TORONTO -- The most affordable cities in Ontario to buy a home have been revealed.

Zolo, an independent real estate marketplace, determined the most affordable cities using a variety of factors, including average income, unemployment rate, and population growth. 

From there, each city was given a total score out of 100. The list was broken down into the most affordable in large, medium and small-sized cities. 

It will come to almost no one’s surprise that not a single city in the Greater Toronto Area made the list. 

So which did?

According to Zolo, Windsor tops the list as the most affordable large-sized city in the province. 

The average home price in that city is $534,000 while the median household income is $82,840. That makes the home price to income ratio 6.45.


The home price to income ratio means it would take the average household 6.45 years to pay off their home, assuming they put their entire earnings into their home. This is obviously unrealistic, but is used as a way to calculate affordability.

In the top 10 list of most affordable large cities, Windsor is followed by London, Barrie, Kanata, Guelph, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Waterloo, Kingston, and Kitchener. 

Meanwhile, in the medium-sized cities category, Sarnia took the top spot, with an average home price of $358,000 and household income of $91,592. 

According to Zolo, the home price to income ratio in Sarnia is 3.91.

Sarnia is followed by Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Stoney Creek, Sault Ste. Marie, Cornwall, Chatham, Leamington, North Bay, and Orangeville.

Topping the list of the most affordable small city to buy a house is Deep River, which is located about 200 kilometres north-west of Ottawa.

According to Zolo, the average household income in Deep River is $100,343 and the average home price is $217,000, making the home price to income ratio 2.16.

Deep River is followed by Rainy River, Smooth Rock Falls, Englehart, Marathon, Clinton, Blind River, Timmins, Pembroke, and Valley East.

The list was released at a time when many people who are working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic have left – or are contemplating leaving – Toronto in search of more affordable housing prices. 

The average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area in April amounted $1,090,992, up from $820,226 last year.

But before you make the move to more affordable location, there are some things to think about. 

One employment lawyer, who spoke to CTV News Toronto last month, warned that while employees are loving the flexibility of working from home, they can be fired if they refuse to return to work when the pandemic is over. 

"I think a lot of employers can't wait to get people back to the office because as much as employees are loving it, employers are not loving it quite so much," Howard Levitt said.

Levitt said many companies he has heard from want employees back in the office due to a drop in productivity.

"There isn't the same buzz that makes you enthusiastic about your job when you are working in your pajamas at your house," Levitt said at the time.

A work-from-home survey by staffing agency Robert Half found that 33 per cent of employees working from home said they would quit their job if they were forced to return to the office full time.

The survey also found that 51 per cent of workers would prefer a hybrid approach with a split working both at home and the office.

Top 5 most affordable large cities 

  1.  Windsor (98.56)
  2. London (97.49)
  3. Barrie (97.06)
  4. Kanata (98.92)
  5. Guelph (96.22)

Top 5 most affordable medium sized cities 

  1. Sarnia (99.18)
  2. Thunder Bay (98.58)
  3. Sudbury (96.54)
  4. Stoney Creek (96.84)
  5. Sault Ste. Marie (96.52)

Top 5 most affordable small sized cities

  1. Deep River (93.46)
  2. Rainy River (91.62)
  3. Smooth Rock Falls (90.60)
  4. Englehart (88.93)
  5. Marathon (88.91)