There’s no doubt about it — purchasing a home in Canada is designed for two incomes.
The national average home price stood this January at $455,000, according to the Canadian Real Estate Board’s most recent report. (If you live outside of Toronto and Vancouver, the average home price is far cheaper, at around $360,000).
At the same time, the median gross income for a Canadian household with two or more people is $89,610, according to the last available Statistics Canada data, but just $28,590 for a single person. That’s right — couples earn more than double what unattached individuals do.
Considering that financial experts recommend only spending 30 percent of income on housing, couples should be spending $2,240 on their mortgage every month (really less, to account for utilities, maintenance and property taxes) and singles just $714.
But a monthly mortgage payment on the average Canadian home would be $1,500 — after a 20 percent down payment with a 30-year amortization at 3.29 percent — making it fiscally risky for all un-coupled Canadians.
Happily, Canada is a huge country, and real estate markets, along with job markets, are hyper-local. Zoocasa decided to figure out where single-people can afford to buy, and where they should avoid.
Markets Where One Income Goes Farther
The study sourced average and benchmark home prices from regional real estate boards and compared it to median income data of “persons living alone who earned employment income” as reported by Statistics Canada. To standardize results, it was assumed prospective buyers put 20 percent at 3.29 percent over 30 years.
The findings reveal Regina to be the top affordable Canadian city for singles. With an average home price far below the national average at $285,000 and a median income for single people double the national median at $58,823, this Saskatchewan city hits the sweet spot for singleton affordability.
The next-best city for the uncoupled is Saint John. With extremely low-priced properties available at an average of $181,500 and a high median income of $42,900, singles from across the country would benefit from moving out to New Brunswick.
If you’re interested in living in a larger, more bustling city with a robust economy, consider Calgary. Residents are able to snag high-paying jobs in the energy industry. Calgary homes for sale go for just under $450,000 and you need to earn $61,300 to afford one. Luckily, Calgarians singles earn the highest median salaries in the country, at $66,800.
Ottawa, another medium-sized city with the potential to make a high salary could also potentially work for single buyers. Data shows that unattached buyers between the ages of 35-54 have a median income higher than what’s needed to easily purchase a property, at about $63,000. But seniors and younger people just miss the mark, with slightly lower income. So if you’re in your prime working years, and fancy a job with the federal government, check out the MLS Ottawa, where you can grab a house for $433,000.
Toronto and Vancouver Remain Out of Financial Reach for Single Buyers
But singles would do well to leave Vancouver, Toronto, and Victoria to dual-income households (and frankly, even the median income of couples doesn’t measure up to these exorbitant housing prices).
A household would have to earn over $139,000 to even look at Vancouver homes for sale, which are the most expensive in the country. And to live comfortably in Toronto, a household would need to earn $100,000 in Toronto and $86,400 in Victoria.
Fortunately, plenty of other cities are far more welcoming to solo buyers. Check out the full list in the infographics below:
Zoocasa.com is a real estate company that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to empower Canadians to buy or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully. Home buyers can browse homes across Canada on the website or the free iOS app.