The average cost of buying a condo in a major city

Date Published : Mar-12-2021

Written By : Phillip Livingston

Moving to a new city and a new environment might excite you in the beginning. But, once you think about all the different costs involved, the idea can seem daunting.

Besides the unusual sights and sounds, you must get used to the cost of living, and your accommodation will play a huge role in your ability to live comfortably there.

A personal finance site called GoBankingRates recently did a study where they compared the cost of a one-bedroom apartment across 50 different cities around the US. They used a combination of factors like square footage, utilities, and rent prices as part of their research.

Other factors that contribute to the average price of a condo in major cities include the availability of parking and other amenities like fitness centers, washer-dryer facilities, dishwashers, etc. The interesting thing about the data that emerged from this study is that the price of renting a condo or apartment can differ for cities within the same state. For instance, the average New Yorker pays $3,150 per month while New Jersey residents only pay $2,700 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

The cost of a property is highly contingent on where you live, and the differences are even more jarring for those looking to buy instead of renting.

You’re probably reading this article because you want to find out how much it costs to buy a condo in different cities. This is a smart move as you want to live in a city that fits into your budget while giving you a good quality of life. Comparing different prices is great, but you need to weigh that against the standard of living that comes with that price point to get a complete view of the picture. That’s why we’ve prepared the following guide. Read on to find out what the average cost of a condo is in all the major cities in North America.


1. New York – $1.68 million

new york condo

We know the Big Apple as the city of high rollers where anything is possible. If the vibrant energy of New York city life is calling you, gear up for some serious spending because condos here do not come cheap. A decently sized, 1 bedroom condo in New York costs upwards of $1.68 million, plus, an average down payment of 20% of the purchase price. It’s possible to get a down payment of 10% or lower if you’re lucky, but then you’ll likely make up for that by paying higher closing costs – all in cash!

Why move to New York? Not only is New York the largest city in the U.S., but it’s also a global commerce hub with a notable infrastructure. It’s the place to be for anyone in business, finance, fashion, and theatre.


2. Los Angeles – $529,000

los angeles

Thinking of a move to the City of Angels? L.A. is not only home to Hollywood, but it has strong tourism, manufacturing and tech industries. Although L.A. offers gorgeous scenery and some of the country’s most expensive homes, the cost of buying a condo there is relatively low at just $529,000 for a one-bedroom unit.

Why move to L.A.? L.A. is known for its year-round pleasant weather, which makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers. You can hike in the Hollywood hills, watch the migration of whales in the Pacific, and enjoy bike tours and surfing for most of the year. If wearing jeans and a t-shirt all year-round while being part of a slow-paced and laid-back culture sounds good, then L.A. is for you.


3. Chicago – $340,000

chicago condo

If you’re thinking of buying a sizable corner unit in one of Chicago’ high-rise condo buildings, expect to shell out about $340,000. For this price, you’ll get a one-bedroom apartment with all the amenities and maybe a nice view of the city.

Why move to Chicago? You might know Chicago as the windy city thanks to the gusts of wind coming from a nearby Lake Michigan but there’s more to it than that. Chicago has a lot of great schools and universities, which is why many people consider it a great place to raise a family. Plus, it has great museums and planetariums for culture buffs. A word of warning; you should only live in Chicago if you don’t mind snow because the winters are long and brutal.

4. Houston – $200,000

houston condo

For many people, a move to a new city is influenced by the quality of education. Houston scores an A+ for its education facilities which include such prestigious institutions as the University of Houston and Rice University. A one-bedroom condo in Houston will probably cost you $200,000 plus a 20% down payment.

Why move to Houston? For those of you who hate cold weather, Houston is a great city because it almost never snows there. But, we mostly know this city for its amazing barbecues which are a standard pastime for most people on the weekend. Houston is also one of the most diverse cities in the U.S.

It’s dubbed one of the best places to retire to because it has the best medical facilities in the country. Not only that, but Houston has a high employment rate and low housing costs considering the median home price is 59% lower than other major cities in the U.S.


