Cheapest places to live in Ontario

Top 10 Cheapest places to live in Ontario with the Best quality of life – 2023

Ontario is known for its natural diversity, including beautiful provincial parks, vast forests, and four of the five Great Lakes. Being Canada’s second-largest province, Ontario offers a vibrant but slightly expensive real estate market compared with other Canadian provinces. However, like every province in Canada, real estate prices vary from city to city. The cost of renting or buying a house in Ontario depends on the home’s size, location, and condition. Are you thinking of how and where to get affordable housing in Ontario? Read on to discover some of the cheapest cities to live in Ontario.

Cheapest Places to live in Ontario - infographic

Methodology

We based our ranking of the 10 cheapest places to live in Ontario on the 2 following criteria: the average housing prices – house and apartment prices. We collected the date from Statistics Canada, The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), and Zumper. To help you compare, the average home price in Ontario is $835,090 and a 2-bedroom rental averages $2,638. 

We’ve used this data to rank the 10 cheapest places to live in Ontario while also considering their quality of life (health, pollution, green space and recreation, climate, education, and employment opportunities).

Why Do People Move to Ontario?

Here are some of the major reasons people move to Ontario:

  • Excellent job opportunities 
  • High-quality housing 
  • Safe neighborhoods
  • Recreational activities
  • World-class Universities
  • Cultural diversity

MovingWaldo's list of the Cheapest places to live in Ontario

Widgets Magazine

1. Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Ontario
Best for tranquility and relaxation
  • Population: 108,843
  • Average house sale price: $302,200
  • Average rent price (1-bedroom): $1,315

No, it’s not what it sounds like. Thunder Bay isn’t named after a thunderstorm. The city gets its name from Lake Superior’s Thunder Bay. Due to its position at the end of Great Lakes navigation on the Canadian side, Thunder Bay is sometimes called “Lakehead” or “Canadian Lakehead.” With $302,200, you can get a house in Thunder Bay, and with $1,315, you can get a 1-bedroom apartment.

 

(*Thunder Bay – Sustainability Plan, Jobs – City of Thunder Bay, Recreation – City of Thunder Bay, Kanan – List of Colleges & Universities in Thunder Bay, Healthcare CEDCStatistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Thunder Bay, ON

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2. Rainy River

Rainy River - cheapest places to live in ontario
Ideal for relaxing hobbies
  • Population: 752
  • Average house sale price: $330,000
  • Average rent price: $1,000


Rainy River is another conducive town that offers one of the cheapest places to live in Ontario. Located in the northwestern part of Ontario, Canada, Rainy River is situated on the eponymous Rainy River. The town is a small town that shares borders with Minnesota, United States, but offers affordable real estate. Buying a house here will cost an average of $330,000. Rainy River does not have apartments for rent, but you can rent private cottages for less than $1,000.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Rainy River, ON

3. Deep River

Deep River - cheapest places to live in ontario
Best for hiking & playing golf
  • Population: 4,175
  • Average house sale price: $370,000
  • Average rent price (1-bedroom): $1,400


Deep river is a lovely town located in Renfrew County, along the Ottawa river. The Deep River area provides stunning scenery and excellent boating on the broad river, and excellent hiking in the hills across the Ottawa River. It also has a ski hill, golf course, and yacht club. In Deep River, you can get some of the most affordable housing in Ontario. Buying a house will cost an average of $370,000 and renting a 1-bedroom apartment will cost $1,400.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Deep River, ON

4. Sudbury

Sudbury - cheapest places to live in ontario
Welcoming and diverse community
  • Population: 22,368
  • Average house sale price: $398,600
  • Average rent price (2-bedroom): $1,600


Sudbury, officially known as Greater Sudbury, is the largest city in Northern Ontario by population. With a population of 161,531 residents in the 2016 Canadian Census, Sudbury boasts of a vibrant workforce. Sudbury is home to nine mines, two mills, two smelters, and a nickel refinery and is considered the hard rock mining capital of the world. You can find a home in Sudbury for $398,600, and we’ve seen 2-bedroom apartments go for $1,600.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Sudbury, ON

5. Sarnia

Sarnia - cheapest places to live in ontario
Best for nature lovers
  • Population: 72,047
  • Average house sale price: $527,700
  • Average rent price (2-bedroom): $1,800

Located in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, Sarnia makes it one of the cheapest cities to live in Ontario. Sarnia is home to over one hundred parks, with the largest being Germain Park. It has five baseball diamonds, four soccer fields, an outdoor pool, and the Community Gardens. A house in Sarnia will cost about $527,700, and a 2-bedroom apartment is around $1,800.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Sarnia, ON

6. Kingston

Kingston - cheapest places to live in ontario
Best for families
  • Population: 132,485
  • Average house sale price: $557,000
  • Average rent price (2-bedroom): $1,899


Kingston lies on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario. As of February 10, 1841, Kingston was the first capital city of the United Provinces of Canada. Despite its short tenure as a capital city (1844), the community remains an important military base, and it’s one of the best cities to live in Ontario. The average cost of a house is $557,000 while renting a 2-bedroom is around $1,899.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Kingston, ON

7. Windsor

Windsor - cheapest places to live in ontario
Best to enjoy world-class entertainment
  • Population: 229,660
  • Average house sale price: $574,000
  • Average rent price (2-bedroom): $1,685


Windsor is a beautiful city in the southwestern part of Ontario. The city sits directly across Detroit, Michigan, United States, on the south bank of the Detroit River. Known for its impact on Canada’s automotive industry. For this reason, it is called the “Automotive Capital of Canada”. Being one of the larger cities in Ontario, buying a house in Windsor will cost about $574,000. And for $1,685, you can rent a 2-bedroom apartment.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Windsor, ON

8. London

London Ontario
Best for parks and facilities
  • Population: 422,324
  • Average house sale price: $575,500
  • Average rent price (2-bedroom): $2,119


No, not London, United Kingdom. Canada has its one London city in southwestern Ontario. John Graves Simcoe, a British Army general and first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada from 1791 until 1796 was responsible for the city’s name. On average, a house in London goes for around $575,500, and a 2-bedroom apartment costs $2,119 per month to rent. It’s important to note that the price of real estate in the city has been on a steady increase.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

London, ON

9. Peterborough

Peterborough, Ontario - best places to retire in ontario
Best for foodies
  • Population: 147,681
  • Average house sale price: $675,100
  • Average rent price (2-bedroom): $1,875

Peterborough is a city on the Otonabee River in Ontario. Peterborough was nicknamed “The Electric City” because it was the first municipality in Canada to use electric streetlights. With $675,100, you can buy a house in Peterborough. Renting a 2-bedroom apartment is around $1,875.

 

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Peterborough, ON

10. Barrie

Barrie - cheapest places to live in ontario
Perfect for retirees
  • Population: 147,829
  • Average house sale price: $705,000
    Average rent price (2-bedroom): $1,995

Located on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, the western arm of Lake Simcoe, Barrie city is one wonderful place to get affordable housing in Ontario. If you are an art lover, then you’d particularly enjoy living in Barrie. The city is home to Kempenfest, one of the largest outdoor arts and crafts celebrations in Ontario. Buying a home in Barrie will cost an average of $705,000, and the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,995. Like London, Barrie has experienced a spike in real estate prices in recent times.

(*Statistics CanadaZumper, Numbeo & The Canadian Real Estate Association)

Barrie, ON

 Affordable Housing Options in Ontario

Considering the rising real estate prices, it’ll not be out of place to consider more affordable housing options in Ontario. Check out the affordable housing options below if you’re looking for a cheap way to live in Ontario or anywhere else. If you are moving specifically to Toronto, you might want to learn more on affordable housing in the GTA.

Coop Housing in Ottawa

Coop housing is an international association that provides flexible housing solutions to its members. The cooperative housing industry is guided by international cooperative principles adapted to the housing sector. In Canada, Coop housing was established between the 1970s and the 1980s to make housing options available to low-income earners.

Here are some coop housing options in Ottawa

  • Chaseo Coop
  • Quarry Cooperative Housing
  • Ottawa Community Housing
  • Sandy Hill Housing Coop
  • Cardinus Housing Cooperative
  • Glenn Haddrell Housing Cooperative

Tiny Houses in Ontario

Unlike some other places in Canada, Ontario does not entirely support living in tiny houses. Some people say that tiny houses in Ontario are illegal. Still, The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has permitted people wo build tiny houses in Ontario if they adhere to the stated building requirements and safety measures.

Here are some tiny house communities in Ontario

  • Tiny Town, Toronto
  • Lake of The Woods Tiny Home Village, Keewatin
  • Bluewater Village, Goderich

Getting Roommates in Ontario

Getting roommates in Ontario is a great idea because it helps reduce the cost of renting an apartment. This is especially recommended for young professionals and students or anyone who wants to spend less on rent. However, before you get a roommate, you should take note of some of the laws surrounding getting roommates in Ontario. Doing this will save you from potential legal troubles with your roommate, landlord, or the government, in the future.

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive in Ontario

First-time home buyer incentive in Ontario is as unique as possible. First-time home buyers are eligible for incentives from the Ontario government. In Ontario, you can receive a refund of up to $4,000 for land transfer taxes. If you buy a home for less than $368,000, you will not be required to pay a land transfer tax. In case the purchase price exceeds $368,000, you will receive a maximum refund of $4,000. This incentive applies both to new construction and to resale homes.

 

How Much Mortgage Can I Afford in Ontario?

Mortgages are loans taken out to buy real estates, such as houses and other properties. Every buyer of a home needs long-term financing because of the excessive cost of purchasing a property. The typical mortgage has a fixed rate, and it is usually repaid over 15-25 years.

As the cost of homes is rising in Ontario, you can use this Mortgage Calculator Tool to estimate how much mortgage you can afford, based on your household income, debt, and down payment.

Using an expert-recommended 20% down payment, here are some results with the mortgage calculator.

Household Income 

before taxes, no debts 

Down Payment

Maximum Mortgage You Can Afford in Ontario

$75,000

$15,000

$296,400

$100,000

$20,000

$395,200

$200,000

$40,000

$634,400

 

Conclusion

Despite Ontario’s expensive locations, you can still live cheaply and enjoy an excellent quality of life in very affordable areas. You can use this list of the top 10 cheapest places to live in Ontario to determine what type of housing is affordable based on your income and lifestyle.

MovingWaldo's list of the Cheapest places to live in Ontario in 2022

1. Sudbury
2. Sarnia
3. Windsor
4. Thunder Bay
5. Rainy River
6. Deep River
7. Peterborough
8. Barrie
9. Kingston
10. London

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