always be brimming with tenants!
Interested to rent or invest in one of these incredibly beautiful cities and gain returns? Drop your contact info below, and our local agents will help you out!
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