Canada's Best Cities For Jobs AND Affordable Homes

Posted: Updated:
Print

You’ve likely seen rankings of the best cities in Canada to find a job, and rankings of the most affordable housing markets around.

The problem is, they're not the same places. Toronto and Vancouver are creating tons of jobs, but are now seriously unaffordable. Lots of cities in Canada have much cheaper houses than those two, and few jobs to go with it. But people need both jobs and homes, don’t they? So what about the best cities for both?

We compiled data from Bank of Montreal’s Labour Market Report Card, and from home affordability indexes from Royal Bank of Canada and Caisse Desjardins, to figure out which cities are the best on both measures.

None of the cities that top this list are the best places to find work in Canada; nor are they the places with the least expensive homes, for the most part. These are the cities that have the best balance of the two.

The biggest surprise? The top two cities in Canada on this metric are both in provinces suffering from the oil crash.

Here are the top 10, and the bottom worst. The methodology can be found at the bottom of this story.

#10: Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. (57%)

kitchener panorama
(Photo: Alan Marsh via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 5.5% (Year ago: 5.5%)
Average house price: $378,248
BMO labour market ranking: 4 out of 33
Desjardins affordability ranking: 15 out of 20
This southern Ontario tech hub has one of the strongest job markets in the country, and while house prices are rising, they are still far lower than in the Toronto area an hour to the east.

#9: St. John's, Nfld. (58.75%)

st johns panorama
(Photo: Abstractstudio.ca via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 6.8% (Year ago: 6.5%)
Average house price: $324,300
BMO labour market ranking: 15 out of 33
RBC affordability ranking: 2 out of 14 (tied with Regina)
Newfoundland's largest city isn't known for its economic might, but the city has a much lower jobless rate than the rest of the province, it's creating some jobs (if not many), and house prices fall within the affordable range.

#8: Oshawa, Ont. (59.5%)

oshawa panorama
(Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 5.6% (Year ago: 7.5%)
Average house price: $531,051 (for all of Durham Region)
BMO labour market ranking: 1 out of 33
Desjardins affordability ranking: 17 out of 20
Oshawa tops BMO's labour market report card, no doubt in part thanks to the Toronto suburb enjoying some of that strong economic growth the region has been seeing. But house prices are still considerably lower on average than in other suburbs closer to Toronto.

#7: Winnipeg, Man. (60.75%)

winnipeg panorama
(Photo: Panoramic Images via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 6.3% (Year ago: 6.1%)
Average house price: $278,200
BMO labour market ranking: 12 out of 33
RBC affordability ranking: 5 out of 14
Desjardins affordability ranking: 14 out of 20
Winnipeg hasn't churned out many jobs lately, but it still has a high employment rate (i.e., a large share of the population has a job) and some of the most affordable homes of any major city in Canada.

#6: Kingston, Ont. (63.5%)

kingston ontario
(Photo: Panoramic Images via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 6.3% (Year ago: 7.2%)
Average house price: $305,155
BMO labour market ranking: 19 out of 33
Desjardins affordability ranking: 10 out of 20
Kingston jumped 12 spots on BMO's labour market report card in the past year, thanks to a 0.9-per-cent increase in new jobs.

#5: Halifax, N.S. (67%)

halifax panorama
(Photo: Walter Bibikow via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 6.4% (Year ago: 6.7%)
Average house price: $289,600
BMO labour market ranking: 6 out of 33
RBC affordability ranking: 4 out of 14
Halifax has 2.6 per cent more jobs today than it did a year ago, and with average house prices below $300,000 you can live well here.

#4: Trois-Rivieres, Que. (69.5%)

trois rivieres panorama
(Photo: Yves Marcoux via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 7.4% (Year ago: 5.9%)
Median house price: $147,000 (for detached home; condo prices n/a)
BMO labour market ranking: 26 out of 33
Desjardins affordability ranking: 1 out of 20
You should only consider moving to Trois-Rivieres if you have a job offer in hand. The city has a very weak job market, but if you were to find work there, consider yourself amazingly lucky — at $147,000 for an average house, you will be able to afford more real estate here than in just about any other urban area in the country.

#3: Windsor, Ont. (80%)

windsor panorama
(Photo: Mike Kline via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 6.4% (Year ago: 8.9%)
Average house price: $227,870
BMO labour market ranking: 8 out of 33
Desjardins affordability ranking: 4 out of 20
The long-suffering auto capital of Canada has had one of the strongest job markets in the country over the past year, adding 1.6 per cent new jobs. But house prices haven't caught up, making the city eminently affordable.

#2: Edmonton, Alta. (81.75%)

edmonton panorama
(Photo: Holger Mette via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 7% (Year ago: 5.9%)
Average house price: $391,500
BMO labour market ranking: 3 out of 33
RBC affordability ranking: 6 out of 14
Desjardins affordability ranking: 3 out of 20
Like Regina, Edmonton is a city in a province that's suffering from the oil crash. But, like Regina, Edmonton is creating jobs (four per cent more of them in the past year) and house prices there are stable.

#1: Regina, Sask. (82.75%)

regina panorama
(Photo: Ben Krut via Getty Images)
Jobless rate: 5.4% (Year ago: 4.2%)
Average house price: $312,000
BMO labour market ranking: 5 out of 33
RBC affordability ranking: 2 out of 14 (tied with St. John’s)
The overall job market in Saskatchewan is very weak right now, due to the oil price rout, but Regina is hanging in there, adding 1.2 per cent net new jobs over the past year. Add to that an average house price that's less than half of Toronto's, and this is the best city in Canada to find a job and an affordable home.


And now... the worst city in Canada for a job and an affordable home:

St. Catharines, Ont. (21.5%)

st catharines panorama
(Photo: Balcer via Wikimedia Commons)
Jobless rate: 8% (Year ago: 6%)
Average house price: $321,595
BMO labour market ranking: 31 out of 33
Desjardins affordability ranking: 16 out of 20
St. Catharines house prices soared 18 per cent in the past year, thanks to its proximity to Toronto, but the city's rust-belt economy isn't creating many jobs. It's the worst of all worlds.

And in case you're curious, Toronto scored 39 per cent in the index and Vancouver scored 48 per cent — not good enough to be in the top half of the 26 cities surveyed.

How we calculated this

The scores given to cities are a percentage based on three existing indexes: The BMO Labour Market Report Card; the RBC housing affordability index; and the Caisse Desjardins index of housing affordability.

Only cities covered by the BMO labour report card and at least one of the affordability indices were included. Thus some cities are missing, including Barrie, Guelph and Peterborough, Ontario; Abbotsford and Kelowna, B.C.; and Moncton, N.B.

Cities were given a percentage score based on their relative rank in the labour market and another based on housing affordability. The final score is the average of a city's ranking in both measures.

Like HuffPost Canada Business On Facebook

Also on HuffPost:

Close
Industries Creating Or Shedding The Most Jobs (March 2016)
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction