Ontario is one of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories. It is the second largest province in Canada and covers an area that is bigger than France and Spain combined. It has the second most expensive real estate in the country after British Columbia. The average house price in Ontario for May 2022 was $940,485 compared to British Columbia’s $989,661.
The house prices in Ontario are up 8.7% from May 2021 when the price of an average house was still under $900.000. However, the average price in May was 5% lower than April’s average, which was $985,354.
With such high average house prices and price increases across the province, is it still possible to find cheap property anywhere in Ontario? In this article, we have listed the places with the cheapest real estate in Ontario.
Ontario facts and geography
Ontario borders Quebec to the east, Manitoba to the west, and the Great Lakes and the United States to the south. The south of the province has fertile farmland, and the north is grassy lowlands. The two are separated by the rocky and mineral-rich Canadian Shield.
There are over 250,000 lakes in Ontario and they contain about one-fifth of the fresh water in the world. The winter and summer temperatures in the province are very different. In the summer, the temperatures can get to above 30°C, while during the winter they can fall below -40°C.
The longest south to north distance in Ontario is 1,691 kilometres and east to north is 1,568 kilometres. The highest point in Ontario is 693 metres above sea level. Ontario has the world’s largest freshwater island, which is the Manitoulin Island in Georgian Bay. It is a great place to learn about the local Indigenous culture.
The cities and towns in the north of Ontario are on a similar latitude as London, England. The southernmost point, Middle Island in Lake Erie, is roughly parallel to Rome, Italy.
Because Ontario is such a large province, it stretches across two different time zones. The two zones are the Central Time Zone and Eastern Time Zone and their boundary line is just west of Thunder Bay.
There are a range of industries in Ontario including agriculture, mineral mining, automobile manufacturing, software designing and technology. There are excellent job opportunities within all these industries across the province.
Ontario is one of the most multicultural provinces in Canada. This richness is celebrated through festivals such as the Caribbean Carnival, Oktoberfest, and Canadian Aboriginal Festival.
Many people choose Ontario as their home because it has safe cities and towns. There are lots of recreational activities, the education system is brilliant and includes world-class universities and then there is the cultural diversity. The latter, especially, makes newcomers feel welcome and helps them to settle in.
The cheapest places in Ontario
Where is the cheapest real estate in Ontario? According to the latest house market data, the eight cheapest places in Ontario are Rainy River, Thunder Bay, Deep River, Sudbury, Sarnia, Kingston, Windsor, and London.
Let’s take a closer look at the prices and what those places are like.
1. Rainy River
Rainy River is a tiny rural community on Ontario’s border with Minnesota. In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, there were only 557 people living in Rainy River.
It is a perfect place for anyone looking for a quiet life far removed from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities. It is popular with young families looking for a safe place with an active and welcoming community in which to raise their children.
Everyone who moves to Rainy River is met by a Welcome Committee and is invited to join local clubs and community groups. It couldn’t be easier to meet new people and get involved in the community.
The Rainy River area is a haven for nature lovers because you can spot 130 species of birds as well as moose, black bears and deer. Families will enjoy spending time in Hannam Park, which has a sandy beach, a volleyball court, a playground, and a wading pool.
The average house price in Rainy River is $312,675.
2. Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay is on the Lake Superior and is home to 113,216 people. Despite being in the same province as Toronto, Thunder Bay is closer to Winnipeg in Manitoba. It takes sixteen hours to drive to Toronto and about seven and a half to Winnipeg.
Its location on the Lake Superior makes Thunder Bay an excellent choice for anyone who loves watersports as long as you don’t mind being several hours from the big Canadian cities. There are plenty of recreational activities in the winter, too, including ice fishing, skiing and ice skating.
For people looking to build a career, there are good work opportunities in many growing sectors such as accounting, mining, technology and aerospace. There is also a lot of support for anyone looking to start their own business from the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, including help with professional development and opportunities to network.
The median sale price for homes sold in Thunder Bay in May 2022 was $343,229
3. Deep River
Deep River is a small town in eastern Ontario, about 208 kilometres from Ottawa. In 2021, it was home to 4,139 people. It was established in 1944 to house employees of the Chalk River Laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. The economy of the area is still rooted in the nuclear industry.
The town benefits from its location on the Ottawa river. It has stunning scenery and residents can go boating on the river or hiking the hills across it. In the winter, there are opportunities for winter sports, including downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Deep River was recently named the best place to live in Canada by the website Moving Waldo. The ranking was based on safety, affordability and access to recreational facilities and parks in the area.
