Author Topic: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house  (Read 9480 times)

BigBangWeary

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • The Great Canadian Housing Bubble Co.
Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« on: October 18, 2015, 02:59:15 AM »
Ok Canadians. With a paid off home, which regions/provinces/towns would you vote for as being most affordable? Assuming one is making money off of a portfolio and could still do odd-jobs to supplement, which area comes out the winner and why?

I am thinking in terms of income tax, property tax, utilities, transport, etc. I believe MMM himself suggested the East Coast in one of his posts, but where would you go?

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12029
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2015, 07:00:43 AM »
Sticking with what is familiar to me, I'd head to Brantford or Cambridge. Housing is still reasonable, you are close to good services, winter is tolerable, and there are university campuses in both towns.

Of course neither is a town that's headed for a major jump in progress anytime soon, but thats why they're cheap. If they are too expensive, I'd look at Chatham, Windsor Sarnia area. Basically anything decent sized south of Hamilton.

But I grew up in Brantford, so I have some bias.

elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3052
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2015, 07:50:04 AM »
Come on down to Windsor. Lots of GTA retirees moving here these days. Mild weather, we're out of the snowbelt, only 4 hrs south of Toronto, with Detroit next door for all the US shopping/savings/big city amenities. (love the savings of flying out of Detroit)

Low cost of housing, and a small, safe city with no traffic.

I love all our (very beautiful) Waterfront parks. On the flip side, we are flat so no rugged cliffs or miles of wilderness. I go up between Barrie and Sudbury for that. Still, it's worth it here for the mild winters. We get way way less snow than say, London...which is just 2 hrs away.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 07:53:10 AM by elaine amj »

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2015, 08:43:40 AM »
Not Canadian and have only been in your last three provinces to the left...

But if you were a big outdoor/woodsman/hunter in great shape and could hunt/fish and cut your own firewood....I'd vote either BC or the Yukon.

After the initial outlay of a cabin/tools, cutting wood for heat and fishing/hunting most of your groceries would mean just incidentals and tax would be your out of pocket items.

Kinda like the people on The Last Alaskans series, who live in the last 7 cabins in the Artic refuge park....fuel for jet skis and lantern oil and saw blades and fish hooks are their primary out of pocket items.

backyardfeast

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
  • Location: Vancouver Island, BC
    • My journal
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2015, 11:21:30 AM »
Hmmm.  I think you'd do well in most small cities or larger towns throughout the country.  Personally, I'd be thinking about weather preferences, family access, cultural values, etc first, then do a bit of research on the rest: ie compare hydro/power rates, income taxes, health care premiums and what they cover, etc.  I'm also not sure what you mean by "a paid off house"; housing costs are one of the things that varies the most widely across the country, so what constitutes a paid-off house in one region may not in another.

In BC, for instance, we have awesome weather options, low income taxes, generally excellent infrastructure and transit (compared to other regions I've experienced, anyway), some of the lowest hydro and insurance rates, cultural values that align with mine, and I have family around the province.  We also have expensive housing (but less so outside the major centres), expensive health care premiums, and in the major centres, high property taxes.

In the maritimes, housing is super-cheap, but generally infrastructure is in rough shape, heating costs can be very high, and property taxes can be as well.  In the north, groceries and incidentals can be way more expensive than in the south.  Trade-offs.

If it were me, I'd likely look at the provincial comparisons on some of these, pick a province I liked, and then start looking at smaller centres 3-4 hours outside the major ones (so you're well out of the suburbs, but still not remote).  I think you'd find awesome places in just about every province that were walkable, friendly, and cheap to live in.

kathrynd

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2015, 11:37:22 AM »
lots of houses available for under $50k in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI

yyc-phil

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1028
  • Location: Yellowknife NWT
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2015, 11:58:39 AM »
If affordability is your only criteria, then the East Coast (PEI, NS, NB) would suit your needs. However, if you factor in the weather, then I'd say Vancouver Island is your best place to live, and in particular some of the Gulf Islands. Snow-free most of the year except a day or two, good weather, not as rainy as Vancouver, lots of small organic agricultural operations that lower the cost of food, not mentioning that you can garden pretty much 10 months of the year...and sail, kayak, surf, hike, without freezing your ass off or having to shovel anything, even in January or February. After looking at several properties in NB, NS and PEI, I opted for a small acreage on one of the Gulf Islands near Nanaimo, and we are building a small 400 sq.ft. cabin this spring. I love the island life for the slow pace, alternative lifestyle, and progressive thinking which were very important factors in our decision. I don't regret my decision whatsoever.

