The Cost of Living in Canada

So I’ve done a couple of posts about Real Estate on my blog before (here and here). It’s a subject that truly fascinates me. Where you want to live, or dream of living means E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G to your budget. Like, we’re talking 95% of your budget factors should be location. After that you can consider size, amenities, renovations, etc…

Initially, I was going to make a post about the cost of living in Vancouver, and why it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. But, when I saw how far your money really gets you in Vancouver (a townhouse for nearly 1.4 million) I thought it would be cool to compare that to the rest of Canada. All houses shown in this list will be between $1,300,000 and $1,400,000 – as I thought it best to keep similar prices for comparison’s sake.

Why is this list interesting to someone like myself? I think there’s a preconceived notion that it’s cheap to live in Canada. And yeah, you might be able to get a cheap house, depending on where you decide to live (Spences Bridge, anyone?), but for the most part if you’re going to be living and working in a major city centre or touristy location, there’s a deep chasm between how far your money does or doesn’t go.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. If you disagree with my tastes, please don’t be offended by the snark that I’ve included. Also, please note that all of the following photos came from Realtor.CA and I presume are credited to the listing agent for each listing. If you click on the link to the listing you’ll see the agent. (Link is location and price listing)

Banff, Alberta – $1,400,000

You’re not seeing things, a home in the Canadian Rockies will cost you a pretty, pretty penny. For anyone who doesn’t know, Banff is a tourist hot-spot that people from around the world flock to each year… just to bear witness to it’s sheer beauty and breath its crisp mountain air. (Fun fact: it’s also where Knight grew up) Real estate is pricey, no matter how new or old the home, and there are increased regulations for home ownership due to it being located in a National Park. Thus, with a tiny, old, dated home such as this costing $1,400,000, 99% of the town rents… and rents at obscene prices at that.

Calgary, Alberta – $1,349,900

Now we’re talking luxury. Boasting some pretty spectacular properties on the outskirts of the city, Calgary is a place with a lot of wealth and where your money will take you a long way. This stunning brick exterior home boasts 3700 square feet of living space that includes five bedrooms (every single bedroom having its own walk in closet), four bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, and a private, landscaped, lot with big back yard that backs onto a ‘private club’ golf course. You ain’t gonna see your neighbours in this place, baby.

Cambridge, Ontario – $1,375,000

Doesn’t this home look like something from a story book? This Queen Anne style historic home (built in 1888) in Cambridge, Ontario proves that home prices are still high even if you remove yourself from the GTA(Greater Toronto area)! That being said, this house has been beautifully kept up and thoughtfully renovated over the years. If you’re the type of person who looks for a home with character, this is it. Each room tells a story and each glance gives something new to offer. Curb appeal is A+, the yard is HUGE and the home itself is just the type of home that everybody could really make their own, whether they like historic or modern.

Edmonton, Alberta – $1,385,900

Edmonton is nestled at the foot of Alberta’s oil sands and is the root of OODLES of wealth. Some of the nicest homes in Canada can be found in Alberta’s capital and this home is no exception. Built in 1990, I’d describe this 6,000 square foot home as vintage modern. It’s been updated well over the years, as you can clearly see from photos, but there are some dated pieces to it’s structure. All in all, would it be an incredible home with incredible yard to call home? Sure, if you want to live in one of the most regressive cities in Canada.

Fernie, British Columbia – $1,400,000

Fernie is a mountain town that… fun fact, is where the movie Hot Tub Time Machine was filmed. Nestled smack dab between two of the biggest ski resort towns in North America (Whistler and Banff) Fernie is a town often forgot about by internationals, but on a local scale has seen it’s popularity on the rise. This luxurious, modern home was built in 2012 and is centrally located for any and every outdoor activity your little heard could ever desire. If you want to experience mountain living at its finest, without the overly tourist-oriented mentality of the well-known mountain towns, this house and this town is the place that you should be. Honestly, the hot tub, the deck, the modern style and updated functionality… I’m daydreaming. I really am.

