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If you’re single, Edmonton is the place to be — at least for those interested in purchasing a condominium apartment.
A recent study by Zoocasa, a national realty firm, found that Edmonton is the least valuable of 15 Canadian cities for individuals seeking to buy in this housing segment.
Using the minimum downpayment required to purchase the benchmark priced (which excludes the highest and lowest priced units) apartment in each city, Zoocasa found a single buyer in Edmonton required a minimum down payment of $9,155.
That’s compared with the national average at more than $28,000.
Only three markets had higher down payments than the national average: Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria.
Vancouver had the highest down payment with a single person requiring nearly $49,000.
“Vancouver is generally the most expensive market where the average price of a home is almost $1.3 million,” says Elton Ash, executive vice-president at Re/Max Canada.
He further notes even Edmonton’s single-family detached homes are far more attainable than a condominium in places like Toronto, where the average price was about $700,000 at the start of this year’s busy spring market.
In contrast, the average price for a single-family detached home in April was about $501,000 in Edmonton, according to Realtors Association of Edmonton (RAE) data, while the average price for a condominium was about $193,000.
“At that price point, the down payment is definitely affordable,” says Melanie Boles, RAE chair and Edmonton realtor.
“It’s an attainable goal especially for buyers who aren’t ready financially for the detached market.”
Certainly, Edmonton’s apartment market offers a “foot in the door” for first-time buyers on a budget, especially as renters face rising monthly rent increases, she adds.
Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. statistics from fall — when the crown corporation releases annual rental data — reveals the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Edmonton increased to $1,304 a month compared to $1,270 in 2021 while vacancy fell to 4.3 per cent from 7.3 per cent.
By comparison, the monthly mortgage payment on the average priced condominium in the city is about $1,050.
Still, Boles cautions that buyers must not overlook condominium fees, which can add a few hundred dollars of additional cost to their monthly budget.
“For some people that may push them to look at a rowhouse that doesn’t have condo fees,” she says, noting the average price for a townhouse in Edmonton in April was $261,000.
“When you start factoring in condo fees, the two can be quite comparable, so then it boils down to a lifestyle choice and what works better for you as an individual.”
Yet for single buyers, Edmonton is an affordability paradise with the next most affordable city in the Zoocasa study being Regina, in which a buyer requires more than $10,400 for a down payment. Winnipeg was the third most affordable metropolitan area requiring a down payment of nearly $11,000.
Alberta — as a whole — is very affordable, Ash notes, pointing to Calgary ranking as the fifth most affordable.
There, a single buyer required about $15,000 for a down payment, trailing Saskatoon in fourth with a down payment of about $11,275.