Gerard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1389
  • Location: eastern canada
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2015, 04:51:43 PM »
If paid off home is really a starting point, then Toronto makes more sense than you'd think. Property taxes are low, groceries are cheap, transit and biking infrastructure are acceptable, flights are available, there's lots to do for free, and you have access to specialized medical services if that ever comes up.

If, on the other hand, "paid off home and an extra $900,000" is more appealing, then I second some of these other suggestions, like Windsor or the east. Exactly where might be influenced by how much snowbirding you plan to do.

BigBangWeary

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • The Great Canadian Housing Bubble Co.
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2015, 03:19:12 AM »
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. I agree that a large part of the answer is somewhat subjective (what is considered a paid off home, what do you do for entertainment, weather preferences, etc.). I was trying to keep it as cut-and-dry when it comes to the numbers so that a COL comparison could be made.

It is hard to break down though, as some of these preferences have a direct impact on the viability of the plan. For example, if you move to the West Coast for the weather and to grow your own food, and your family is from Eastern Ontario, you might potentially spend a lot of money travelling to see them. On the other hand, if you spend less on a very affordable home in PEI (leaving you more money to generate income), you might not have the same opportunities to bike to the shops year-round, etc.

Maybe this would make is easier .... If someone has accumulated a portfolio of $1,000,000 and they were hoping to find a family home (renting is allowed) and live a Mustache-like existence, which part of Canada would you suggest in terms of living costs?


GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13765
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2015, 06:53:37 AM »
Toronto's actually a pretty decent place to live once you've paid off your home.  The library system is great, there are tons of places to bike, nice beach, cheap grocery stores, it's possible to live in places where you wouldn't need to own a car, very mild winters, cheap property tax rates, HUUUGE market of used stuff on craigslist/kijiji . . .

It's just that the getting to the house paid off part is hard.  :P

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2015, 08:38:57 AM »
If affordability is your only criteria, then the East Coast (PEI, NS, NB) would suit your needs. However, if you factor in the weather, then I'd say Vancouver Island is your best place to live, and in particular some of the Gulf Islands. Snow-free most of the year except a day or two, good weather, not as rainy as Vancouver, lots of small organic agricultural operations that lower the cost of food, not mentioning that you can garden pretty much 10 months of the year...and sail, kayak, surf, hike, without freezing your ass off or having to shovel anything, even in January or February. After looking at several properties in NB, NS and PEI, I opted for a small acreage on one of the Gulf Islands near Nanaimo, and we are building a small 400 sq.ft. cabin this spring. I love the island life for the slow pace, alternative lifestyle, and progressive thinking which were very important factors in our decision. I don't regret my decision whatsoever.



I would gladly move there just for Nanaimo bars. I'm serious.

Koogie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 213
  • Location: Toronto-ish
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2015, 09:22:48 AM »
Just moved to the Hamilton area and that allowed us to buy a paid off house.    Liking it so far and it seems a degree or two cheaper than the GTA (where we left).   Hamilton has a bit of a bad rap (most people only see the industrial bit when looking down from the QEW bridge) but it has lots of cool neighborhoods and lots of artists/chefs, etc.. moving here from Toronto.  (more than once I've been walking around in different neighborhoods and remarked: "this reminds me of the Danforth/the Beaches, etc..)

I'm still working at the moment but our investments are 80% of the way to replacing my salary.   Hamilton is planned as probably a +/- 10 year "posting" for us but I could see staying.  It's changing rapidly.

Reynolds531

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 298
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2015, 10:53:30 AM »
For $200k you can still buy a decent house in London. And as mentioned above a snowshovel. It snowed here saturday night. MMM and his thermal mass would have the heat going this week!

I hear Cuba is cheap!

MorningCoffee

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 98
  • Location: Ottawa, Canada
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2015, 11:15:34 AM »
This article from MoneySense has some interesting ideas:
http://www.moneysense.ca/planning/canadas-best-places-to-live-2015-overview/

FrugalFan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 910
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2015, 12:05:17 PM »
Interesting thread! I think it's important to factor in housing cost because that could affect your FIRE date by years (or decades in the case of Vancouver or Toronto). I'm originally from New Brunswick and most of my family is still there. It is relatively affordable but far from everything (air travel to and from there is a fortune), and the winters are much, much too long for me now (i.e. there was still snow in May last year).

