Housing in Canada: purchase, rent, mortgage, loan

Housing in Canada

Moving to a new country is often a stumbling block to housing. Sometimes immigrants have to choose an apartment to rent or buy blindly or rely on a real estate agent to help them find a new home. In this article, we’ll show you all the ways you can look for housing in Canada.

The housing market

Stable economic situation in Canada disposes first of all to the purchase of real estate. It is more advantageous to rent, as in most European countries, where even local residents are more profitable to rent apartments and houses for many years than to buy them into ownership. The procedure of purchase itself is much easier than, for example, in Russia, and the number of intermediaries in the transaction is minimal. Prices for apartments and houses compare favorably with Moscow, New York and London. Therefore, buying property in Canada can not only solve the “housing problem” for immigrants, but also become a good investment. The average income level of the population far exceeds the costs. And the government provides benefits and lower interest rates on loans.

Familiar Russian terminology “one-bedroom”, “two-bedroom” or “three-bedroom” apartment to Canada is wrong. Here housing is measured not by the number of rooms but by the number of bedrooms. So, our “two-bedroom” in Canada is a one-bedroom living room, a “three-bedroom” is a living room plus two bedrooms, and so on. Studios (one-bedroom apartments) are also on the market. However, they are less popular and are usually sold only in houses on the outskirts of cities. An inexpensive option is an apartment in the basement or attic. Such housing can be bought or rented for 2-3 times cheaper.

Young couples often choose apartments in high-rise buildings, condominiums, or “condos” as they are called here. Families with children would do well in private homes or townhouses away from the bustling center. It’s worth noting that in Canada, both the secondary and primary housing markets are equally well represented. Therefore, the choice of real estate is large.

Buying an apartment or house does not entitle you to a residence permit. However, this does not stop the annual influx of emigrants from many countries around the world.

The most active buyers of Canadian real estate are the Chinese. Others, including Russians, prefer to rent first, find a job, get a residence permit, get used to the new environment, and then, after a few years, look for an apartment or house to buy.

A home loan for foreigners in Canada is the best way to buy property. Typically, if you later obtain Canadian citizenship, an apartment or house in your possession may be an additional weighty advantage. To obtain a mortgage, you will need a lot of documents, and they must be collected in full, correctly executed and translated. For all legal issues related to home loans, it is better to contact the professionals who provide immigrants with all necessary assistance and support. This way you will protect yourself from any problems in the purchase of real estate.

Choosing a region

Buy and rent prices in Canada vary greatly depending on the region (province). Let’s take a closer look at the housing markets in four major cities.


It is considered the most expensive city in the country. It is the largest and most populous region of Canada, which is also a business and economic center. According to statistics, a third of the entire population of Canada lives in Toronto. Most of the educational institutions, large companies and industrial areas are also concentrated here.

Average cost for renting an apartment in Toronto (per month): studio – from 800 CAD (600 USD), one bedroom apartment – from 1200 CAD (930 USD), two bedroom apartment – from 1600 CAD (1200 USD). The average price for condos is $390,000, and a studio on the outskirts of Toronto can be purchased for $190,000. A townhouse will cost an average of $490,000 and a detached home will cost $870,000.

An undoubted advantage of Toronto for emigrants from Russia and CIS countries is the largest Canadian Russian-speaking community with its kindergartens, schools, stores and so on. Most often Russians choose North York, Richmond Hill, and Thornhill neighborhoods. The cost of cottages here start at a million Canadian dollars.


The capital of Canada, but not the largest and most developed city in Canada. The cost of renting and buying a home here is much lower than in major metropolitan areas. Supply exceeds demand, so there are no problems in choosing a property. Average rent in Ottawa (per month): studio – from 400 to 700 CAD (300 – 550 USD), one-bedroom apartment – from 600 to 1000 CAD (460 – 770 USD), two-bedroom apartment – from 800 to 1200 CAD (620 – 930 USD). The average price of a one-bedroom apartment closer to the outskirts of the city in condominiums is $140,000, while a three-bedroom apartment can be found for $250,000. A small detached house in Ottawa would cost about $400,000.


The largest city in the French-speaking province of Quebec. This city is called the cultural capital of Canada and the “second Paris”. Average cost for renting an apartment in Montreal (per month): studio – from 450 to 700 CAD (350 – 550 USD), one bedroom apartment – from 600 to 900 CAD (460 – 700 USD), two bedroom apartment – from 700 to 1000 CAD (540 – 770 USD). The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is $200,000. A private home in Montreal will cost an average of $300,000.


