At the end of June, MoneySense released its 'Where to buy real estate 2020' report, and found that Guelph, ON was the best place in the country to put your money into a home.
Analyzing the 35 largest municipalities in Canada, making considerations for COVID-19, and incorporating data from a variety of sources, "including the Canadian Real Estate Association, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards, and various other real estate boards and associations," the report took a broad view of both the economy and rental market in an effort to showcase cities with the best bang for real estate buck.
Factors contained in the report's research included:
- Ratio of average income to average housing prices
- Local unemployment rate
- Strength of local economy
- Local rental market
- Value for dollar
- Robust price appreciation
According to the report, "Current Guelph residents won’t be surprised. Those who opted to buy into the Guelph property market in 2018 would’ve already earned 6.83% on that investment (based on average annual one-year rates of return). If that home was bought five years earlier, the average appreciation would translate into a little over $65,500 in added equity."
That said, MoneySense also notes that "the real reason this city rose to the top of the list is because of strong economic fundamentals." Pre-COVID, the city's unemployment rate was just 2.1% and its GDP (1.9%) in 2019 was above the national average (1.7%). What's more, the amount of time it takes to pay off an average home purchase in Guelph is less than two-thirds of the time it takes the average Torontonian to do so (9 years vs. 15 years). Of course, the city's proximity to Toronto is also noted as a benefit to buying real estate there.
The average home price in Guelph is currently just under $530,000, more than 55% less than the average home price in Toronto in May of $955,000 (in the rest of the GTA, excluding Toronto, the average home price was approximately $820,000 in May).
Of the top 10 municipalities MoneySense has recommended to homebuyers in 2020, eight are in Ontario and two are in BC. The first city outside of these two provinces to show up on the list is Saguenay, Quebec, at #11, while the only other province with an entry in the top 25 is PEI's Charlottetown at #24. You can find the full list here.