So, you’re looking for a home in Canada?

Finding a place to call home is one of the first items to check off your to-do list as a newcomer. Luckily, Canada has a large variety of housing options. Your ultimate choice will depend on your budget, your location, and the needs of your family. Let us help you get started with a breakdown of the housing types available in Canada. 


detached final

A detached home is one that stands on its own and doesn’t share a wall with any other residences. Often, detached homes have front and back yards. This is the classic type of house you often see families living in on TV or in movies. Detached homes are usually the most expensive form of housing to purchase or rent, particularly in and around large cities. 



A semi-detached home is an individual unit that shares one common wall with another household. You can picture this as a detached house divided down the centre, with a family living on each side. Semi-detached houses, sometimes just called “semis,” normally include private front and back yards, although you may share a fence with residents living in the other half of the home. 

Duplexes and triplexes

Duplexes and triplexes

Duplexes and triplexes are multi-level homes where each floor typically has its own entrance and serves as a separate residence. Duplexes contain two units, while triplexes contain three units. One person or company typically owns the building and rents out the living spaces inside. Duplexes and triplexes can offer a similar lifestyle as semi-detached homes, but often at a more affordable price. Sometimes access to the yard or to parking space is reserved for the tenants of a specific unit.



Townhouses are rows of homes similar to semi-detached houses, except they share a wall with neighbours on each side of the house (unless you live in an end unit). Townhomes may or may not include outdoor space like a back yard or rooftop patio. They’re available to be purchased or rented, and can be run as condominiums, meaning you own or rent the home’s interior, but a condo corporation owns and maintains the exterior. 

Rental apartments

rental apartment

Rental apartments are units in buildings owned by one landlord or company. Residents pay a monthly fee to live in the units. Typically renters enter into a one-year lease agreement with the landlord and then continue on a month-to-month basis. While rental apartments normally include basic appliances like fridges and stoves, they may or may not include additional appliances like microwaves, dishwashers, and laundry units. 

Renters are responsible for the general upkeep of their apartments, but landlords are responsible for any major unit repairs caused by general wear and tear. Apartments may or may not include outdoor space in the form of a balcony or terrace. You can lower the cost of renting an apartment by living with roommates. 



Condominiums, or “condos” for short, are like apartment buildings, but with a different ownership structure. Residents can own or rent units while a condo corporation owns and maintains the building’s common elements (like hallways and lobbies) and exterior. 

Condominiums often offer communal amenities like fitness centres, party rooms, and even swimming pools. More upscale condos may offer concierge services. If you’re a renter, these amenities are included in your monthly rent. Owners will pay a monthly condo fee to maintain common amenities and cover building upkeep and repairs. Condos are available in a wide variety of sizes from small bachelor units to two and three-bedroom apartments. 

Rental rooms

rental room

A rental room is a living space in someone else’s home that you pay a monthly fee to inhabit. Rental rooms can commonly be found in the form of basement apartments, which often have their own separate entrance. Rental rooms are one of the more affordable types of housing in Canada. 



A loft is a rented living space in the top storey of a house or in its attic. The term is also used to refer to condominium units with high ceilings and an open floor plan. “Hard lofts” are former industrial spaces, such as warehouses or factories, that have been converted for residential use as condos. They often feature original brick walls and exposed beams and pipes. 

How to find housing in Canada on a budget

Finding a balance between where you want to live with where you can afford to live can be tricky. Housing in Canada is often most expensive in big cities. If you’re able to work outside a major urban centre like Toronto or Vancouver, or are willing to commute, it can be easier to find more spacious options at better prices. If you want or need to live in a city, it’s more affordable to look at up-and-coming neighbourhoods that aren’t fully developed. 

Don’t forget there are lots of people just like you looking for affordable housing in Canada. Many choose to live with roommates to lower their rental costs. You can find people looking for roommates online on sites like Kijiji, Craigslist, Roomster, and Kangaroom

You can also use a realtor to help find affordable housing that meets your needs. Realtors in Canada not only help with buying properties, but also with renting them. Their services are often free to renters as their commission is paid by the landlord. 

It may take a few tries, but with time and a little bit of luck you’ll find the perfect place to call home sweet home. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of each type of housing in Canada so you can choose the one that best meets your needs and budget. For more information, download the Arrive Newcomer’s Guide to Finding Accomodation in Canada.


To get to know more about Canadian culture, the Arrive mobile app is a good starting point. The Arrive app can ease your transition and help you adapt faster life to Canada. It is specially designed to provide newcomers, like yourself, with information that matters, at a time when you need it the most. The best part: you’ll always have all resources in one place – in an app on your phone – and you can access it wherever you are, without having to provide any confirmation from the Canadian government. Whether you’re a year away from your move or recently landed, if you’re a PR, international student or temporary foreign worker, the Arrive app will provide timely and relevant content, tools and guidance to ensure you’re fully prepared for your move and your life in Canada. 

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About Arrive

Arrive is powered by RBC Ventures Inc, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. In collaboration with RBC, Arrive is dedicated to helping newcomers achieve their life, career, and financial goals in Canada. An important part of establishing your financial life in Canada is finding the right partner to invest in your financial success. RBC is the largest bank in Canada* and here to be your partner in all of your financial needs. RBC supports Arrive, and with a 150-year commitment to newcomer success in Canada, RBC goes the extra mile in support and funding to ensure that the Arrive newcomer platform is FREE to all. Working with RBC, Arrive can help you get your financial life in Canada started – right now. Learn about your banking options in Canada and be prepared. Click here to book an appointment with an advisor.

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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.