Montreal, Quebec – $1,395,000

Montreal is a city that’s famous for it’s history. There’s a lot of old architecture in the city that really draws people in to it’s almost… European charm if I do say so. (Though people from Montreal might not like me saying that) This stunning brick home was built in 1987, so it’s older than I am, and the interior almost looks as though it hasn’t been updated since then either. It’s going to take some serious dough for a buyer to update this place to decorative styles that match this decade. And if you’re already spending over a million dollars on a home, do you really want to be doing renovating from there? This home is a perfect reason you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Street appeal is A+ but inside you can watch all your dolla bills fly away from the updates you’d need to do.

Ottawa, Ontario – $1,389,000

Oh Ottawa, you’re such an enigma. Seriously, for Canada’s capital, your money won’t stretch very far. I mean it. There were condos on the list for $1,400,000. And, if this home looks a lot like another home on our list, it’s because it is! Seems this… style of tall and skinny homes is popping up more and more across our country. There’s not really anything special about this home. It’s new, so that’s a plus. It’s got an all-white interior, so if you have children that might not be a plus. But hey, if you need to live and work in our capital and have a lot of money that you don’t care about, this house is exactly what you’re looking for!

Parry Sound, Ontario – $1,300,000

Nestled in the heart of Ontario’s ‘Cottage Country’ this cottage is no joke. Containing 11.9 acres of land and 600 feet of Georgian Bay shoreline, this is the ultimate summer home for anyone with an extra 1.3 mill laying around. I’ve included this home on the list, because much like Whistler and Banff, this home sits in one of our countries famous tourist hot spots. This home proves though, that you can seemingly get a lot more for your money in cottage country than you can in the mountains! Warning: this home is for wood lovers only. The interior is definitely not for everyone’s taste!

Quebec City, Quebec – 1,399,000

Of all the homes on this list, I think this might just be my favourite. Built in 2004, this stunning 2-storey stone/wood home sits on a picturesque property with beautiful yard and plenty of space to raise kids, or not. There’s 4100 square feet with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a very unique design to every room in the home. Some updates would be necessary, but, all in all, I think there is a Mona Lisa quality to this place. Bonus points for it being nestled in the heart of Quebec City, a city rich in beautiful Canadian history and the world’s best poutine.

Regina, Saskatchewan – $1,399,900

It’s worth noting that this is the only home in the city of Regina for sale that costs more than $1,300,000, so that is why it’s made the list. Built in 1991, the design of the home is a little dated (although I fully admit some people still like that look… it’s just not my particular style) and the neighbours are RIGHT THERE. Seriously, that’s neighbour house next to the truck (on the left) and you can see the shadows of the neighbours on the right side of the photo too.The garage situation makes no sense. Also, I don’t know why you’d want to drop 1.4 million on a home only to be able to hear your neighbours phone ring…

Surrey, British Columbia – $1,395,000

No, this is not a joke. This is what 1.4 million will get you in the suburbs of Vancouver. That’s right! Not even in Vancouver, but the suburbs! The Greater Vancouver Area (known locally as the ‘Lower Mainland’) is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. As Vancouver has continuously made the list of most expensive cities to live in, people have slowly, gradually, made their way farther and farther out from its city limits, sadly only to find heartbreak and disappointment when they see how much their money won’t get them. If you want to live in the Lower Mainland, you better be independently wealthy or, be prepared to rent.

Toronto, Ontario – $1,399,000

I’ll admit, this custom built, nearly new and very modern home is a bit of an anomaly in a city that’s real estate is typically much older. The home is freestanding, with next to zero yard space… but, if you need to have roommates to help pay your mortgage, you can boast about your whopping five parking spaces available! Don’t miss out on all that the Toronto housing market doesn’t have to offer.

Vancouver, British Columbia – $1,398,000

For the low, low price of nearly 1.4 million dollars you can own your very own, run-of-the-mill town-home. I will admit that this home, built in 1974, has been nicely renovated on the inside. That being said, I still can’t get past the fact that it’s a basic town-home.You get no yard, only 2113 square feet and one parking space… and the property taxes are still $2,600 a year!

Whistler, British Columbia – $1,395,500

For nearly 1.4 million you can own your own run-of-the-mill town-home in Whistler, the ski and snowboard capital of Canada and Australia’s home away from home! (Holla if you’re Australian and you get this joke). There’s nothing special about this town-home. There’s a roof. There’s a kitchen. There are walls. But hey, I guess that’s the price you gotta pay to be at the foot of some of the most incredible ski and snowboard mountains in the world.

Winnipeg, Manitoba – $1,399,646

Winnpeg, Canada’s forgotten city. Right smack dab in the middle of our country, Winnipeg is famous for horrible winters and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I won’t lie to you, I picked this home because of it’s flat roof. A home having a flat roof in a city that spends 7-8 months of the year buried in snow seems like a lot of effort. Effort because, with a flat roof, you have to shovel the roof, rather than having the snow just slide off. I will say that it’s a really beautiful home. The inside is well laid out so if you don’t mind that there is not much of a yard, at all, and you don’t mind the frigid winters, this might be the home for you!


How do these compare to homes where you’re from? What do you think about the prices of homes in Canada? Do you have any real estate links you could show me for where you’re from? I’d love to draw comparisons between Canadian cities and towns and other countries.

42 thoughts on “The Cost of Living in Canada

  1. Now I dare you to look at houses in the US. You will cry. A large 5,000 sq ft house will only cost you a few hundred thousand at the very most. You can get a very decently sized home for $250,000 in most states. I refuse to buy a house in Calgary because I think that housing is ridiculously overpriced in Canada. Your post touches on this point very well. I would be surprised to see anything priced at 1.4M in Oakville or Richmond Hill for that matter. You might be able to get a condo but that’s about it.

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    1. I tried looking for houses in the States for comparison… all of the sites I found required a membership, or for me to give over my phone number and customer information. Since I was just looking for fun, I didn’t want to give out my phone number for a realtor to phone me and waste their time. lol

      I know that, especially in the south, houses are hella cheap. Oh and in the midwest too. I think unless you’re living in NYC, Boston, LA or San Francisco, then housing doesn’t really compare to Canada. Even up here where I’m living (in the middle of nowhere) a basic house built forty years ago starts at half a million…

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      1. Nick looks up house prices often and idk what site he uses. Places he’s looking at are Arizona, Texas, New York, Michigan, and Florida. I said no to Michigan and New York. What’s the point of living there if it’s close to southern Ontario? Might as well live in Canada then. (that’s my logic, anyways).

        Yeah…. don’t give them your phone number. Not only is housing generally cheaper but the cost of food is cheaper too. Cost of living is cheaper overall. Half a million for a house in Canada is still a pretty penny for a typical Millennial. It’s a shame that we can’t even afford to live in the same neighborhood as our parents anymore.

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      2. try zillow. its free i’d be interested t o hear bc i suck at math numbers stuff. i think that its location location location. like the old adage, not based on country. honestly some houses may be cheaper here but i bet its not safer. oregon has high state taxes on property as opposed to other states, i would love to hear more about your canadian life. i’ve visited vancouver and that’s all i know. lol

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    2. Your prices are WAY off, Hilary!!! I’m in California and shopping for houses in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The minimum for a decent home is at least $300,000. Minimum… once you get up closer to $400,000 you’re still talking a modest home, but nice. In California, you can barely get a townhouse for $400,000. You must be in Texas or the Midwest. The majority of the States are not inexpensive like that. I’ve also looked at Illinois and many other states. Look more!!! 🙂

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      1. @Succulent Savage Those prices are still a lot cheaper and affordable compared to what you can get in Canada, which is the point I was trying to make. I’m not the one who was looking up housing prices or researching them, so if they aren’t accurate I apologize for that. That being said, I am aware that the prices vary considerably from state to state.