Now I live in Windsor, and housing is even cheaper here than most of New Brunswick. In town, you can get a nice house for $150 k and a more basic house for 70-130 k, depending on the neighborhood. As elaine mentioned above, there are a lot of beautiful parks some funky neighborhoods, and great access to the big city and cheap air travel from Detroit. The climate is good too. I do miss that you have to drive pretty far in Canada to get to some nice wilderness, but we should explore Michigan more, as the wilderness is close by. The climate is good. Lots of farms in the county so you can get fresh food for cheap. 

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Age: 60
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2015, 01:41:36 PM »
No idea but I kinda wish that the USA and Canada were reversed geographically and I lived in Canada.   If that makes sense. 

choppingwood

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2015, 04:14:42 PM »
No idea but I kinda wish that the USA and Canada were reversed geographically and I lived in Canada.   If that makes sense.

You want the benefits without the weather.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2015, 06:16:06 PM »
The weather is one huge deciding factor for you!  do you want winter or no?  will you delay retirement if it means no winter to deal with?

Winterpeg used to be cheaper in some cases but you'll suffer in winter. 
Don't mind winter then the east coast would be for you.  I know another couple that worked in central canada and retired to newfoundland because of the dramatically cheaper living costs. 
Some have found alberta to be decent, there's lots of houses up for sale in some areas due to retractions in the oil industry.  Also the winter weather tends to be more mild.  lots of chinooks as well as the beautiful teritory around it to explore if that's your thing

BC is super over priced in housing, but you get it back in weather. 

also would want to consider if you want to travel lots being near a major hub like vancouver or calgary makes it much easier.  winnipeg has less direct flights to places for example.  so for use we are always having to hop to toronto or calgary to get a flight which adds cost

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6325
  • Location: BC
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2015, 12:02:09 AM »
Vancouver area, if you have a paid off home...

Lots of transit, parks, free or subsidized activities.
Low heating costs, water, electricity,  property taxes are lower than Winnipeg in most areas.

Easy cycling, ethnic groceries, etc.

You can rent out a small spare room for lots of beer money.  It's like a golden goose, that paid off home.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 12:06:03 AM by goldielocks »

BigBangWeary

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • The Great Canadian Housing Bubble Co.
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2015, 01:34:49 AM »
Very true, but with the $1,000,000 available in the scenario, you would have a tear-down and 0 invested in Vancouver, vs. a family home plus $850,000 invested in the East Coast.

Warm weather and ethnic food is great, but so is being financially independent (or close) and owning a home. But then again, I don't mind the snow.

Learner

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Location: Kingston, Ontario
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2015, 04:24:53 AM »
Having recently moved from Kingston ON to Halifax NS (and before Kingston I lived close to Fredericton NB), my observations are:
 - Buying a house in Halifax is actually more expensive than Kingston, depending what you're looking at.  Our Kingston residence is going for about $185k, while the same in Halifax would have been at least $200-225k.  Rural housing in NS is definitely cheaper though.  NB housing was cheaper again.
 - Provincial tax rates are a fair bit higher in NB/NS than Ontario.
 - Healthy groceries in the Atlantic provinces are generally about twice as much.  As an extreme example I noticed recently, I could sometimes find a 5-count bag of avocados in Kingston for $2.  A few days ago in Halifax I saw a 3-count bag for $9.  Typically though it's more like bananas at .99/lb vice .59/lb.  There are deals if you know where to look.
 - Utilities are generally more out east, I suspect largely due to infrastructure.  Even in Halifax it's rare to find natural gas, most common is oil / electric for heat.  After talking with friends to figure out comparisons based on approx even usage, our utilities would have been about 1.5 - 1.75 as much here.  A not insignificant factor in that is higher connection costs (e.g. $20-40/month (I forget the exact figure) to be connected to the storm water system).

The above is just the background for the main point I think.  It really depends on what you want for lifestyle.  For example, I could live in rural NS in a $50k house and grow most of the food for the family, with occasional trips to the city for libraries, etc.  Living in the city in NS will cost more than Ontario (depending what you like for housing, and which city of course), but you have better access to services.

