Photo: James Bombales

With a budget of $500,000, Canadian homebuyers might be able to find a tiny new condo unit in Toronto and, most likely, nothing at all in Vancouver. However, if buyers are willing to travel farther outside major city cores to smaller urban markets across the nation, they’ll get more bang for their buck.

For instance, as of 2017, a buyer with $500,000 could find new 1,000 square-foot, two-bedroom condo units near downtown Kitchener in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe, according to a new report from Altus Group, published on Monday.

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“Comparing the pricing of available new condominium apartment units found that consumers have considerably more buying power in smaller markets such as Calgary, Edmonton and Kitchener versus the two largest markets, Vancouver and Toronto,” writes Altus, in a press release.

Half a million dollars also got buyers similar sized units in Alberta’s major markets last year.

In Calgary and Edmonton, buyers could find two-bedroom units between 850 square feet to 1,000 square feet, in high-rise buildings near the downtown cores.

With these cities offering more affordable homeownership options, new condo sales soared in these markets last year.

In Edmonton, a total of 1,289 new units sold in 2017, more than a 60 per cent increase from a year earlier. This represents the largest percentage growth of all markets tracked by Altus.

Calgary also saw a notable annual increase in new condo sales, with a total of 2,083 units sold last year, up 42 per cent from 2016.

“It was a red hot year for sales but one of the things we have been seeing is the fact that Calgary and Edmonton are getting better and Toronto and Vancouver are pretty much selling as much as they possibly can,” Matthew Boukall, senior director at Altus Group, tells BuzzBuzzNews.

For prospective buyers in Toronto, last year a budget of $500,000 likely got them a one-bedroom unit with only 430 square feet — approximately half the space of the other markets.

Unsurprisingly, Altus was unable to find any new condo units for $500,000 or less in Vancouver last year.

“In fact, buyers would need to go into nearby markets like Burnaby to find projects offering one bedroom units at this price point,” writes Altus.

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