        My husband and I weren’t looking to move to California (one of the more expensive states from what I’ve heard) or Illinois for that matter.

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      2. That’s all well and fine, but you’re making gross assumptions about the US at large from the part you live in. There are few states in which your price range is relevant. I’m simply suggesting that you think before you make broad sweeping statements about the entire US. And, no, the prices aren’t that different in parts of California and other states to the Canadian ones.

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    1. Banff has regulations a lot of regulations because it’s a national park. So even purchasing this home, you’d have to be pre-approved as a suitable owner by the town, you’d have to get permission to renovate it and you’d have to sign an affidavit that you’d either live in it for at least five years, or if you rented it, the people you rented to were approved by town council!

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  2. I’m in Vancouver, and it’s really quite insane. It’s almost impossible to find a house under a million. I bought my condo in 2005 and it’s doubled in value since then. Not that it does me any good unless I move to Spences Bridge.

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    1. HAHAHA No kidding, eh? And Spences Bridge is not a place you ever want to live.

      House prices in the Lower Mainland have pretty much skyrocketed even going out as far as Aggasiz and Abbottsford/Chilliwack.

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  3. My husband and I are currently house-shopping and I can confirm that the prices in Ottawa have become crazy. We are actually looking as far as Casselman (50 min from Ottawa on the highway!) to try and find something affordable and large enough for our growing family. And million-dollar condos are popping up everywhere!! I hope we never reach Vancouver’s insane prices… But we’re not headed in a great direction.

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    1. Ooh, please do tell me how it goes? Not that you want to share what house you could be potentially buying on the internet – but if you see anything that’s truly ridiculous with a disgusting price that you know you won’t touch – show me! I’d love to see what it’s like.

      My exes family lives in Brockville and he was saying that his brother drove from Brockville to Ottawa for work EVERY DAY. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t imagine being in the car that long every day. But, honestly, sometimes that’s what you have to do if you’re not independently wealthy. House prices in the city are ridiculous!

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  4. Land is cheap in the Philippines, specially if you’re fine living outside the city. It can get expensive in major cities, though.

    I have some folks in Canada – Surrey and somewhere in Vancouver, I think… I could be wrong. They had been convincing me to work there some time ago.

    Those houses look nice. The prices are nice too… hahaha…

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    1. My best friend’s extended family lives in the Philippines and she goes there every couple of years to visit them. Honestly, from what she’s shown me, there’s vast differences between cities and remote locations there too! She says you wouldn’t even want to consider buying in the city. It would be too difficult.

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    1. Oh yes! London… isn’t it like… the most expensive city in the world? I’m pretty sure it is. I believe it. When I see all these youtubers with their London ‘flats’ I’m like… ya’ll must have rich parents because there’s no way that your youtube salary can get you a place in the city….

      My grandfather grew up in Bristol, and funnily enough the house he grew up in is still there and for sale! I think that it’d be cool to live outside of London and commute in so you weren’t struggling to get by from the cost of living.

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      1. I live 45 minutes away from London and trust me, houses are still very expensive here. Best bet is to head North up to the Midlands, where they start to come down, but then all the big cities are still fairly expensive, London is the worst though and forcing people on minimum wage out

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  5. Here in Moose Jaw the prices have gone crazy.
    Just a double wide three bedroom two bath was selling for $250,000.00
    I am not sure about house prices, but in the newer suburbs they are probably near the million dollar mark. Too rich for my budget.
    Rentals also are demanding ridiculous prices. Most one bedroom apartments rent for around a thousand plus for one month’s rent.

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    1. Here in Northern BC a basic, run of the mill, single family home that’s 30-40 years old starts at half a million dollars. So I completely understand where you’re coming from… even in the smaller locales in this country, house prices are crazy!

      When I lived in Alberta, I was pay $1,600 a month for a really shitty apartment just because it was centrally located.

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      1. Moose Jaw is seeing a building boom both in commercial, and residential.
        When I first moved into this place 22 yrs ago I could look out and see open fields. It felt like country within the city limits.
        In the past it was nothing to see deer come through the mobile home park. While walking my dog one day I spotted a rabbit. I just let the dog go and chase it. I laughed my heart out at the sight.
        It is all commercial buildings now in those open fields.

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      2. Which is funny, you think of it like a city. Moose Jaw just seems sooo very small to me. I guess it’s in how you look at things, right? I grew up with 1.2 million people around me.

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      3. I am a transplant to the prairies. I came to Regina because the preacher came to the city to take Pastoral over a congregation. As the organist I followed.
        I lived in Toronto so I understand about you living in a large metropolitan city. I now wouldn’t leave Moose Jaw. I have fallen in love with this city and the people.
        You can be walking around and complete strangers will still say “hello and have a nice day”.
        Go figure!

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    1. Do any people choose to live there and drive into San Fran for work? That happens a lot up here in Canada, people will live an hour or two out of the city and just commute every day so they don’t have to go for broke, as I presume a townhouse in SanFran would be a fucking billion dollars…

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      1. Yes and yes!!! The rents alone in SF are insane!!! Like $2,000 a month for a studio apartment WITH rent control. My friend lived in SF for years and his buddy owns a small flat that’s the size of a cracker jack box and it would sell for way over $1M. Commuting is the sensible thing. Up north where I am is substantially cheaper than the same distance south of SF. Well, it’s Silicon Valley area. A modest little house is $750,00+. One of the many reasons I”m looking to get out of California. The pay rates don’t keep up with the housing market and other inflation unless you’re a Dot.Com or some other high finance kind of business.

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  6. This was really great to see the comparisons! I can’t believe what you get for those prices in Vancouver! My Uncle is currently living there but he says at the end of the month he had to move back home to Quebec because the cost is too crazy. The closest city to me is North Battleford and nothing is selling because of the crime so I’m sure prices are starting to come down there.

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    1. Quebec is definitely much cheaper than Vancouver, that’s for certain. Your money will get you a whole lot more there.

      I’ve heard some pretty horrible things about North Battleford crime rates, so I can’t imagine that does real estate there any benefits!

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  7. I’m from the London Ontario area and while things aren’t quite that expensive yet, housing costs have been increasing something like 20-30% a year for the past several years.
    Still, I was looking at moving to Brampton for work until I saw the housing / rental prices there, apparently London isn’t so bad!

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    1. I’ve heard that London isn’t too, too bad for being in that general vicinity of the Southern Ontario region. Honestly, if I ever lived there, I’m not sure where I’d live. I went to an interview in Hamilton a couple months back and while it seems like a nice town, there doesn’t appear to be much there?

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  8. Vee, I am not into real estate at all, maybe my father is the right person for it. Although, North or South America will always be very expressive for Indians. We do have few sites if you ever happen to check, 99acres.com, magicbricks, makaan, etc.
    Although not my field of interest but I like the way you write. Be happy 😊

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  9. I live in Los Angeles where houses in my neighborhood are around the same prices ($1.3-1.5 million USD). But the ones you show of Canada are MUCH more spacious; you practically have a forest as a backyard! Here in LA, you get a small patio and yard, if you’re lucky. Guess it’s all about perspective!

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    1. Los Angeles is its own demon. Honestly, the housing there isn’t really a reflection of the rest of the country, or world for that matter. HAHA! Although, I do hear if you branch out from the Los Angeles city limits, houses tend to immediately get cheaper. Any truth to that? Is that why so many people tend to settle in places like Orange County?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that’s true. Especially if you go out to the Valley (but it gets really hot there!). The OC is less dense and sometimes cheaper, but with the trend of people moving out there, housing costs are starting to increase as a result.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Vee, please throw some light on Canada Express entry thing. I get emails and newsletters that my profile is shortlisted. I don’t know which profile though. But can you please help me understand this better. Thanks!

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