The median listing price for homes for sale in Deep River is $365,000.
Sudbury, in northern Ontario, is the largest city in the area and a hub for tourism, financial services, healthcare and education. By land area, Sudbury is the largest city in Ontario and the fifth largest in Canada. Almost 40% of its 166,004 residents speak French.
The economy in Sudbury has always been linked closely to the mining industry, and the city is known as the hard rock mining capital of the world. However, the economy has diversified and now entrepreneurship is key to the local economy with close to 12,000 small and medium-sized business in the city.
Other than mining, top industries in Sudbury include manufacturing, business services, film, research and tourism. The city is part of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program, which offers a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers.
The average price of homes sold in Sudbury in May 2022 was $499,544.
Sarnia, with a population of 71,419 is on the southernmost point of Lake Huron. It is a border town linked to Port Huron in the US via the Blue Water Bridge. The area around Sarnia is flat and agricultural.
The city is a popular choice for retirees and it has a slightly older than average population. The median age is 4-5 years higher than the median for Canada. Its affordable property prices make it popular with pensioners because the house prices are 30% cheaper than the Canadian average.
Other than agriculture, petrochemicals is the main industry in the city. There are over fifty facilities and refineries in the area around the city with direct pipelines bringing oil from Alberta. There is also a growing industry around clean energy with one of the largest light-to-energy converting plants in Canada.
The average price of homes sold in Sarnia in May 2022 was $576,412.
Kingston was the first capital of Canada for three years until the authorities decided the location was not quite right. Today, this city on Lake Ontario and at the source of the St. Lawrence and Cataraqui rivers is home to 132,485 people and the city’s population is still growing.
Kingston has all the amenities you would find in the bigger cities, but living here comes at a fraction of the cost. There are plenty of outdoor spaces to explore such as the Sandbanks Provincial Park and the Big Sandy Bay. For culture lovers, Kingston hosts music and film festivals, including the Kingston Canadian Film Festival.
There are job opportunities in manufacturing, technology, aviation, tourism and the food industry in Kingston and just outside of the city. If you are thinking of a career change, then Kingston is a good option for you because there are many local programs designed to help new residents find work.
The average price of homes sold in May 2022 in Kingston was $673,317.
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada on the the US border. It is a medium-sized city with 339,515 residents. In downtown Windsor, you are only 3,7 km from Detroit via the Detroit Windsor Tunnel and many locals enjoy regular trips across the river for additional shopping options as well as sporting and cultural events.
Windsor is a very multicultural city and over 20% of the residents were born outside Canada. It is the most diverse city in Ontario after the Greater Toronto Area. It is also a young city with a median age of 36 years.
The city’s proximity to Detroit has affected Kingston’s industry, and it has been nicknamed the Automotive Capital of Canada. Some of the biggest employers in the area are in the automotive business and include automotive assembly, engine manufacturing and auto parts manufacturing companies.
The average price of a home in Windsor was $692,759 in April 2022.
London is in southwestern Ontario within the Quebec-Windsor Corridor. It is about 200 kilometres from both Toronto in the south-east and Detroit in the south-west. With a population of 422,324, or 515,000 if you include the whole urban area, London is the largest municipality in the Ontario’s southwest.
The city is the perfect size to have all the big town amenities, but to still have that small-town feel. You can enjoy the busy and vibrant downtown and when you have had enough of the hustle and bustle, escape to the quiet neighbourhoods with beautiful parks.
In the past, London’s growth was driven by the manufacturing industry. However, in the more recent years, there has been a shift towards technology. Some of the main employers in the city include digital marketing, video game developers and online human resource companies. Other main employment sectors in London are education, healthcare and the finance industry.
The average price of a home in London was $823,954 in March 2022.
ConclusionSo despite the climbing house prices, it is still possible to find affordable real estate in Ontario. Generally, you will find that the smaller places come with smaller price tags on property, but you might not have all the amenities and social life opportunities you might like.
Before deciding to move to a place because of its cheap property market, you should also look at the other living costs in the area. Sometimes the cost of groceries, for example, can be higher in smaller places because there is less choice and competition.
Hopefully, this list has helped you in the search for cheap real estate in Ontario. If you are thinking of buying in the provinces, then you might want to do it sooner rather than later because prices in Ontario are still rising.