The main city on the west coast of the country. Vancouver has been recognized in various world rankings as one of the best cities in the world to live in. The ocean and mountains are visible from the windows of apartments and houses, possibly explaining the high prices for renting and buying real estate. The average rent in Vancouver (per month): studio – from 700 to 1000 Canadian dollars (540 – 770 US dollars), one-bedroom apartment – from 900 to 1100 Canadian dollars (700 – 850 US dollars), two-bedroom apartment – from 1000 to 1300 Canadian dollars (770 – 1000 US dollars). The average price of a one- to two-bedroom apartment in the city center is $370,000. A detached house in Vancouver costs about $600,000.


Housing is rented by both individuals and corporations. As a rule, an “individual” landlord is more likely to make concessions: can lower the cost of rent and improve conditions in the apartment.

Canadian landlords prefer to rent apartments for a year or at least six months.

All the terms of the lease are written in a contract that is signed by both parties with the help of lawyers and/or a real estate agent. Landlord (landlord) does not have the right to change the cost of rent for the entire term specified in the documents. Usually utilities are already included in the rent, except for telephone, television and internet.

When you sign a contract, the landlord asks for a document proving you have money or a certificate of employment.

If there are children in the family, they must have their own room. If a family with a child lives in a one-bedroom apartment, during inspections (which are regularly held in every region of the country), it is possible to get a fine for violating the rights of children. The landlord in this case will also be fined.

If any repairs are needed in the apartment, or if furniture or appliances break down, all costs are borne by the landlord.

When signing a rental agreement, the tenant is required to pay a security deposit, which is half the amount of the monthly payment. When you move out, the money is refunded if the owner believes that the housing has remained in unchanged condition.

Also in the announcement of the lease is clearly stated whether it is possible to live with pets. It is recommended to treat it seriously, and not to trust on the Russian “luck”: if you cannot live in the apartment with a dog or a cat, it is senseless to ask for it.

All disputes between landlords and tenants are regulated by a special organization, the Landlord and Tenant Board.

You can rent accommodation in Canada in several ways: search for ads yourself (through newspapers, websites, and social networks), or contact a real estate agency. Remember, the agent will take a commission on the deal, but the process will go quickly and legally.

Popular sites for finding real estate for rent:


As well as for rent, you need to look for an apartment or a house to buy on the Internet or through real estate agencies. The main online resources for the sale and purchase of real estate in Canada:

Before processing the transaction, both the seller and the buyer should hire lawyers to ensure that the transaction goes properly and quickly. The main task of lawyers is to check the accompanying documents: the contract, bank accounts, extracts from the housing register and so on. Real estate transactions are carried out by qualified specialists and firms, the legislation of the country reliably protects the interests of both parties to the transaction, so all the possible risks of the transaction are practically equal to zero.

In addition to the amount for the purchase of real estate, the buyer needs to take into account the following expenses:

  • Transfer of ownership tax (from 0.5% to 2% in different provinces of the total cost of housing)
  • Lawyer services ($ 300 to $ 500)
  • Land tax (from 0.5% to 2% in different provinces of the cost of housing) – this additional payment is provided only in the province of Ontario
  • Housing Technical Inspection (from $ 250)
  • Annual property tax (1% of the total value)

The transaction itself is carried out by bank transfer. For this purpose, the seller and the buyer open special bank accounts together, which can only be used once for the purchase and sale of real estate. The seller gets access to his account at the end of all stages of the transaction.

Loan and mortgage

Mortgage programs are very common in Canada. The average interest rate on a mortgage varies from 1.75% to 7.25% depending on the length of the loan and the credit history of the borrower. The total annual volume of the Canadian mortgage market is $70 billion. Not surprisingly, many are eager to take advantage of such favorable conditions and purchase real estate. Thanks to a credit system that works well, almost everyone in Canada can afford to buy an apartment or a house.

The most favorable terms of home loans – for citizens of the country. The down payment for them is only 5% of the total cost of housing. Immigrants (those who have lived in the country for less than 3 years, holders of residence permits and permanent residency) must make a minimum of 25% as a down payment. And non-residents of the country without an official permit to live and work in the country must immediately pay 35% of the cost.

To obtain a mortgage loan from a Canadian bank, you must provide the following documents:

  • Credit history
  • Certificate from the place of work indicating salary
  • Identification
  • Certificate of family composition (as well as complete information about the spouse)

The maximum amortization period (the number of years during which the full amount of the loan is paid back) in Canada is 25 years. However, applicants most often choose periods of 15 or 20 years.

In addition, the type of loan (open or closed), payment schedule, and interest rate are stipulated in the loan agreement.

According to statistics, the percentage of refusals to grant a mortgage loan is very small. If the applicant has provided real and well-prepared documents, then there are usually no problems with the loan.

The Canadian real estate market is very large. New construction is going on at a great pace, and therefore the supply greatly exceeds the demand. Thousands of immigrants from all over the world daily rent or buy homes in all provinces of Canada. In addition, the favorable conditions, stable economy and welcoming attitude to newcomers completely dispose to live in this developed country.


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