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Top 15 Cheapest Cities to Live in Ontario

Top 15 Cheapest Cities to Live in Ontario
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  • Tvine
| Feb 10, 2023
Reviewed, Jul 26, 2023
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    With house prices on a constant rise, there’s never been a better time to look at alternative cities to live in Ontario. While searching for the cheapest houses in Ontario, you’ll be surprised to find out that the cheapest place to live in Ontario is a medium-sized city and not a remote village in the northern parts of the province. In this article, we’ll give our top 5 of the best Ontario neighbourhoods taking into account house affordability, rent affordability as well as job growth. We’ll also share our top 5 Toronto neighbourhoods using the same criteria.


    Key Highlights

    • With more work-from-home opportunities, buyers are looking at homes all across Ontario not just around Toronto.
    • With many cheap homes in Ontario far below the national average, small and medium-sized cities attract new homeowners and renters thanks to their strong economy and plenty of job opportunities
    • Even within the Greater Toronto Area, there are some neighborhoods that rank well in terms of housing affordability and rental affordability.

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    5 Best Ontario Cities for Housing Affordability, Rent Affordability and Job Growth

    When looking for affordable housing in Ontario, we looked at housing and rental prices as well as the cost of living and job opportunities in the province.

    1. Sarnia

    A heaven for nature lovers, Sarnia is located in the southwestern part of Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron and very close to the US border. It has a strong theatre and music scene and a nice selection of restaurants along Michigan Avenue. The good housing affordability of Sarnia makes it the perfect place to raise a family in this city boasting over 100 parks.

    Average home price: $375,943

    Cost of living is 20% lower than the Ontario average

    Average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom apartment in Sarnia: $1,084

    2. Thunder Bay

    The ideal place for first-time buyers, Thunder Bay is a modern city located in the Northwestern part of Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. This is a great city to enjoy the outdoors, the lake and the many recreational trails in the area. It’s bordered by 2 historical cities: Fort William and Port Arthur. Buying a home in Thunder Bay is much more affordable compared to most cities of similar size in Ontario and the city has the cheapest rent in Ontario.

    Average home price: $249,911

    Cost of living is 32% lower than the Ontario average

    Average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in Thunder Bay: $1,010

    3. Sudbury 

    Also known as Great Sudbury since its amalgamation in 2001, this city offers many cheap home options for its residents. Located about 400 km North of Toronto, Sudbury is a great option for outdoor lovers and those looking for a mid-sized town with a vibrant workforce. 

    Average home price: $288,410

    Cost of living is 20% lower than the Ontario average

    Average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in Sudbury: $1,043

    4. Windsor

    On our top 5 cheap places to live in Ontario is the city of Windsor, located in the southern part of Ontario. Located just a short drive from Detroit, it has good job opportunities and vibrant communities of artists, retirees and start-up owners, due to its affordable start-up costs. Although still one of the cheapest places in Ontario, the housing market is becoming more and more competitive so make sure to check out this area before the house prices rise too much. 

    Average home price: $324,902

    Cost of living is 22% lower than the Ontario average

    Average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in Windsor: $1,413

    5. London

    The ideal place for families looking for excellent education opportunities for their children, London is home to some of the most renowned universities and secondary schools in Ontario. The largest of our top 5, London is known as the “Forest City” for its woodlands and numerous parks. Although the cost of living is only 17% lower than the Ontario average, London is still one of the most affordable cities in Ontario.

    Average home price: $481,013

    Cost of living is 17% lower than the Ontario average

    Average Monthly Cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in London: $1,478

    6. Barrie

    Located on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, Barrie has been experiencing an increase in real estate prices over the past few years. The city with an approximate population of 150,000 people is also home to one of the largest outdoor art festivals in Ontario, Kempenfest.

    Average home price: $705,000

    Cost of living is 10% lower than the Ontario average

    The average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom apartment in the Barrie: $1,650

    7. Kingston

    Kingston, Ontario is a charming and historic city located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario. Known for its stunning waterfront views, quaint downtown core, and renowned post-secondary institutions, living in Kingston is a dream for many. With a population of approximately 136,000 people, Kingston offers a small-town feel with big city amenities.

    Average home price: $616,619

    The cost of living is 19% lower than the Ontario average

    The average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom apartment in Kingston: $1,537

    8. St. Catharines / Niagara

    If you’re considering a move to Ontario, St. Catharines is a city that should definitely be on your radar. Sitting on the banks of Lake Ontario, St. Catharines offers a high quality of life with a reasonable cost of living. With a population of around 133,000, it’s not too big but not too small either- the perfect balance for those seeking a suburban lifestyle without sacrificing city amenities. 