5. Philadelphia – $337,000

philadelphia condo



Philly isn’t the cheapest place to live in the U.S. but it offers fair property prices. A one-bed condo will only set you back $337,000 and it’s relatively easy to get a loan with an average down payment of 10%.

Why move to Philadelphia? We consider Philadelphia as one of the most historic cities in the world. It’s also culturally rich with an abundance of museums and historical monuments.

A little-known fact is that Philly boasts the most bicycle commuters per capita out of all the major cities in the U.S., making it a great place for cyclists. Recreational and mountain bike trails are plentiful, as well as miles of road and Valley Forge. Philly is a natural disaster-free zone that doesn’t experience earthquakes, tsunamis or hurricanes of any kind.


6. Toronto – $669,000

toronto condo

Whether you’re moving to Toronto for work, school or retirement purposes, this city offers a great quality of life. A one-bedroom condo here will set you back $669,000 and the minimum down payment is 5%. 

Why move to Toronto? Toronto is not only the biggest city in Canada but arguably the most scenic. This makes sense when you consider that it’s ideally located close to the Northern shore of Lake Ontario, near the US border.

It’s also the country’s commercial hub and a cultural center with plenty of diversity. Toronto is nicknamed “the city that works” so it’s ideal for anyone that wants to advance their career. There are many green spaces in Toronto for nature lovers to enjoy, and of course, you’ll be able to visit Niagara Falls anytime you like.


7. Vancouver – $802,500

vancouver condo

Vancouver is British Colombia’s biggest city and the gateway to the glaciers of Alaska and the slopes of Whistler. A one-bedroom condo here costs $802,500. Since the Vancouver real estate market is currently making a comeback, now’s a great time to buy instead of renting.

Why move to Vancouver? Gastown is one of Canada’s most desirable cities to live in. Its welcoming neighborhoods are filled with the aromas of incredible cuisines and all the urban delights which you’d expect from a place that’s regularly voted as “the world’s most livable city”. Vancouver is one of only a few places in the world that have maintained a fine balance between nature and the built environment. It’s also known as the culinary capital of Canada which is good news for foodies.


8. Calgary – $226,000

calgary condo

If you’ve chosen to move to Calgary, you’ll be glad to know that its real estate market offers great value for money. It’s great for families, with a good combination of established communities and new developments alike. A one-bed condo here will set you back just $226,000.

Why move to Calgary? Calgary is the third largest city in Canada. It’s also spread out so you need to drive a car if you will live there. It has a strong economy based on the energy, transportation, and medical sectors. Calgary is famous for hosting the “largest outdoor show in the world” which includes rodeos, rides, and different types of cuisine as a celebration of Native Indian culture.


Considerations to make before you buy a condo

Should you buy a condo or continue renting? This question is usually at the forefront of anyone’s mind when considering a property purchase.

A condominium is a versatile real estate that comes with the convenience of apartment living and the community feel of planned development living. It’s an asset that can and will continue to grow in value over time so you can sell it for more than you bought it for. But, there are a few considerations you need to make before you buy.


– Market trends:


You must be mindful about the prevalent property trends at the time you purchase your condo. You want to buy during a buyer’s market when the supply of property exceeds the demand. This leads to better value, competitive pricing, and attractive rates. Also, speak to an experienced real estate agent to find out how condos are selling in a particular location you’re interested in. Only go for an area where condos continue to go up in value as plummeting prices could show a tanking market and that’s not a place you want to invest in.


– Take care of your credit:


You must have excellent credit to get a mortgage for a condo. That’s because a condo comes with various requirements that aren’t common with a single family home. Mortgage lenders typically charge 0.75% more for a condo than a single family unit, especially if your down payment is lower than 25% of the property price.


– Occupation rate:


The best advice for purchasing a condo is to make sure the building or complex you’re buying from is at least 90% occupied. If you’re buying from new development, at least 30% of the units should be spoken for.


– Maintenance:


Look at the HOA or property manager’s maintenance records to make sure that all their major mechanical systems and roofs have had regular maintenance (at least every 5 to 7 years).


What are the prices of condos in your area? Comment below.


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