While I'm working (in the city) and have small children, living in the city is far better.  In 10ish years, it might be a completely different story.  Either way, all the best to you!

parkette

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Age: 35
  • Location: PEI, Canada
Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2015, 07:20:51 AM »
I was born and still live on PEI so really chiming in because I've seen the island come up a few times. Definitely a low cost of living (especially for house prices), great lifestyle if you can find your niche among the locals, everything you need is at a relatively close distance, summers are amazing. On the other side of things, winter can be brutal (but not always), it can be difficult to break into some social circles, groceries and utilities tend to be more expensive.

It really comes down to how you structure your life and lifestyle, and as someone (you) who is looking to make a thoughtful move somewhere, I would highly recommend it. I haven't lived anywhere else in Canada but I have lived in France and Australia. My Aussie husband is very happy with our life here (although we would both likely be equally happy in Oz).

ETA: If you're thinking of heading this way feel free to drop me a note!

oneyearfromnow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Canada's Capital
  • a life-long frugalitarian
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2015, 07:43:42 AM »
Come on down to Windsor. Lots of GTA retirees moving here these days. Mild weather, we're out of the snowbelt, only 4 hrs south of Toronto, with Detroit next door for all the US shopping/savings/big city amenities. (love the savings of flying out of Detroit)

Low cost of housing, and a small, safe city with no traffic.

I love all our (very beautiful) Waterfront parks. On the flip side, we are flat so no rugged cliffs or miles of wilderness. I go up between Barrie and Sudbury for that. Still, it's worth it here for the mild winters. We get way way less snow than say, London...which is just 2 hrs away.

I'm intrigued!   I just did some MLS searching and noticed that there were a number of 3+ bedroom homes in the 200-250K range.  Nice to see that you can search for the property taxes online too.

All this to say - recouping $400K of equity out of our Ottawa home, and having our property taxes cut in half.  Very interesting indeed.  This would puts us well and truly in the FIRE zone with margin of safety fully satisfied.

Tell me more!   Neighbourhoods with good proximity to groceries / library / recreation centres.

FrugalFan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 910
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2015, 09:33:08 AM »
oneyearfromnow I think the best neighborhood right now with that kind of house price is Old Walkerville. The streets south of Wyandotte tend to be nicer that the streets north of Wyandotte, but we lived on Moy on the riverside block and I loved it for its proximity to the river and it was quite nice. There is a huge riverside park that runs from there through downtown to the bridge with bike trails, etc, so I could bike to work. It's probably a 5-10 minute bike ride to most amenities. South of Wyandotte there is a beautiful park around Willistead Manor. Since we moved away from there, it has become even nicer with many of the best restaurants, shops, and community activities in town along that part of Wyandotte. There were few young kids when we lived there which is part of the reason we moved when we started our family, but that may have changed now. There is some street by street variation that you need to be careful about though, the streets on either side of us weren't as nice at the time. Google streetview would probably help a lot with that. South Windsor is popular with families because of the good schools, but you are a bit farther away from everything there and the house prices are higher.
Feel free to PM me.

elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3052
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2015, 11:09:23 AM »
Come on down to Windsor. Lots of GTA retirees moving here these days. Mild weather, we're out of the snowbelt, only 4 hrs south of Toronto, with Detroit next door for all the US shopping/savings/big city amenities. (love the savings of flying out of Detroit)

Low cost of housing, and a small, safe city with no traffic.

I love all our (very beautiful) Waterfront parks. On the flip side, we are flat so no rugged cliffs or miles of wilderness. I go up between Barrie and Sudbury for that. Still, it's worth it here for the mild winters. We get way way less snow than say, London...which is just 2 hrs away.

I'm intrigued!   I just did some MLS searching and noticed that there were a number of 3+ bedroom homes in the 200-250K range.  Nice to see that you can search for the property taxes online too.

All this to say - recouping $400K of equity out of our Ottawa home, and having our property taxes cut in half.  Very interesting indeed.  This would puts us well and truly in the FIRE zone with margin of safety fully satisfied.

Tell me more!   Neighbourhoods with good proximity to groceries / library / recreation centres.

Walkerville is definitely the hip place to be. House prices are still very affordable, you're close to the riverfront (beautiful) and Walkerville itself is an up-and-coming very vibrant neighborhood. For me personally, it has too much of an urban vibe and I prefer the suburbs. I live in South Windsor close to our major expressway so it is easy for me to get anywhere I want to go. My life is pure suburbia though so depends what you want. For me, grocery stores are about a 15-30 min bike ride so we typically drive. But we have a bank, library, and a Shoppers Drug Mart only a 15-20 min walk away so we often walk there.

