You may have heard stories about young people leaving cities in search of more affordable housing. A recent study shows the city of Toronto lost 142,000 more people than it attracted from 2012 to 2017 as residents moved to other parts of Ontario.
And it’s no wonder. Stories abound about urban service workers becoming less and less able to afford homes close to where they work. In Vancouver, the nasty trend of renovictions – where tenants are displaced so the landlord can perform renovations and re-list the property at a much higher price – is emptying entire apartment buildings at a time.
Want to find solace in the suburbs? Think again. A recent study from our friends at Zoocasa shows the most unaffordable housing market in the Greater Toronto Area isn’t even in the downtown core; it’s north of the city in Richmond Hill, 45 minutes away by GO Train and over an hour by bus or car. There, the average home price is $999,311.
But you don’t have to suffer the inner-city pressure. You can afford a luxury home, with all the granite countertops and sustainably sourced hardwood flooring you want. Just not in the Lower Mainland or Greater Toronto Area.
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Affording a luxury mortgage
According to Statistics Canada, the median household income in Canada was $70,336 in 2015. Since income is the biggest determining factor in getting a mortgage, we can use a mortgage affordability calculator to determine a family with the median income can afford a maximum purchase price of $417,519 with a down payment of $83,504 and a 30-year mortgage.
Armed with a maximum purchase price and a willingness to move, here’s where you can afford to live in luxury:
Burns Lake, British Columbia
A short 2½-hour drive west of Prince George is Burns Lake, a community with a population of 2,000 nestled among some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer.
There, you can afford this beautiful log home with three bedrooms and four bathrooms on a six-acre lot for the affordable price of $419,000. With mahogany floors and a jacuzzi in the master bathroom, living here will feel like a permanent vacation.
Squamish, British Columbia
In the resort town of Squamish, this two-bedroom apartment in a hotel/condo complex features incredible mountain views, high-end appliances, and stunning shared amenities. The unit can be rented out as a hotel room for extra income whenever you head back to the city for visits, and the $365,000 price tag keeps it nicely within budget for a first time homebuyer in BC.
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Just a short 8-hour drive from Winnipeg in light traffic, you’ll find the largest city on Lake Superior in all its glory.
For the luxury-seeker who just can’t give up city life, this executive condo built in a former high school features high ceilings, a lake view and all the upgrades. It might just do the trick at a list price of $354,900.
Stone Mills, Ontario
Just a few minutes northeast of Napanee, Ontario is Stone Mills, where you’ll find a beautifully restored heritage home you can have all to yourself. With a spiral staircase, chef’s kitchen, wood floors and four bedrooms for an asking price of $399,000, this could be the perfect choice for a first-time homebuyer in Ontario.
Between Trois Rivieres and Shawinigan (around halfway between Montreal and Quebec City), Notre-Dame-Du-Mont-Carmel is a small village with the affordable McMansion you’ve been waiting for.
This massive property includes an 18-seat movie theatre, a toilet with lots of buttons on it, a loft with a fully-stocked bar, an exercise room, and a covered patio with a hot tub for an asking price of only $379,900.
According to Statistics Canada only 3 in 10 people in the area speak some English, so you might want to brush up on your French before you move.
Upper Queensbury, New Brunswick
In western New Brunswick, along the St. John River, is a town so small its Wikipedia article fails to mention its population. However, Upper Queensbury could have its pupulation increased by one … you if you choose this custom built executive home priced at $399,900.
With 165 feet of waterfront on almost three acres of land, 4,000 square-feet of living space, and big beautiful windows, this beautiful home will make your city-dwelling friends green with envy.
Plus, you can visit the world’s largest axe, a 3-minute drive away by car. Or, take the included jet boat across the river for the ultimate axe-viewing experience. While the jet boat could theoretically get you to Fredericton, the 45-minute ride might be more practical by car.
Shediac, New Brunswick
On New Brunswick’s east coast, just northwest of Moncton, the lobster capital of the world awaits you.
After you steam your lobsters in this executive bungalow’s well-appointed kitchen, you can spend time in your massive back yard, relax in the lounge, visit your fully finished basement, or head out to the nearby marina. Or, just take a nap in one of your five bedrooms.
With an asking price of just $414,900, you’ll be able to afford all the lobster you want.
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