Canadian real estate markets have a little something of everything for everyone. From the big-city lights of Toronto and Vancouver, to the small-town charm of Muskoka and Saint Jean, Canada is one of the most desirable places to live in the world for a reason.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian real estate market has dramatically transformed. Everything has become much more expensive over the last 20 months, making many local markets inaccessible for average Canadian homebuyers. No longer are sky-high valuations confined to major urban centres such as Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. Today, properties in small towns, suburbs, rural communities and recreational markets all come with swollen price tags.
But is this the case from coast to coast, or can homebuyers find some reprieve in certain parts of the country? A new study touts two well-known municipalities for their amenities and affordability. But before you begin putting your things in a U-Haul truck, let’s dive a little deeper into these Canadian real estate rare finds.
Edmonton & Winnipeg Named Best Cities for Amenities & Affordability in Canadian Real Estate Market
Maclean’s Magazine recently published its list of the best communities in Canada. Edmonton, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba ranked in the middle of the pack (fifth and sixth) on the top 10 list, thanks to their amenities and affordability.
The study authors were ostensibly impressed by the world-class airports, a wide range of bars and restaurants, availability of medical care, and perhaps most importantly, affordable housing options relative to the size of these municipalities.
The publication noted that Winnipeg has a population of about 778,000, and the average residential property costs a little more than $300,000. In Edmonton, the population is more than one million, and the average value of homes here is roughly $377,000.
A Closer Look at the Housing Numbers in Edmonton and Winnipeg
The Edmonton real estate market has struck a fine balance between growth and affordability. With that being said, the housing market in the Alberta capital has cooled after experiencing tremendous gains in recent months. According to the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton, total residential unit sales tumbled 8.4 per cent month-over-month in September, while residential average prices slipped 1.9 per cent from August, to $377,554.
Like other Canadian housing markets, supply has been a crucial factor in the Edmonton real estate market. New residential listings declined 1.7 per cent, and overall inventory fell 4.1 per cent on a monthly basis in September 2021. On the up side, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported that housing starts climbed at an annualized rate of 4.03 per cent to 903 in September compared to a year ago.
“The Edmonton market in September saw a healthy increase in new residential listings as compared to September 2020,” said REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair Tom Shearer in a news release. “However, as to be expected at this time of year, the year-over-year residential unit sales in the GEA were only slightly higher than September of last year, while we have started to see a decrease in the month-to-month activity. Naturally, the market is starting to cool after a very busy 18 months with pricing increasing a nominal amount year-over-year.”
The Winnipeg real estate market is enduring similar conditions as Edmonton. Sales activity dropped 15 per cent year-over-year in September, and single-family detached home prices increased 12 per cent to an average price of $379,056, according to the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board (WRREB).
By the end of September, the current supply of listings declined by 28 per cent year-over-year. New or current listings fell 16 per cent to 1,922. However, new housing construction has spiked in Winnipeg, as noted in the latest CMHC figures, with housing starts skyrocketing 207 per cent year-over-year in September, to a total of 662 units.
“Our regional market delivers some of the most affordable house prices in Canada,” said Kourosh Doustshenas, 2021 President of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board. “Increasing new housing supply and returning to a balanced market is the key to containing house price increases in the fourth quarter and beyond.”
A Guide for New Immigrants?
This past spring, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government announced that Ottawa plans to welcome approximately 1.2 million newcomers to Canada over the next three years. Relocating from one country to another can be a challenging and stressful experience, especially in the wake of recent world events and the current public health crisis. But this report can serve as a helpful guide for new immigrants, sharing the top Canadian urban communities where they can affordably live and work, while maintaining a good standard of living.