Another alternative is our commuter towns. Lakeshore (east side of the city) is getting extremely popular now with a ton of new housing developments. A popular town for retirees is Amherstburg - a pretty place close to the water, with all you basically need in town. Only 30 mins from the city itself. Windsor's surrounding towns typically have cheaper taxes.

If you like to cycle, this place is a dream - completely flat. I joke that the only hills we have are the overpasses. I remember going to Chatham for a bike ride and being horrified to face endless rolling hills. I had no idea.

$200-$250k will get you a nice spacious home in a newer development. My suburban home (normal sized, 3 bedrooms, 30 years old) is typically $160-180k. Cheap "starter-type" homes go for much less. We own a rental property near the University - small, very basic 2 bedroom place that is only worth about $40k or so.

going2ER

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 200
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2015, 11:27:53 AM »
Chiming in from the east coast here. Yes, you will find cheaper housing, it also often older housing as well. However, oil, groceries, insurance, just about everything is more expensive. There is one hydro company, no competition, so pay it or go without. Most heating options are oil or electric, which is costly. I grew up here and plan to stay here, as long as my children do, and I am okay with what our expenses would be, but I wouldn't move here from a larger city. We just don't have the infastructure to compete.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13765
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2015, 11:30:06 AM »
Quote
If you like to cycle, this place is a dream - completely flat. I joke that the only hills we have are the overpasses. I remember going to Chatham for a bike ride and being horrified to face endless rolling hills. I had no idea.

Flat is not a cyclists dream.  This cyclist dreams of riding the alps some day.

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12029
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2015, 11:58:07 AM »
Quote
If you like to cycle, this place is a dream - completely flat. I joke that the only hills we have are the overpasses. I remember going to Chatham for a bike ride and being horrified to face endless rolling hills. I had no idea.

Flat is not a cyclists dream.  This cyclist dreams of riding the alps some day.

I dream of all downhill. :)

BigBangWeary

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • The Great Canadian Housing Bubble Co.
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2015, 01:09:25 AM »
Thanks parkette, I might take you up on that one day. From a personal perspective, we are just starting a young family and we both grew up in the country. I have lived in major cities since then, but my childhood was amazing, and there is part of me that sees the benefits of living in a slower, rural, family-oriented location when children are young (obviously not everyone will agree). It is hard to quantify that in dollar terms.

Most of our family is in Eastern Ontario, so the Victoria/Vancouver area option is not something we would probably consider. Well maybe, but then I could settle in Panama and enjoy some tax advantages for the same flight distance ...

parkette

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Age: 35
  • Location: PEI, Canada
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2015, 05:12:59 AM »

Thanks parkette, I might take you up on that one day. From a personal perspective, we are just starting a young family and we both grew up in the country. I have lived in major cities since then, but my childhood was amazing, and there is part of me that sees the benefits of living in a slower, rural, family-oriented location when children are young (obviously not everyone will agree). It is hard to quantify that in dollar terms.

I think we're on the same page here. My husband and I feel like PEI is a wonderful place to raise young children (we have 9 month old twin boys) so our plan is to stay here through elementary school. We're pretty outdoorsy though and see the limitations of certain activities that we enjoy (rock-climbing, skiing/snowboarding, surfing etc) so our goal is to spend some time in the mountains and then high school in Australia (when our goal is to RE). If the boys will be open to that kind of flexibility and ok with moving around a bit then I think we can leverage our 2 countries to provide a pretty well-rounded upbringing.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13765
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2015, 05:27:24 AM »
Quote
If you like to cycle, this place is a dream - completely flat. I joke that the only hills we have are the overpasses. I remember going to Chatham for a bike ride and being horrified to face endless rolling hills. I had no idea.

Flat is not a cyclists dream.  This cyclist dreams of riding the alps some day.

I dream of all downhill. :)

Hey, I didn't say I wanted to cycle up the Alps.

elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3052
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2015, 09:50:20 AM »
Quote
If you like to cycle, this place is a dream - completely flat. I joke that the only hills we have are the overpasses. I remember going to Chatham for a bike ride and being horrified to face endless rolling hills. I had no idea.

