Best Canadian Markets for Buying a Home on One Income

In a housing market as geographically vast as Canada, homeownership affordability can vary widely from coast to coast; while carrying a mortgage is a major financial commitment regardless of province or city, some regions are much friendlier on buyers’ bank accounts, especially those purchasing a home on a single income.

In fact, owning a home solo can seem outright impossible in Canada’s most expensive markets. In Vancouver, where the median single-income household earns $38,164 and the average home cost was $1,071,800 in February, homeownership would cost said buyer 28 times their yearly salary, based on the home-price-to-income ratio.

This ratio is a basic affordability measure that indicates how long it would take a homeowner to completely pay off their home if they contributed 100 per cent of their annual income to shelter costs. The higher the ratio, the longer this payment timeline.

Financial experts commonly recommend restricting shelter costs to just three times one’s annual income – however, this is outstripped by even the most affordable market in Canada; owning the average-priced home of $171,596 in Saint John, NB, on the regional median income of $39,163, would still require 4 times the homeowner’s annual earnings.

Where is Buying a Home on One Income Possible?

To identify which Canadian housing markets were most affordable for single purchasers, Zoocasa calculated the home-price-to-income ratio in each of the nation’s major markets, based on February data from the Canadian Real Estate Association and the median household income from Statistics Canada.

Check out the top 10 best (and worst) markets for purchasing a home on both a solo and multiple income in the infographic below.


The Most and Least Affordable Markets for Single-Income Buyers

The 5 Most Affordable Home Markets

  • Saint John: 4 (average home price: $171,596, median one-person income: $39,163)
  • Greater Moncton: 4 (average home price: $174,800, median one-person income: $39,456)
  • Trois Riviers: 4 (average home price: $153,591, median one-person income: $34,745)
  • Fredericton: 5 (average home price: $179,981, median one-person income: $34,724)
  • Saguenay: 6 (average home price: $161,587, median one-person income: $29,125)

The 5 Least Affordable Home Markets

  • Greater Vancouver: 28 (average home price: $1,071,800, median one-person income: $38,164)
  • Fraser Valley: 25 (average home price: $795,100, median one-person income: $31,568)
  • Greater Toronto: 19 (average home price: $751,700, median one-person income: $39,560)
  • Okanagan Mainline: 18 (average home price: $509,545, median one-person income: $28,900)
  • Victoria: 17 (average home price: $642,800, median one-person income: $37,793)

About Penelope Graham

Penelope Graham is the Managing Editor at Zoocasa, and has over a decade of experience covering real estate, mortgage, and personal finance topics. Her commentary on the housing market is frequently featured on both national and local media outlets including BNN Bloomberg, CBC, The Toronto Star, National Post, and The Huffington Post. When not keeping an eye on Toronto's hot housing market, she can be found brunching in one of the city's many vibrant neighbourhoods, travelling abroad, or in the dance studio.

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