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Kelowna homeowners top Canadian list of mortgage-free living

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In a city known for its high housing costs, Kelowna surprisingly has more mortgage-free homeowners than the vast majority of the country.

Recently released statistics show that Kelowna is in eighth place nationwide for mortgage-free living with 41% of households having paid off their homes.

The statistic shows a different side to the Kelowna real estate market amidst a housing crisis where the average Kelowna home costs $1 million and a one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,900 a month – meaning a person has to earn $76,000 a year to achieve the 30% rent to income ratio.

The statistics show that 25,225 homeowners in Kelowna have paid off their mortgages out of 61,020 private households. 

Using 2021 Statistic Canada data, put together a list of the top 39 Canadian Census metropolitan areas with the most mortgage-free homeowners.

Thunder Bay, Ontario took the top spot with 47% of its homeowners being mortgage free. According to the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board, the median sale price for a single detached home in April 2024 was $350,000.

While the price of housing in Thunder Bay is a fraction of that of Kelowna, the statistics show there's little correlation between the price of housing and paying off a mortgage.

The median list price in Vancouver is $1.5-million and the city comes in 11th place with almost 41% of homeowners living mortgage free.

READ MORE: More real estate listings and lower prices in Kamloops, Okanagan comments that the cities at the top of the list likely have older homeowners who are more likely to have paid off their mortgages.

Coming in last place was Barrie, Ontario. A city a similar size to Kelowna where the average house price stands at $859,000. In this city, 32% of homeowners have paid off their mortgages.

The highest-ranked city in BC is Victoria coming in fourth place where 43% of homeowners are living mortgage free. The benchmark price for a home in Victoria is $1,296,000.

Other BC cities that made the list are Nanaimo in seventh place with 42% living mortgage free, Vancouver at 40.8% and Kamloops in 14th place at 40%.

Chilliwack comes in 20th place with 38% mortgage free and Abbotsford-Mission in 36th place with 34% having paid off their homes.

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