More and more Canadians are opting for solo living – in fact, one-person households were the predominant household type in 2021 according to Statistics Canada. But with both rental costs and home prices rising, where can those looking to get into homeownership afford to go on a single income?
Offering buyers a lower price point and less upkeep, apartments are one of the most popular gateways to the real estate market. Not only are they good entry-level homes for first-time buyers, but they tend to be more affordable for solo budgets.
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To find out where a single income can go the furthest, Zoocasa analyzed the minimum down payment needed to purchase a benchmark apartment in 15 regions in Canada, and compared it to the after-tax single-household median incomes earned in each. The study also calculated how many months it would take for such a homebuyer to save up the necessary down payment, assuming they contribute 100% of their income annually.
Big City Markets More Difficult for Single Buyers
The nation’s most expensive markets, Vancouver and Toronto, require apartment minimum down payments greater than the median after-tax income of single households – meaning solo buyers will have to save their income for more than a year before being able to afford a benchmark-priced apartment. In particular, single homebuyers in Vancouver will need to save for 13.9 months before being able to pay the necessary $48,740 minimum down payment for an apartment.
Solo dwellers in Toronto are faced with similar challenges as their west coast counterparts. With a yearly salary of $41,200, a single homebuyer in Toronto would have to save for 13.2 months to afford the $45,370 minimum down payment.
The third most expensive market, Victoria, offers single buyers less of a challenge, however it’s still pricier than the country as a whole. A single buyer earning $40,000 would need to save for 9.2 months before having enough for the required minimum down payment of $30,810.
Dollars Go Farther Outside of British Columbia and Ontario
The most affordable British Columbian market, Vancouver Island, is still nearly twice as expensive as Regina, where an after-tax median income of $42,400 only requires 2.9 months of saving to afford the minimum down payment of $10,410.
This trend continues when comparing the most affordable Ontarian market, Ottawa, with the most affordable market on our list, Edmonton. The benchmark apartment in Ottawa can be purchased for $408,800, while median single-income households bring in $48,400. That would require 5.1 months to save up for the required $20,440. Meanwhile, a benchmark apartment in Edmonton costs $183,100 and would take a single buyer earning $42,800 only 2.6 months to save the required $9,155 down payment.
Other affordable markets include Calgary, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon, where median income earners only need to save for less than 4.1 months to be able to afford the down payment for a benchmark-priced apartment.
If you’re a single buyer looking to get into the real estate market, we can help. Give us a call today to speak with a qualified agent in your area!
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As Zoocasa's Content Marketing Specialist, Mackenzie is passionate about all things writing - both professionally and personally - and has had her work published in the New York Times. Outside of work, you can often find her traveling abroad, learning a new language, or reading a novel.