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Affordable Alberta: Red Deer and Edmonton Top Canada’s Homebuyer’s List

Looking for affordable housing? Alberta's Red Deer and Edmonton rank among Canada's top five cities

Housing costs and rents across Canada are rising far beyond levels affordable for most Canadians.

However, two Alberta cities stand out in Canada as the most affordable for homebuyers. 

According to the Royal LePage 2024 Most Affordable Canadian Cities Report, Red Deer and Edmonton offer a significant advantage for those looking to buy a home without breaking the bank.

Across Canada, Red Deer was the third most affordable, and Edmonton was fifth.

The other cities rounding out the top five were Thunder Bay at number one, Saint John, NB, at number two and Trois-Rivières in fourth place.

The Royal LePage survey examined the percentage of household income required to pay a monthly mortgage based on a three-year fixed-term loan at 5.71% interest, amortized over 25 years with a 20%  down payment. 

Red Deer had homeowners spending 25.7% of their monthly income on mortgage payments. Edmonton followed closely at 28.9%. Thunder Bay won at 22.2%.

Historic downtown Red Deer
Historic downtown Red Deer | Nick Kembel

Alberta’s Budget-Friendly Options

Ed Lastiwka, an associate broker at Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate, highlighted Edmonton’s affordability, noting, “When shopping for a home, your dollars are bound to stretch farther in Edmonton than they would in most large urban centres in Canada. Here, a budget of $500,000 can get you a quality family-sized home on a sizable lot within proximity to desirable amenities.”

The city’s affordability has attracted many new residents, increasing demand and putting upward pressure on prices. Therefore, we expect housing prices to rise soon, as in Calgary over the last few years.

Red Deer has had a growth rate of 3.4% in the last year, now tipping past 109,000 in population.

If you don’t need a larger centre to live in, some of Alberta’s smaller towns and cities, such as High River, Nanton, Lacombe, Camrose, Olds, Fort Macleod, Pincher Creek, Grande Cache, and Claresholme, are even more affordable options.

Red Deer’s stunning river valley | Visit Red Deer
Red Deer’s stunning river valley | Visit Red Deer

A National Perspective

Edmonton and Red Deer’s housing affordability starkly contrasts with the housing markets in major urban centers like Vancouver and Toronto. 

A global study by Demographia highlighted these cities as “impossibly unaffordable,” with Vancouver ranking third and Toronto eleventh on the list of least affordable cities worldwide.

David MacDonald, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, remarked on the severe affordability issues in these cities, attributing them to long-standing underinvestment in affordable housing and insufficient housing construction.

Remote Work

The Royal LePage survey also explored the willingness of residents in expensive cities to relocate for more affordable housing. 

The survey revealed that 51% of respondents in Toronto, 54% in Montreal, and 45% in Vancouver would consider moving to cheaper cities if they could work remotely or find a job elsewhere. 

Edmonton emerged as a top choice for potential relocators from Toronto and Vancouver.

Edmonton is drawing more new residents with its affordability - notern lights over Edmonton
Edmonton is drawing more new residents with its affordability | Explore Edmonton

The Broader Picture

Nationally, Edmonton is the cheapest large city in which to buy a home, categorized as “moderately unaffordable.” 

This places it in a more favourable position than cities like Calgary, Ottawa, and Montreal, classified as “seriously” or “severely” unaffordable.

The need for affordable housing solutions remains critical across Canada. 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates that an additional 3.5 million homes need to be built by 2030 to restore affordability. 

While federal efforts to address the housing crisis are underway, many Canadians, especially in high-cost cities, continue to explore more affordable living options, including relocation to cities like Edmonton and Red Deer or smaller rural centres.

Canada’s least expensive large city to live in is Edmonto
Canada’s least expensive large city to live in is Edmonton | roadtripalberta.com

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