'Desirable hotspots' in Canada where average home costs under $500K, B.C. realty firm finds

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With all the talk of out-of-control housing prices in major Canadian cities, it’s nice to know that accommodation can still be had for a (relatively) reasonable sum, as noted in a recent study of “desirable home hotspots” by realty firm Kelowna Homes. Seven of the top 10 locations had home prices averaging less than $400,000, in spite of those prices going up.

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The B.C.-based company crunched the numbers on year-over-year price increases in locations across Canada to determine its “most desirable” list. Topping the poll, Powell River, a city a few hours’ drive northwest of Vancouver along British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

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Home prices in the city of 16,000 shot up by more than 40 per cent since last year, with average prices now topping $768,000, up from $547,000 in 2022.

Second on the list is Sherbrooke, Que., with a 29 per cent rise in prices, and an average than now sits at $515,000.

But continue down the list and the market prices are a lot lower. Third-place Brandon, Man., saw a 24.5 per cent increase in prices over the last year, but that still brought the average to just shy of $266,000.

The rest of the list:

Trois-Rivieres, Que. — 21.4 per cent, $353,062

Lloydminster, Alta. — 17.5 per cent, $281,849

Thunder Bay, Ont. — 14 per cent, $362,562

Kelowna, B.C — 14 per cent, $988,000 (which must make Kelowna Homes realtors happy)

Cape Breton Island, N.S. — 12.6 per cent, $206,600

Lethbridge, Alta. — 12.3 per cent, $364,115

Central Alberta — 12.1 per cent, $386,053

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“It’s fascinating to see which areas are becoming the newest hot spots to live in,” said a spokesperson for Kelowna Homes, attributing the surge in Powell River as “due to the city being the largest and most accessible community on the Sunshine Coast. It also offers a mixture of business, culture and nature, including lakes, beaches and plentiful outdoor recreation.”

The study also looked at aggregate data from each province and territory except Nunavut. It found that house prices in the Northwest Territories had skyrocketed by more than 45 per cent in the last year, going to $561,000 from just $386,000.

The provinces all experienced single-digit increases or less (Prince Edward Island prices were up just 0.8 per cent), while Yukon was the only region to see a drop in prices. The average home in the territory now goes for $531,609, a drop of about $10,000 or 1.8 per cent from last year.

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