Exploring Affordable Real Estate Beyond the Greater Toronto Area: An In-Depth Analysis

by Editor

For prospective homebuyers in Ontario, the search for affordable housing options often requires looking beyond the confines of the bustling Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In an effort to identify the most affordable cities in the province, Zolo, a trusted independent real estate marketplace, conducted a comprehensive analysis of various factors including home prices, unemployment rates, and population growth. This article provides a detailed exploration of the findings, shedding light on the top affordable cities across different size categories in Ontario.

Affordable Large Cities:

Among the top affordable large cities, it is fascinating to note that all three are located in the Ottawa area, making it an attractive destination for budget-conscious homebuyers. Topping the list is Nepean, a municipality situated just west of the capital. With an average home price of approximately $701,987 and an average household income of about $137,000, Zolo’s calculations suggest that homebuyers in Nepean can expect to pay off their purchase in approximately 5.12 years. However, it is important to consider other financial obligations that buyers may have in order to fully assess the affordability of the region.

Following closely behind Nepean are Ottawa proper and Kanata, both offering favorable affordability ratios within the large city category. Notably, no other major cities managed to secure a spot in the top 10 list of most affordable cities in Ontario, underscoring the unique affordability advantage presented by the Ottawa area.

Promising Medium-Sized Cities:

Within the medium-sized city category (population between 30,000 and 100,000), LaSalle stands out as the sole representative in the top 10 list of affordable cities. Situated just outside Windsor, LaSalle offers an appealing average home price of approximately $259,000, coupled with an average income of around $144,600. This combination of affordability and income levels presents a favorable environment for prospective homebuyers seeking more manageable financial commitments.

Attractive Options Among Small Cities:

Among the small cities, three top contenders emerged as the most affordable according to Zolo’s rankings: Wasaga Beach, Casselman, and Mount Forest. Wasaga Beach, renowned for its picturesque waterfront, boasts an average home price of $325,189. With an average income of $91,900, Zolo estimates that homeowners in this city can expect to pay off their purchase in just over 3.5 years, making it an enticing option for those seeking affordable coastal living.

The Challenge of Affordability in New Liskeard:

Conversely, New Liskeard, a northern municipality along the Quebec border, ranked as the least affordable city in Ontario. With an average home price listed at a staggering $2,291,000 and an average household income of just $92,000, this glaring disparity underscores the formidable obstacles faced by potential homebuyers in the region.


As the search for affordable housing intensifies in Ontario, it becomes evident that looking beyond the Greater Toronto Area can unveil promising opportunities. The analysis by Zolo highlights the Ottawa area as a haven for affordable large cities, with Nepean, Ottawa, and Kanata leading the pack. Additionally, medium-sized cities like LaSalle present attractive affordability ratios, while small cities such as Wasaga Beach, Casselman, and Mount Forest offer alluring options for those seeking reasonably priced homes. However, prospective buyers should conduct thorough assessments of their financial circumstances and consider various factors before making a decision in this dynamic and evolving real estate market. By exploring the diverse range of affordable cities in Ontario, homebuyers can discover hidden gems and secure their dream homes while staying within their budgetary constraints.

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