Flat is not a cyclists dream.  This cyclist dreams of riding the alps some day.

Love it!

I once crossed over to do the Helluva Ride in Hell, Michigan. That was insanity enough for me. The neverending hills were crazy. Glad I did it, but it sure made me appreciate our flat roads a whole lot more :) (yes, I am a wimp)

plainjane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1675
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2015, 10:25:41 AM »
Quote
If you like to cycle, this place is a dream - completely flat. I joke that the only hills we have are the overpasses. I remember going to Chatham for a bike ride and being horrified to face endless rolling hills. I had no idea.
Flat is not a cyclists dream.  This cyclist dreams of riding the alps some day.

A co-worker went to France this fall to ride. Including d'Huez.  He said it was amazing.  Did a lot of prep work in the 6 months leading up.  Apparently there were a bunch of people "cheating" with e-bikes.

Personally, I like the idea of hills, but my knees do not.

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6742
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #33 on: October 22, 2015, 12:56:35 PM »

I am thinking in terms of income tax, property tax, utilities, transport, etc. I believe MMM himself suggested the East Coast in one of his posts, but where would you go?

I went to Vancouver Island. Victoria to be precise. The only thing I find expensive here are the house prices, but your question excluded that. It's an easy to bike city with enough density and cycling infrastructure that you can get by without a car easily. The weather is much better than Vancouver or Seattle due to our fortuitous geography.

I've lived in Quebec, all over Ontario and several places in Alberta. I can't think of any place in Canada I would rather be than Vancouver Island.

kathrynd

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2015, 03:47:02 PM »
Having recently moved from Kingston ON to Halifax NS (and before Kingston I lived close to Fredericton NB), my observations are:
 - Buying a house in Halifax is actually more expensive than Kingston, depending what you're looking at.  Our Kingston residence is going for about $185k, while the same in Halifax would have been at least $200-225k.  Rural housing in NS is definitely cheaper though.  NB housing was cheaper again.
 - Provincial tax rates are a fair bit higher in NB/NS than Ontario.
 - Healthy groceries in the Atlantic provinces are generally about twice as much.  As an extreme example I noticed recently, I could sometimes find a 5-count bag of avocados in Kingston for $2.  A few days ago in Halifax I saw a 3-count bag for $9.  Typically though it's more like bananas at .99/lb vice .59/lb.  There are deals if you know where to look.
 - Utilities are generally more out east, I suspect largely due to infrastructure.  Even in Halifax it's rare to find natural gas, most common is oil / electric for heat.  After talking with friends to figure out comparisons based on approx even usage, our utilities would have been about 1.5 - 1.75 as much here.  A not insignificant factor in that is higher connection costs (e.g. $20-40/month (I forget the exact figure) to be connected to the storm water system).

The above is just the background for the main point I think.  It really depends on what you want for lifestyle.  For example, I could live in rural NS in a $50k house and grow most of the food for the family, with occasional trips to the city for libraries, etc.  Living in the city in NS will cost more than Ontario (depending what you like for housing, and which city of course), but you have better access to services.

While I'm working (in the city) and have small children, living in the city is far better.  In 10ish years, it might be a completely different story.  Either way, all the best to you!

Check out Gateway Meat Market  at 667 Main st, Dartmouth. (sells more than meat)
There is also a Fruit Market close by

Jon_Snow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2969
  • Location: An Island in the Salish Sea (or Baja)
  • In Baja....there is no kale.
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2015, 05:00:53 PM »
The weather is much better than Vancouver or Seattle due to our fortuitous geography.

I think to claim that Victoria's weather is "much better" is a bit of a stretch. Otherwise, I would agree that the southwest corner of Canada is tough to beat...especially if you own land. If you are lucky enough to have oceanfront with easy access to all the seafood you could ever want, then you have hit the lotto. ;)

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6673
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2015, 05:09:55 PM »
Come on down to Windsor. Lots of GTA retirees moving here these days. Mild weather, we're out of the snowbelt, only 4 hrs south of Toronto, with Detroit next door for all the US shopping/savings/big city amenities. (love the savings of flying out of Detroit)

Low cost of housing, and a small, safe city with no traffic.

I love all our (very beautiful) Waterfront parks. On the flip side, we are flat so no rugged cliffs or miles of wilderness. I go up between Barrie and Sudbury for that. Still, it's worth it here for the mild winters. We get way way less snow than say, London...which is just 2 hrs away.
Windsor is near Detroit, and out of the snow belt?  That's out of the snow belt?

