The countdown is on: on Feb. 15, 2016, Canada's new mortgage rules kick in, mandating higher minimum down payments for homes priced higher than $500,000.
But if you're planning to buy a home for less than that figure, you're in luck -- there's plenty of hot markets across Canada with average home prices of less than $500,000.
Below is our list of the five hottest markets where you can easily buy a home under that price threshold. Note that while the average home price for Canada overall is less than $500,000 -- $454,976, in fact, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association -- the price in certain markets is much higher. In Toronto, it's $630,876; in Vancouver, $947,334. So good luck buying in those markets under the magic number.
First, here's a quick recap of the new regulations.
The existing five per cent minimum down payment for the first $500,000 will remain the same, but after Feb. 15, the minimum down payment for the portion of the home priced above $500,000 will be 10 per cent.
For example, if you're buying a home for $500,000 or less, the minimum down payment is the same -- $25,000 -- under the existing and new regulations.
If you plan to buy a home for between $500,000 and $1 million, you basically have four choices:
- Buy before Feb. 15 to avoid the new requirement, to still be able to put down five per cent
- Delay your purchase until you've saved the additional funds for the new, higher down payment
- Somehow come up with the additional funds now, say, with help of the Bank of Mom and Dad, or
- Buy a home that is priced at less than 500,000. Depending on the market you're in, that could mean you'd then be looking at condo, instead of a lowrise home
If you're looking at a house that's $600,000, until Feb. 15, you can put down $30,000. After that date, you'll have to come up with $35,000.
At $700,000, the existing and new requirements are $35,000 and $45,000, respectively.
For another example, if you're buying a property for $800,000, you would need to make a down payment of five per cent on the first $500,000 ($25,000) and 10 per cent on the remaining $300,000 ($30,000). This would be equal to a total down payment of $55,000, or 6.9 per cent of the total purchase price, or an increase of $15,000.
Here, then, is our list of the five hottest markets in Canada -- just how hot determined by price growth -- where you can still buy a home for less than $500,000.
1. LONDON, ONT.
Q3 2015: $293,344
Q3 2014: $263,668
Year-over-year % change: 11.3
2. OSHAWA, ONT.
Q3 2015: $364,366
Q3 2014: $332,151
Year-over-year % change: 9.7
3. WHITBY, ONT.
Q3 2015: $473,400
Q3 2014: $431,954
Year-over-year % change: 9.6
4. KINGSTON, ONT.
Q3 2015: $342,481
Q3 2014: $313,847
Year-over-year % change: 9.1
5. HAMILTON, ONT.
Q3 2015: $395,404
Q3 2014: $364,639
Year-over-year % change: 8.4
And here are five more that are also worth a look:
6. WINDSOR, ONT.
Q3 2015: $211,973
Q3 2014: $196,021
Year-over-year % change: 8.1
7. NIAGARA-ST. CATHARINES, ONT.
Q3 2015: $289,277
Q3 2014: $268,420
Year-over-year % change: 7.8
8. KITCHENER-WATERLOO CAMBRIDGE, ONT.
Q3 2015: $346,333
Q3 2014: $326,938
Year-over-year % change: 5.9
9. VICTORIA, B.C.
Q3 2015: $478,570
Q3 2014: $456,344
Year-over-year % change: 4.9
10. KELOWNA, B.C.
Q3 2015: $468,310
Q3 2014: $447,305
Year-over-year % change: 4.7
Source: Royal LePage House Price Survey
Read more on how to prepare for the new down payment requirements.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: