These Are the Most Affordable Neighbourhoods in Guelph [INFOGRAPHIC]

For those looking for an idyllic city to call home, Guelph fits the bill. Known for its robust manufacturing industry – the city boasts a historically low unemployment rate of just 2.3% – green lifestyle, and variety of family-friendly neighbourhoods, it’s not hard to see why it has steadily become a popular real estate destination, especially for those looking to get the most out of their buying budgets.

That it is also conveniently situated close to other major southwestern Ontario urban centres and has direct access to Highway 401, has also made the city a draw; buyers from nearby markets have flocked to it in recent years for its comparable affordability, especially as the national mortgage stress test has squeezed borrowers’ limits.

For example, Guelph’s benchmark prices for detached houses and condos comes in at roughly half of what’s available in the 416 market – it’s no wonder the city has a reputation for well-priced, affordable real estate compared to Toronto, and in line with Kitchener homes for sale and Waterloo homes for sale.

Guelph has also experienced a recent boom in development, with new mid-rise and high-rise condo opportunities in Downtown, the Ward and the South end ushering in amenities to suit urban lifestyles and the tastes of a growing millennial buyer population.

“Existing and planned apartment and high-rise developments in the downtown region are attractive to buyers looking for the right mix of convenience, an urban lifestyle, and affordability,” says Brendan Clark, real estate agent with Zoocasa in Guelph. “This includes younger, first-time buyers, investors, and a growing proportion of homeowners looking to downsize.”

How Much Do Buyers Need to Buy a Home in Guelph?

This increased demand has put upward pressure on real estate values, with the average price of Guelph homes for sale experiencing a searing increase over the last decade; prices rose a whopping 92% to $502,659, from 2008. 

That’s led to concerns of reduced affordability in what has long been considered a financially accessible market. In fact, the city finds itself in a tight sellers’ market, with 71% of all newly listed homes sold over the course of 2018. With prices on the rise, how much income would a buyer require to get into the Guelph housing market?

To find out, Zoocasa crunched the numbers, sourcing the average 2018 home price (from the Guelph and District Association of Realtors between January – December), for 11 markets across the city. The study then calculated the minimum income required to qualify for a mortgage on the average home in each neighbourhood, assuming a 20% down payment, 3.29% mortgage rate, and 30-year amortization. 

That number was then compared to the actual median income of $77,984 in the city, as reported by Statistics Canada, to see whether buyers would have an income surplus on their home purchase (i.e. not purchasing at the top of their mortgage affordability), or an income gap, meaning the neighbourhood remains outside the realm of affordability.

The findings reveal the vast majority of Guelph markets can be considered affordable, with buyers enjoying an income surplus in 10 of 11 markets. As well, in the only neighbourhood to present an income gap, Kortright East, the chasm in affordability was relatively small at just $2,733.

The neighbourhood of Willow West / Sugarbush ranked as the most affordable, with an average home price of $410,916. There, a buyer with the median income would enjoy a surplus of $21,931. That’s followed by Waterloo / West Acres, where the average $478,435 home could be purchased with $12,721 left over, and St. George / the Ward, where the median income could qualify for the average home price of $479,229 with $12,613 left in pocket.

Clark notes that there is something for everyone in each of these neighbourhoods. For instance, the Ward, which is just a 15-minute walk to the downtown area, boasts a number of well-preserved, older homes that would be a good opportunity for investors and first-time buyers. On the other hand, the Willow West / Sugarbush area while relatively further away, is known for being family-friendly with reasonably sized and priced single-family homes and a number of recently-built townhomes on offer.

Check out the infographic below to see which Guelph markets are the most affordable for home buyers:

Top 3 Most Affordable Neighbourhoods in Guelph

1 – Willow West / Sugarbush

Average home price: $410,916

Income required: $56,053

Income surplus: $21,931

2 – Waterloo / West Acres

Average home price: $478,435

Income required: $65,263

Income surplus: $12,721

3 – St. George / The Ward

Average home price: $479,229

Income required: $65,371

Income surplus: $12,613

Top 3 Least Affordable Neighbourhoods in Guelph

1 – Kortright East

Average home price: $591,726

Income required: $80,717

Income gap: $2,733

2 – Clairfields / Westminster Woods

Average home price: $547,475

Income Required: $74,681

Income surplus: $3,303

3 – Downtown

Average home price: $533,127

Income Required: $72,723

Income surplus: $5,261

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.