Cheapest places to live in Ontario

Top 5 Cheapest places to live in Ontario with the Best quality of life – 2024

Canada Ontario

Ontario is the largest province in Canada by population, with over 15 million people. It is known for its natural beauty, surrounded by green spaces and great lakes, offering easy access to relaxation for its residents and the largest outdoor art scenes.

If you’re considering moving to Ontario, Toronto, the province’s largest city, is a convenient choice. However, if you are planning on saving money while living in a big city, you should consider that there are more affordable cities in Ontario. The cost of renting or buying a house in Ontario, and the average monthly cost of living varies across the province, offering flexibility based on individual preferences and budget without compromising the quality of life.

Read on to discover the top 5 cheapest places to live in Ontario with the best quality of life.

Apartment in Ontario

Methodology

We based our ranking of the 5 cheapest places to live in Ontario on the average cost of buying a property in October 2023, the average cost of rent for a 1-bed apartment in December 2023, and the quality of life. We collected the data from The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and Zumper. To help you compare, As of October 2023, the average cost of buying a property in Ontario is $855,990 and as of December 2023, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,945

The “Best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, public transportation, environment (cleanliness), as well as availability of recreational facilities and parks.

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1. Sault Ste. Marie

Apartment in Sault Ste. Marie
  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $1,310
  • Average property buying cost: $286,900

Sault Ste. Marie is a quiet town known for its natural beauty, where residents enjoy the outdoors surrounded by parks and recreational areas. They claim it has a friendly community, making it a preferred choice for many retirees seeking tranquility. To get around in town, a 15-minute drive is typically sufficient, even with minimal traffic. The town offers easy access to shops along the St. Marys River and the border to the US.

The housing options mainly consist of apartment buildings and single-detached houses. As of December 2023, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,310, and the average property price is $286,900.

Government of Canada (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Zumper (Dec 2023) & CREA (Dec 2023)

Sault Ste. Marie, ON

2. Thunder Bay

Apartment in Thunder Bay
  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $1,250
  • Average property buying cost: $322,491

Thunder Bay, on Lake Superior’s shores, is celebrated for its natural beauty and green spaces. Residents enjoy hiking in parks like Kakabeka Falls and family-friendly spots like Chapples Park. The city’s lone hospital is the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre located in the heart of the city. Transportation here is mainly by car, supplemented by public transit through buses.

The most popular housing type is single detached houses, followed by apartments. Even though housing prices have been increasing throughout the years, it is still more affordable than in other big cities. As of December 2023, the average property price is $322,491, and 1-bed apartments are renting for around $1,250.

Townfolio (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Zumper (Dec 2023) & CREA (Dec 2023)

Thunder Bay, Ontario

3. Cornwall & District

Apartment in cornwall and district
  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $1,433
  • Average property buying cost: $393,545

Cornwall offers a mix of modernity and scenic beauty along the St. Lawrence River. Residents here, mostly aged between their 50s and late 70s, claim to have a good life at a lower cost, living in housing types that mainly include single-detached homes, apartments, and condominiums. As of December 2023, the average property price is $393,545, and 1-bedroom apartments are renting for around $1,433.

Outdoor activities are abundant and residents engage in them as a healthy form of exercise. The city provides parks like Lamoureux Park for scenic views, winter activities, and hiking trails at Guindon Park. Commuting here is mainly by car, with a duration of less than 15 minutes to reach any destination within the city. While shopping options may not be top-notch, the proximity to larger cities like Ottawa and Montreal is a plus.

Townfolio (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Zumper (Dec 2023) & CREA (Dec 2023)

Cornwall & District, ON

4. North Bay

Apartment in Northbay
  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $1,560
  • Average property buying cost: $397,000

North Bay is located along the shores of Lake Nipissing, offers a mix of natural beauty with city charm. With forests and lakes, residents claim to enjoy hiking, fishing, and winter sports. The community is home to mainly singles in their 20s and couples in their 50s, making it easy to find a lively scene nearby, with college students from Nipissing University and Canadore College.

Conveniently located within a 3-hour drive to downtown Toronto and U.S. markets, North Bay provides job opportunities in business, education, law, and sales. The only downside is harsh winters. As of December 2023, the average property price in North Bay is approximately $397,000, with 1-bedroom apartments renting for around $1,560.

Townfolio (Dec 2023), North Bay (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Zumper (Dec 2023) & CREA (Dec 2023)

North Bay, ON

5. Greater Sudbury

Apartment in Greater Sudbury
  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $1,295
  • Average property buying cost: $431,400

Greater Sudbury, known as the City of Lakes due to its 330 lakes, offers a mix of urban and natural areas. Surrounded by the Canadian Shield, residents enjoy recreational facilities and outdoor activities year-round. Most residents are in their 20s and mid-30s, and it is considered the regional center for learning and research in Northeastern Ontario. Home top universities in Ontario, like Laurentian University and Cambrian College, both ranked in the top 50 in Canada for research.

Housing includes mainly 1 to 4-floor apartments, some higher structures, and single-detached houses. As of December 2023, the average property price is $431,400, and the cost of renting a 1-bed apartment is around $1,295.

Greater Sudbury (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Zumper (Dec 2023) & CREA (Dec 2023)

Greater Sudbury, ON

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Conclusion

Moving to Ontario offers a promising prospect for those seeking to raise a family in a cost-effective and welcoming environment. There are many cheap small towns to live in Ontario, particularly in northern Ontario such as Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Greater Sudbury. Recognizing the region’s natural beauty enhances the appeal of these areas, providing not only economic advantages but also a beautiful setting for family life.

Are you moving to Ontario soon? Check out some of the best movers in Toronto, or the best movers in Ottawa, and the surrounding areas.

 

Last year’s ranking (2023)

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

 

Our rankings are meticulously curated, considering affordability and quality of life. It’s important to highlight that certain places were excluded from last year’s lists due to insufficient rental data. Moreover, entries with higher average housing pricing in the previous year were excluded from the current rankings. We encourage readers to weigh these rankings in light of their individual needs and preferences for a more informed decision-making process

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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