Why is the Ottawa Neighborhood Cheaper Than 50 other Ontario Cities

When it comes to housing costs, Ontario is notorious for being on the higher end. However, a ray of hope shines for prospective homebuyers in a specific Ottawa neighborhood—Bells Corners. Although the financial demands for buying a home in Ontario are generally steep, Bells Corners stands out as an affordable option for households with above-average income levels.

What Defines Housing Affordability

Before jumping into the numbers, let’s set the parameters for affordability. The calculation is based on several factors, including a 20% down payment, a 5.24% mortgage rate (as of July 14), and a 25-year amortization period. The standard set is that households should allocate no more than 25% of their pre-tax income on monthly mortgage payments.

Types of Housing

In the discussion about housing affordability, the term “median home price” is commonly used to provide an average cost outlook. However, it’s essential to remember that this figure encompasses all categories of housing available in the market. Whether it’s a single-family home, an apartment, or a condominium, each of these contributes to the median value. In Ontario and particularly in areas like Bells Corners, the mix of these housing types can significantly impact both the median home price and the subsequent affordability for potential buyers.

For instance, the presence of more apartments or condos in an area could lower the median price, making it seem more affordable at a glance. Conversely, neighborhoods dominated by single-family homes typically cost more and could drive the median price upwards. Therefore, when we consider the median home price in Bells Corners, it’s a comprehensive representation of the varied housing types available in that particular neighborhood.

This inclusive approach to calculating the median home price provides a balanced view, helping prospective homebuyers understand what they can reasonably afford across the range of available options. It also allows for a more apples-to-apples comparison with other cities or neighborhoods, which might have different compositions of housing types.

The Specifics: Ottawa’s Bells Corners

What is fascinating about Bells Corners is that it offers an affordable housing option for households earning $125,000 per year. This income level is $25,000 more than the average provincial income, making it accessible for those slightly above the norm. The median home price in this Ottawa neighborhood is $499,950, with monthly recurring costs of $2,841.

These recurring costs include mortgage payments (with the assumed 20% down payment), home insurance, utilities, and property taxes.

Comparative Analysis: Other Cities in Ontario

Understanding the affordability of Bells Corners within Ottawa becomes more meaningful when juxtaposed against other cities in Ontario. North Bay, for example, offers a relatively low median home price of $401,950 with monthly recurring costs of $2,610. The city appears as a cost-effective option, especially for those with an annual income as low as $100,000. However, one must also factor in the amenities, job opportunities, and quality of life that may differ from a larger city like Ottawa.

Owen Sound has a median home price of $439,000 and monthly costs of $2,513. While the home prices are relatively lower, the monthly costs are surprisingly not the lowest among the cities analyzed. This could point to higher utilities or property taxes, which potential homebuyers must consider alongside the sticker price of the house.

Greater Sudbury has a slightly higher median home price of $470,000, with monthly recurring costs amounting to $2,680. The city offers a mix of suburban and urban living but may not have the same level of amenities or career opportunities as one might find in Ottawa. For those prioritizing affordability, Greater Sudbury may be an option, but the lifestyle trade-offs need to be carefully evaluated.

Port Colborne is next on the list, with a median home price of $499,900 and monthly recurring costs of $2,841. The costs are quite close to those in Bells Corners, making it a competitor in terms of affordability. However, it’s a smaller community and may lack some of the features of a larger city.

Windsor comes in with a median home price of $500,000 but has a higher monthly recurring cost of $3,313. While the home price is comparable to Bells Corners, the monthly costs are noticeably higher, likely due to additional fees or higher property taxes.

Cornwall, like Windsor, also has a median home price of $500,000 but matches Port Colborne and Bells Corners in terms of monthly recurring costs at $2,841. The city offers a different lifestyle, being situated along the St. Lawrence River, but again, it may not offer the same breadth of amenities or job opportunities as Ottawa.

Additional Information: Affordability Elsewhere in Ottawa

For those interested in other parts of Ottawa, it’s worth noting that areas such as the city’s core, Barrhaven, Orleans, and Vanier require a household income of $150,000 for reasonable housing costs. Kanata goes even higher, necessitating an income of $175,000.

Further Comparisons: Other High-Income Requirements

If we look at cities like Hamilton, Kitchener, and Thunder Bay, they also necessitate a household income in the $175,000 range. This makes Bells Corners a competitively priced option for households that are above the provincial average but below the top-earning bracket.

Exploring Other Ottawa Neighborhoods

If Bells Corners has caught your interest due to its affordability, you may also want to consider other neighborhoods in Ottawa that could be similarly cost-effective or offer different amenities. A comprehensive way to compare housing options is by looking at multiple listings across various neighborhoods. As an example, one may also perform a Google search for ‘homes for sale Ottawa‘ to explore additional platforms and options.

Examining these listings will provide a broader understanding of what each neighborhood offers in terms of home types, price points, and additional costs like utilities and property taxes. You’ll also gain insights into the availability of amenities like schools, parks, and shopping centers, which could significantly impact your decision on where to buy.

Utilizing these resources to their fullest will ensure that you are making an informed choice, comparing not just the upfront costs but also the long-term financial commitments associated with different neighborhoods. This comprehensive approach helps you go beyond just looking at the median home price by considering other factors contributing to the overall living expenses in each area.


If you’re looking to buy a home, it’s clear that the cost is about more than just the selling price. Factors like ongoing monthly expenses and what’s available locally are also key. Bells Corners in Ottawa makes for an interesting case in this respect. When you stack it up against other cities in Ontario, it offers a reasonable balance between cost and benefits. So, it’s not just about what you can afford to buy, but what you can afford to maintain and where you want to live.

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