It’s no secret some real estate markets in Canada have seen explosive growth over the past decade. A massive influx of foreign investment, coupled with an unprecedented development boom, has led to skyrocketing prices in cities on the West Coast and in the Golden Triangle region.

Some Canadian cities are maintaining their affordability, however, making them more accessible for first-time real estate investors.

Where have all the affordable houses gone?

Canada is a large, geographically diverse country. There are real estate opportunities suited for investors of all fiscal means spread throughout the nation. While real estate investment may be more challenging in some markets than others, there are many benefits to consider in each of the country’s unique urban areas.

Smaller metropolitan areas, particularly those on the Great Plains and in the Maritime Provinces, remain affordable investment markets. More crowded markets, like Vancouver and Toronto, represent lucrative opportunities for investors with the capital and expertise necessary to leverage them.

If you’re thinking of investing in Canadian real estate, consider which market suits your investment needs and abilities best. While it may be more convenient to purchase property in the Ontario suburbs, it’s worthwhile to also consider the affordability of a market like Regina or Moncton.

Because real estate investment represents such a massive financial risk, carefully weigh the costs and benefits associated with Canada’s hot, expensive markets as well as its cooler, more affordable real estate scenes.

Most expensive regions in Canada

There’s no shortage of high-value real estate in Canada, particularly around its busiest markets: Vancouver and Toronto. Here is a brief list of the most expensive markets in Canada, which require greater access to capital and investment expertise to enter:

Vancouver: Median home prices in Metro Vancouver stand over $1 million! West Vancouver, B.C. is the nation’s most expensive city in which to purchase real estate, and Vancouver proper is a close second. Needless to say, Vancouver is likely not ideal for first-time investors.

Toronto: Expect a single-family home in Toronto to top $865,000. An ongoing development boom in Toronto is also rapidly reshaping the city’s real estate scene. An increasing number of condominiums and multi-family housing units are going up across the city.

GTA: Toronto’s city proper isn’t alone in high home prices. Across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), prices top $760,000. The high barrier to entry includes satellite cities, like Mississauga and Hamilton, as well as smaller suburbs throughout the Golden Triangle.

Victoria: British Columbia’s idyllic Vancouver Island capital is known for its stunning scenery… and its high real estate prices. A tight market continues to constrict growth in Victoria, where prices top $680,000.

Least expensive regions in Canada

While the astronomical prices in Ontario and British Columbia may scare away first-time investors, there are plenty of real estate markets in Canada accessible for investors with less access to capital and less investment expertise. Here are some of the nation’s most affordable real estate markets:

Regina: This plains city, which serves as Saskatchewan’s capital, is one of the nation’s most affordable housing markets. Average home prices in Regina sit at a comfortable $220,000, making the market much more accessible for first-time investors or investors with limited capital.

Saint John: Situated on the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick’s capital remains an affordable option for many investors. Home prices in Saint John sit around $165,000. The area’s high median income, of $42,000, means that housing is more affordable and accessible for area residents.

Calgary: Calgary is a bustling mountain city that boasts both high median income and relatively low housing costs. Homes in Calgary cost less than $450,000, but wages in Calgary are among the nation’s highest. The area median income is nearly $68,000.

Quebec City: While wages across Quebec are generally lower than in the rest of the nation, they are offset by low real estate prices. Homes in La Belle Province’s capital city are just under $270,000 on average.