Skip to content

Best places in Canada to buy real estate?

Where does Oakville place on the list?
house for sale | Zac Gudakov - Unsplash
house for sale | Zac Gudakov - Unsplash

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase, attributed to the British politician Benjamin Disraeli, describing the persuasive power of statistics to bolster weak arguments, according to that great source of information: Wikipedia.

Some in Oakville were shocked to recently see Oakville at the bottom of a list of "Top Canadian cities to buy real estate in 2023", compiled by Zoocasa, a consumer real estate search engine platform.

Moncton received 4.5 star out of 5. Sault Ste. Marie came in second. Oakville ranked 45th. Still, it would be quite the commute from either of those two cities.

Besides, that’s just the ranking using 2022 statistics and conflates the booming metropolis of Milton with Oakville in real estate figures. It’s true; Milton is experiencing healthy house prices.

On its website, Zoocasa says they "ranked neighbourhoods and municipalities from coast to coast using a proprietary methodology that takes into account average home prices, price growth over time, as well as neighbourhood characteristics and economics."

For anyone reading the news lately, they might wonder how Oakville might be more expensive, as an average home price, compared to, say, Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal.

In its methodology, Zoocasa states, "We determined which areas to include based on what information was available from CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association). CREA does not provide data for all Canadian cities and markets, meaning some areas may not be covered in our report."

In Zoocasa's ratings, the Greater Toronto Area stretches from Oshawa to Scugog to Caledon. Greater Vancouver absorbs Richmond, Burnaby, Lions Head and Langley. Montreal includes the island, Laval and several suburbs on the south shore.

To add salt to the wound, their report appeared in MoneySense magazine. MoneySense is a publication that features articles on financial planning, real estate, insurance, and "making sense of money."

In its digital disclaimer, MoneySense states, "While our goal is to provide accurate and up-to-date financial content, we encourage readers to practice critical thinking and cross-reference information with their own sources."

In other words, check with an expert before laying your money down.

Hunter Obee, president of the Oakville Milton District Real Estate Board, had this to say: "There are many reasons why people choose to live in a location. People chose to live here because it’s an amazing place to live and raise their families."

"With the amenities we have, the lakefront in Oakville, the access to GO Transit, and the closer we are to Toronto, of course, we attract a younger, professional demographic who are willing to spend a little more. The majority of the homes that are on the market here are newer, bigger, modern homes that people are looking for, so it skews the data to make us look more expensive."

In 2018, MoneySense published an article featuring an affordability ranking of residences using home-to-income ratios, and Oakville ranked better than Hamilton!

Let’s go back to Moncton. The east coast city of 85,198 people (2017 figures) had a 5-year growth in home prices of 102%. Oakville’s 5-year growth was 46%. Maybe it’s just taken a bit longer for house prices to go up out east.

Burlington, our neighbour to the west, was all happy when it was listed as "number one" in Best Cities magazine’s 2022 listing of "Top 25 Small Cities".

Yes, it ranked first among the four communities in Halton. However, when the statistical criteria shifted to communities in Ontario, it ranked 4th. Upon further inspection, Burlington actually ranked 7th across Canada.

In 2019, Macleans magazine’s "Best Canadian Communities" listed Burlington in the top spot (Oakville was 4th). Today, Burlington ranks 35th nationally - no hard data to explain the drop.

Confused? Please re-read the opening paragraph. On the other hand, there are 7,986 cities and towns to choose from in Canada - if you believe the statistics.