British Columbia is toughest place to buy and live in Canada

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Investors eyeing Canadian real estate will have the hardest time affording prices in British Columbia and Ontario, insurance firm Westland has found.

Canada’s west coast province has the highest cost of living, based on income, property prices rent, bills, food, transport, health and personal care, as well as other lifestyle costs.

In BC the average house price as of 2022 is C$996,460, over double the national average of C$490,520. The median income, while third-highest nationwide at C$42,060, is only 4.2% of the local median house price, the lowest in Canada, compared to the national average of 10%.

Newfoundland and Labrador has the cheapest cost of living in Canada.

First-time buyers enjoy the greatest purchasing power, as the province has some of the lowest house prices, with an average cost of C$291,807, and the highest median income of C$57,410.

This means the local annual income equals 20% of house prices, and so saving to buy is much faster than in other provinces. Half of all living costs rank among the cheapest three provinces, such as child care, pet expenses, rent, eye care, dental services, car buying, and restaurants, compared to just one in five (18%) which rank most expensive.

A spokesperson for Westland Insurance said: “Most assume that working in the most populous cities yields a higher income. However, our data contradicts that idea.

“The average British Columbia and Ontario resident has the lowest capacity to save to buy once living costs are considered, with annual incomes covering less than five percent of the median house price.

“In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador residents’ salaries cover four times that in the same timeframe, meaning this province may be the easiest way to get on the property ladder.”

Ontario has the second-highest cost of living in Canada, scoring 71 out of 100. Despite having similar house prices and median income to British Columbia, at $931,870 and $41,690, Ontario ranks most expensive for just three factors: fruit and veg, home repairs, and furniture.

However, over two-fifths (44%) rank in the top three, including significant factors such as renting and purchasing property, buying a car, and household appliances.

First-time buyers in Ontario will take the longest to save for a home, with the yearly median income ranking fifth, covering just 4.5% of the median property price, over half the national average.

Prince Edward Island ranks second cheapest. The average house price of $388,844 ranks sixth, and the median income of $39,510 is seventh.

Almost three of five (58%) factors are in the cheapest nationally. Food is mainly cheaper, with seafood, groceries, fruit and veg, and meat all ranking as the cheapest or second-cheapest. Most health and personal care expenses also are the lowest in the country, including dental services. However, autos, gas, internet access, and pet costs are in the top three most expensive.