Edmonton has some of the most affordable mortgage payments in Canada

In Edmonton, an average of 28.9 per cent of a buyer’s monthly income is going toward a mortgage payment.

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Edmonton’s real estate market may not be the least pricey of Canadian cities, but its high average household income and reasonable home prices certainly place it among the most affordable, a new study shows.

“Even though it’s a big city, the price of a home is in the middle of the pack in the study made up mostly of smaller municipalities,” says Karen Yolevski, chief operating officer at Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. in Toronto, about its recent report ranking Canada’s Top 15 most affordable cities.

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“The reason being is its median household income is the highest on that list, which gives people more purchasing power.”

The Royal LePage study evaluated cities based on average aggregate (all housing types) price, and what percentage of a buyer’s median household income would go toward the mortgage cost, based on a 20 per cent down payment and a three-year, fixed-rate mortgage of 5.7 per cent.

Edmonton ranked fifth in the survey with 28.9 per cent of a buyer’s monthly income going toward a mortgage payment.

The city had the second highest average price at $442,200 (as of March 31) trailing only Windsor, one of two Ontario cities on the list.

Yet Edmonton had the highest (provincial) median income — $95,900 annually — along with Red Deer, which was the third most affordable city at 25.7 per cent going toward mortgage costs.

There, the average price of a home was $392,900 at the end of March, requiring a mortgage payment of $2,029.88.

In Edmonton, the average monthly payment was $2,306.18, trailing Windsor for the highest payments among the most affordable cities on the list.

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Thunder Bay, Ont., was the most affordable city with 22.2 per cent of monthly income ($84,400 median annual household income for Ontario) going toward a $1,563.25 mortgage payment on a home worth $299,300.

“We looked at 62 cities that Royal LePage gathers market data on, and as you can imagine, no B.C. (British Columbia) cities made the Top 15 list, and that’s because the least expensive city in B.C. happens to be Kelowna.”

Yolevski adds about 62 per cent of B.C.’s median household income would be needed to make a monthly mortgage payment on the average priced home in Kelowna (about $891,000 in May).

Obviously, spending that much income on a mortgage would be untenable, she says.

Yet Calgary’s recent run of high buyer demand and low housing supply, pushing prices to record highs, has made it increasingly pricey for buyers, Yolevski says.

Royal LePage did not include the city in its recent report, but it did provide data to Postmedia, showing it would have been the 21st most affordable city in Canada with 44.1 per cent of income going to a monthly mortgage payment.

“My experience is in line with what the report suggests,” says Edmonton realtor Nathan Mol with Liv Real Estate.

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Buyers from other parts of Canada are catching on, too, he adds.

“I am working with buyers moving from Vancouver and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), and they see Edmonton as the perfect blend of amenities and opportunities.”

He adds many are attracted to shortened commutes, and advantages of additional cash flow from smaller mortgage payments — like being able to afford vacations. Yolevski says recent Statistics Canada data support this assessment with Edmonton among the top cities for net interprovincial migration, adding 16,082 new citizens from other provinces between July 2022 and July 2023. Only Calgary saw more net migration at 26,662.

“It goes to show that if you can’t afford to buy in your market, you’re going to look elsewhere.”

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