Yes, it’s Still Possible to Buy a Home for Less than $200K
There once was a time, in the not too distant past, when you could buy a home for $200K in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Shocking, but true.
Clearly, those days are long gone in the GTA and — increasingly — throughout much of the country. For those with a budget of $200K or less, the pickings are slim in most of Canada. In fact, the national median price for a home is now four times that amount, at $800K.
But there’s still hope to find those needle-in-haystack homes with a $200K price tag — for now there is, at least. You just need to look in the right places (more on that later).
According to a new report from Point2 Homes, in Canada’s large urban hubs, only 10% of the housing stock for sale is below $200K. And only 12 of Canada’s 50 largest, most expensive cities (all of which are in Ontario and British Columbia, unsurprisingly) have homes for sale under $200K. These rarities account for less than 1% of the entire stock for sale.
In the increasingly unattainable Ontario market, $200K won’t get you very far. Kawartha Lakes is the only large city where more than a mere 1% of the available housing stock is under $200K, according to the studies. Other cities follow, however, at a noticeable gap: Waterloo (0.32%), Hamilton (0.24%), and Ottawa (0.14%). There are currently 29 cities across Ontario which have zero homes under $200K, including Richmond Hill, Markham, and Caledon, which incidentally display the highest home price.
Point2 Homes analysts discovered that homebuyers who are willing to expand their house-hunting grounds to the largest cities in The Prairies, Atlantic Canada, or Québec can have their pick of broader concentrations of more affordable listings. (And, during the thick of the pandemic, many did just that, as rates of interprovincial migration soared).
Among the largest cities at the regional level, Cape Breton, NS, in Atlantic Canada boasts the highest share of homes for sale under $200K, at 44%. Populous cities across The Prairies have the most homes for sale under $200K, particularly Edmonton, AB (1,300), and Regina, SK (400), according to Point2 Homes.
So, while it’s become more of a rarity, it still is possible to buy a home for $200K in Canada — as long as you’re not too picky about location.
The concentrations of homes priced below $200K range from 36.50% in Regina, SK, to almost 7% in Calgary, AB. Notably, although Edmonton, AB, falls somewhere in the middle with nearly 25% of all homes for sale coming in at $200K or less, the city actually claimed the highest number of such listings with almost 1,300. Other cities with significant shares of homes for sale for $200K or less are: Lethbridge, AB (26.10%), Saskatoon, SK (23.47%), Winnipeg, MB (23.45%), Red Deer, AB (22.80%), and Airdrie, AB (8.43%).
With most of its large cities with median prices well below the national average, Atlantic Canada is an attractive option when it comes to affordable homes. For example, of all stock for sale in Cape Breton, NS, more than 44% is less than $200K, followed by 26.7% in Saint John, NB, and 13.46% in St. John’s, NL. Coincidentally, Halifax, NS — the largest of the six — has the smallest share of homes for sale for less than $200K (1.63%), while also posting the highest median price among the region’s largest cities at nearly $598K.
Québec City logs the most affordable median price in the region at a little more than $331K. Furthermore, the share of listings priced below $200K here closes in on 10% — a percentage that translates into about 240 homes. At the same time, gradually smaller shares around 1% to 2% are found in Longueuil, Gatineau, and Laval. Not surprisingly, Montréal boasts the highest number of overall homes for sale (about 4,900), although only 0.31% — 15 of them — are priced below $200K.
In the notoriously pricey British Columbia, $200K is barely enough for a down payment. The median home price is more than $1M in the five largest cities in BC. Right off the bat, the highest concentration of homes less than $200K — just 0.46% — is in Surrey, with most of them being manufactured homes. Meanwhile, none of the 3,200 homes for sale in Vancouver go for less than $200K, and the situation is similar in nearby Burnaby. And, although Abbotsford has the lowest median price among the region’s largest cities ($1,078,000) and 14 in 1,000 homes here are for sale, JUST 0.26% of its for-sale stock is priced at $200K or less.