Photo: Ron Cogswell/Flickr

Buying a home on two salaries is hard enough for most first-time buyers, but it gets even more difficult when looking to buy solo. Red-hot markets like Toronto and Vancouver can seem out of reach — but, if you’re willing to look outside of these major urban centres, there are some Canadian cities where single buyers can find more affordable choices.

“Canada is a large country, filled with diverse communities and radically different real estate markets,” reads a report from Zoocasa. “In some regions, home ownership on a single income is within the realm of possibility, where in others that dream verges more towards fantasy.”

To identify which Canadian housing markets are in a single-buyers price-range, Zoocasa calculated the home-to-price-income ratio in each of the country’s major markets, based on data from the Canadian Real Estate Board and the median income from Statistics Canada.

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The ratio measures how long it would take a buyer to completely pay off their home if they put 100 per cent of their annual income towards their mortgage. The higher the ratio, the longer it would take.

First on the list? It’s a three way tie — Saint John and Greater Moncton in New Brunswick, and Trois Rivieres in Quebec all have of a ratio of 4. The average home price is $171,596, $174,800 and $153,591 while the average median one-person income is $39,163, $39,456 and $34,745, respectfully.

Next up are Fredericton in New Brunswick and Saguenay in Quebec, with ratios of 5 and 6, respectively. In Fredericton, the average price of a home is $179,981 while the median one-person income is $34,724. In Saguenay, the average home price is $161,587 and the median one-person income is $29,125.

These numbers fall far below what buyers would face in markets like Vancouver.

“In Vancouver, where the median single-income household earns $38,164 and the average home cost was $1,071,800 in February, homeownership would cost said buyer 28 times their yearly salary,” reads the report.

But even the most affordable markets pose a problem for solo buyers.

“Financial experts commonly recommend restricting shelter costs to just three times one’s annual income — however, this is outstripped by even the most affordable market in Canada,” reads the report. “Owning the average-priced home of $171,596 in Saint John on a regional median income of $29,163 would still require four times the homeowner’s annual earnings.”

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