Growing numbers of first-time homebuyers are venturing farther in search of an affordable first home. While leading metropolitan cities like Vancouver or Toronto will always be strong draws, they’re challenging markets to crack: in December 2018, the benchmark price of a home hit $1.05 million in Greater Vancouver and $796,800 in Greater Toronto.
Homebuyers have driven booms in revitalized municipalities like Hamilton, Ont. and Surrey, B.C. These growing cities offer great value for homebuyers seeking more home for their real estate buck – yet their new-found popularity comes with swelling sticker prices. So, what should your client do if they’re on a super tight budget? Are there any exciting cities where they can buy a home for less than the national average of half a million dollars?
Fortunately, yes! Below are examples of four up-and-coming communities that are ideal for new buyers. These cities offer more than just great entry-level real estate: they’re also uniquely fantastic communities to set down roots in.
Average 2018 home price: $394,515
Approximate population: 103,811
Why your clients will love it: This Thompson Valley river town sits in the shadow of mountains, enjoys beautiful weather and has a relaxed, outdoorsy vibe. Kamloops boasts all the millennial must-haves: arts and culture, yoga studios, restaurants and a farmers’ market, plus amazing proximity to hiking, skiing, fishing and snow sports. Kamloops offers the quintessential B.C. lifestyle for a fraction of the cost of Vancouver living.
Average 2018 home price: $300,854 (Halifax-Dartmouth)
Approximate population: 403,390
Why your clients will love it: Canada’s East Coast offers amazing value to anyone who’s ready to make the leap. Unlike other Maritime municipalities where job prospects may be suboptimal, Halifax is booming. One of Canada’s top tech hubs, the fast-growing city enjoys low unemployment, a healthy economy, universities, the Atlantic Ocean and über- affordable real estate. Beaches, culture, a growing food scene – what more could they seek in a first home city?
Average 2018 home price: $383,229 (London-St. Thomas)
Approximate population: 383,437
Why your clients will love it: London is home to Western University and boasts a thriving entertainment and food scene. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ranks it among Canada’s best cities for women, thanks to its safety, economic security, education, health and leadership opportunities. Nicknamed the Forest City, London has plenty of green spaces to kick back in.
Average 2018 home price: $554,326
Approximate population: 131,794
Why your clients will love it: Guelph is a nature lover’s paradise, with two scenic rivers and endless kilometres of recreational trails that meander through forests and parks. It’s low in crime and has long been renowned for its high standard of living, not to mention its laid-back, university-city vibe.
These are just a few examples of the wonderful communities across Canada. And regardless of where you practice real estate, looking beyond big city limits will provide great options for first-timers looking to achieve their dream of homeownership.
Written for REM by Genworth Canada.