    Average home price: $683,400

    The cost of living is 20% lower than the Ontario average

    The average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in St. Catharines: $1,396

    9. North Bay

    As one of the larger cities in Northern Ontario, North Bay offers a combination of natural beauty and urban convenience. Residents love the fact that they can enjoy a peaceful lifestyle while still having easy access to all the amenities that they need. Whether you are looking for a great place to raise a family or a relaxed retirement community, North Bay is definitely worth considering.

    Average home price: $444,626

    The cost of living is 25% lower than the Ontario average

    The average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in North Bay: $1,398

    10. Sault Ste. Marie

    Situated on the banks of the St. Marys River and bordering the United States, the city is known for its natural beauty and close-knit community. With a population of just over 70,000, Sault Ste. Marie offers a cozy and intimate living space with plenty of amenities and opportunities for growth and development. The city is a hub for various industries, including technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. Plus, the low cost of living compared to other Canadian cities makes it an attractive option for those looking to save money without sacrificing a comfortable lifestyle. 

    Average home price: $315,583

    The cost of living is 26% lower than the Ontario average

    The average monthly cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in Sault Ste. Marie: $1,157

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    5 Best Toronto Neighborhoods for Housing Affordability, Rent Affordability and Job Growth

    Even though experts think the housing bubble in Toronto is about to burst, cheap housing options in the city are still possible. It may not be the cheapest real estate in Ontario but Toronto can offer neighborhoods with good housing affordability and job growth.

    1. East Danforth

    East Danforth is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood in Toronto. Located near the junction of two major highways, East Danforth offers easy access to downtown Toronto and other parts of the city. It is a great place for families, with plenty of schools, parks, and amenities. You can also find a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and small businesses, as well as an active art and music scene. It’s sometimes called Greektown.

    Average home price: $755,269

    Cost of living is 6% lower than the Toronto average

    Average Monthly Cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in this Toronto neighborhood: $1,850

    2. Keelesdale–Eglinton West

    Keelesdale–Eglinton West is a diverse and welcoming community in the west end of Toronto. You’ll find plenty of Caribbean, Portuguese and Italian restaurants, cafes, and bars along Eglinton Avenue West and Keele Street. The neighborhood is also home to several parks and green spaces, making it a great spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors. With its convenient location and rich cultural atmosphere, Keelesdale–Eglinton West is a great place to call home.

    Average home price: $688,434

    Cost of living is 10% lower than the Toronto average

    Average Monthly Cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in this Toronto neighborhood: $2,178

    3. Harwood

    A great neighborhood for young professionals and first-time buyers, Harwood is a trendy neighborhood located in the east end of Toronto, Ontario. Located next to Toronto’s “Coolest” neighborhood, The Junction, Harwoord has a mix of low- and high-density residential properties that are more affordable than its neighbor and plenty of green space, and a range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.

    Average home price: $772,752

    Cost of living is 7% lower than the Toronto average

    Average Monthly Cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in this Toronto neighborhood: $2,013

    4. Bayview Woods – Steeles

    Bayview Woods – Steeles is a family-friendly community located in the north end of Toronto. This area is known for its lower price homes, numerous parks and recreation facilities, and convenient access to transit. The community is very safe and welcoming, making it an ideal place to raise a family.

    Average home price: $1,372,201

    Cost of living is 15% lower than the Toronto average

    Average Monthly Cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in this Toronto neighborhood: $2,375

    5. Downtown Toronto

    Some parts of Downtown Toronto are more affordable than others. This is the case in Old Town for example, where the average home price is significantly lower than in the rest of the city. The further away from the subway the cheaper it will get, also check the eastern and western parts of the Old Town to find cheaper rent. 

    Average home price: $735,461

    Cost of living is 8% lower than the Toronto average

    Average Monthly Cost of a 1-Bedroom flat in this Toronto neighborhood: $2,450

    Final Thoughts

    In conclusion, there are many great cities in Ontario that offer low-cost living. Whether you are looking for a bustling city filled with culture and entertainment or a more rural area with plenty of nature and outdoor activities, Ontario has a wide variety of cities to choose from. With careful research and planning, it’s possible to find the perfect place to live that fits your budget and lifestyle. Whenever you’re ready, contact us at nesto and speak to one of our mortgage advisors to secure your rate today.


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