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6325
  • Location: BC
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2015, 11:30:23 PM »
Very true, but with the $1,000,000 available in the scenario, you would have a tear-down and 0 invested in Vancouver, vs. a family home plus $850,000 invested in the East Coast.

Warm weather and ethnic food is great, but so is being financially independent (or close) and owning a home. But then again, I don't mind the snow.

Ah, but the underlying cost of the home was not identified in the OP!  You are right to not ignore it though..

I think it is interesting, because when I looked at coop housing, which is quite low cost, and if subsidized due to very low income and being a ' lucky few'recipient...  It approaches the paid off home ( with ppty tax and utility costs), in a low COL area,  and is exceptionally affordable for a high quality of life...all things considered...

I like great libraries, parks, sea wall, hiking accessed by transit, and a local movie theater or even a local theatre production.

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12029
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2015, 05:26:39 AM »
Come on down to Windsor. Lots of GTA retirees moving here these days. Mild weather, we're out of the snowbelt, only 4 hrs south of Toronto, with Detroit next door for all the US shopping/savings/big city amenities. (love the savings of flying out of Detroit)

Low cost of housing, and a small, safe city with no traffic.

I love all our (very beautiful) Waterfront parks. On the flip side, we are flat so no rugged cliffs or miles of wilderness. I go up between Barrie and Sudbury for that. Still, it's worth it here for the mild winters. We get way way less snow than say, London...which is just 2 hrs away.
Windsor is near Detroit, and out of the snow belt?  That's out of the snow belt?

If I'm going to live in a country that is famous for skiing for 9 months of the year and really bad tobogganing for the other 3, I want to be where there is snow. Frozen Dirt season sucks balls, and I'd rather deal with -30F and a foot of snow every week than -15C and frozen mud. Snow I can manage, but miserable, grey, damp cold is just... UGH.

Having said that, in Ontario the snowbelt is the zone where streamers of moisture-laden water off Lake Huron dump tonnes of wet, heavy snow all winter long. There are a couple of areas that are particularly hard hit, with the snow streamers divided north and south by the Lion's Head Penninsula. The North area extends pretty much fron Barrie eastward to Kingston. The southern area is from Goderich to Kitchener/Cambridge.

Its pretty amazing how exact the lines are for the the snowfall. We once had a house that was "the other side of the hill" from the snow. You could see the clouds and watch the snow falling on the north side of the morraine, but on our side it would be bare ground. The snow fall is really funnelled by the topography. Cool to see.

BPA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1191
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #39 on: October 23, 2015, 07:38:58 AM »
If paid off home is really a starting point, then Toronto makes more sense than you'd think. Property taxes are low, groceries are cheap, transit and biking infrastructure are acceptable, flights are available, there's lots to do for free, and you have access to specialized medical services if that ever comes up.

If, on the other hand, "paid off home and an extra $900,000" is more appealing, then I second some of these other suggestions, like Windsor or the east. Exactly where might be influenced by how much snowbirding you plan to do.

+1

My plan is to stay in Hamilton for a while, and then sell the house and move east.  I do plan to purchase some land in central Ontario for when climate change causes much of Atlantic Canada to be under water.  That may or may not happen in my lifetime, but I'm thinking my children and grandchildren would be grateful for my foresight. 

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6742
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2015, 08:40:28 AM »

I think to claim that Victoria's weather is "much better" is a bit of a stretch. Otherwise, I would agree that the southwest corner of Canada is tough to beat...especially if you own land. If you are lucky enough to have oceanfront with easy access to all the seafood you could ever want, then you have hit the lotto. ;)

Unless you enjoy lots more rain the weather here is much better. I ride a motorcycle all winter and mountain bike all winter so I am acutely aware of how much rain is falling.

Quote
Total annual precipitation is just 608 mm (23.9 in) at the Gonzales weather station in Victoria compared with 1,589 mm (63 in) in Vancouver, 970 mm (38.2 in) in Seattle.

- wikipedia

Jon_Snow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2969
  • Location: An Island in the Salish Sea (or Baja)
  • In Baja....there is no kale.
Re: Most affordable place to live in Canada with a paid off house
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2015, 08:43:33 AM »
Lol...I knew rainfall statistics were incoming.