These BC cities were closest to being dubbed “affordable” by new ranking

BC didn’t make the cut in a new ranking of the 15 most affordable cities in Canada, but a few spots came fairly close, and we spoke with an expert as to why.

According to Royal LePage, a Canadian real estate company, Kelowna and Abbotsford were nearly contenders and did scratch the top 30. However, they were beaten out by cities within almost every other Canadian province, including Ontario, which took the top spot with Thunder Bay.

most affordable cities in canada

Kelowna boasts some of BC’s best wineries but has less expensive homes and residents with higher incomes than places like Surrey or Burnaby. Unfortunately, it’s still more expensive than places like Regina or Winnipeg.


A view of Kelowna. (Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock)

Abbotsford, where some are able to buy a home they might not have been able to afford in, say, West Vancouver, they are still within driving distance to areas like downtown Vancouver, which is a draw. Plus, Abbotsford features some stunning mountain views, parks, and high-flying annual events.


Abbotsford International Airshow/Facebook

But why did the rest of BC get shafted?

One reason was the population cutoff. Despite perhaps Prince George putting in a good fight compared to, say, Edmonton, the city was not considered due to the metrics in the rankings.

The other reason is a lot more depressing. Many argue that Vancouver and BC’s biggest cities have never been affordable, and we spoke with a real estate expert to explain.

Adil Dinani with Royal LePage West Real Estate Service says many of the homebuyers in his region rely a lot on the bank of mom and dad because it is just such a desirable spot to live.

“BC and Vancouver especially have always been one of the … most expensive or unaffordable places to live in Canada,” Dinani explained.

“There’s a reason why people want to live here,” the realtor with 20 years of experience said.

“Kelowna is still the most affordable city in the province where the least amount of household income is going towards a mortgage,” he said. Adding Abbotsford was also mentioned but didn’t come close to the top 15.

jericho lands west point grey

Aerial of the Jericho Lands in West Point Grey. (City of Vancouver)

“Where we’re located geographically, the lifestyle that BC residents can appreciate, it’s never really been an affordable market. It’s really been a market where, for example, buyers coming in are either getting help from family, or they have some sort of foot in the door from an early age getting into the market,” he said.

When asked where people would move, many respondents in the survey from Toronto and Vancouver said they would be most interested in Edmonton, where 28.9% of a household’s monthly income would be required to service a mortgage payment.

But that would come with a lifestyle change, to say the least.

“The affordable market, you know, like Thunder Bay, has a very different offering than Vancouver, followed by St. John and Red Deer,” he said.

This Alberta city was named one of the most affordable in Canada

A photo of Edmonton. (Kelly bonham/Shutterstock)

The rankings looked at the percentage of income required to service a monthly mortgage payment, using Statistics Canada’s 2022 provincial median total income. Plus, they compared that to the city-level aggregate home price data from Royal LePage’s Q1 2024 House Price Survey.

Thunder Bay view in Ontario

A view of Thunder Bay, Ontario. (lastdjedai/Shutterstock)

Thunder Bay’s aggregate home price in Q1 2024 was $300,000. Saint John, New Brunswick, ranked second because its monthly mortgage payments were $1,400 lower than in any other city.

Was Vancouver even close? Not at all. Vancouver is similar to London in that there is only so much space, which will put pressure on the real estate market, he said.

“Higher prices are a consequence of that,” he said, but he pointed out that the province has introduced measures such as land reform to address that the ongoing hot housing market.

“That’s going to provide more housing options at different price points, and that’s going to allow people to stay in cities within Greater Vancouver that they actually want to stay in,” he said.

But will Vancouver become affordable compared to, say, Calgary?

“Probably not,” he said.

Want to read the full list of affordable cities? Head to the link here.

With files from Allison Stephen and Laine Mitchell