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London ranked in the top 25% in Best communities in Canada with affordable real estate

Buying a home can be a challenge, especially in big cities where people with modest earnings are almost entirely discarded from the real estate market. Affording a home can be especially tough for single people, who can’t rely on two incomes to qualify for a mortgage.

But if you’ve ever considered escaping the metropolitan frenzy in search of a quieter, more affordable place, MacLean’s has listed the most ideal places to live in Canada with affordable homes.

The methodology

While some intangible things determining the quality of life can’t be measured, many tangible things can be. The Canadian magazine gathered data on 415 communities across the country and compared them (while eliminating any community with average housing prices over $500,000 from consideration), in order to identify the most ideal places to live in Canada with affordable homes.

Their ranking is based on:

  • Wealth and economy,
  • Affordability,
  • Population growth,
  • Taxes,
  • Commute,
  • Crime rate,
  • Access to health care,
  • Amenities and culture.

The weather was also a key parameter: “Mild winters are the most important factor in our ranking of the cities with the best weather, with seven out of 10 points in the category dedicated to the number of days above 0°C,” the magazine said. “We also reward communities with dry climates, with two points dedicated to the number of days per year without rain or snow. Finally, we considered warm summers, giving one point for lots of days above 20 C.”

London ranked 20th in Best Communities in Ontario

Ontario, the most populous province, is also home to the best communities, thanks to its strong economy, good weather, low crime and short healthcare wait times.

With an average value of primary real estate of $422,045 and a median household income of $66,821, MacLean’s ranked London the 20th best community in Ontario with affordable real estate.

But there’s still progress to be made, especially in the renting market

According to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), you’ll need to make $21 an hour or be willing to work 60 hours a week at minimum wage to rent a two-bedroom apartment — the most common type of unit in Canada — in London.

The report compared data from 36 major cities from coast to coast to determine the rental wage (the hourly wage a full-time worker would need to make to be able to afford an average two-bedroom apartment without spending more than 30 per cent of their income).

Nationally, the rental wage for a two-bedroom sits at $22.40, well above any provincial minimum wage.

Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria top the list, with their rental wage sitting at $35 an hour, $34 an hour and $28 an hour respectively.

London ranks in the middle of the national list. The city’s hot real estate market has boiled over into apartments, driving up rents.

Rent prices will continue to increase nationally in the near future, as not enough affordable units are currently being built.

Before the cuts made to affordable housing programs in the early 1990s, about 20,000 affordable housing units were being built every year. That compares to about 16,000 for which funding was committed last year.

Picture of Anne-Marie Grantham

Anne-Marie Grantham

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