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The Cheapest Province to Buy a Car in Canada

The Cheapest Province to Buy a Car in Canada

Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases Canadians make. With the average price of a new vehicle now over $40,000, finding an affordable option is more important than ever. This article examines the cheapest provinces for car buying in Canada based on pricing data, taxes, fees and other costs. We’ll explore which locations offer the best deals to help you make an informed decision and maximize savings.

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Factors That Impact Car Affordability in Canada

There are several key factors that determine how affordable it is to buy and own a car across Canada’s provinces and territories.

 

Sales Taxes and Fees

The sales tax rate applied at the time of purchase has a major impact on upfront affordability. Some provinces charge as much as 15% sales tax on vehicle purchases, while Alberta and Saskatchewan have no provincial sales tax. Additional fees like air conditioning taxes can also vary.

 

Insurance Rates

Auto insurance is a significant ongoing cost, and premiums can be up to double the price when comparing the highest and lowest provinces. Urban centers like Toronto and Vancouver tend to have the most expensive rates.

 

Used vs New Car Prices

Used cars tend to have a smaller relative price difference between provinces. However, the availability and cost of used inventory still varies depending on the market size and local demand in each region.

 

Availability of Public Transit

The need to own a car for transportation differs across Canada. Large cities with extensive transit systems like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal reduce the reliance on car ownership compared to rural areas.

 

Average Incomes and Cost of Living

Higher average wages and lower cost of living improves a household’s ability to afford major purchases like vehicles. Poorer provinces may have cheaper sticker prices but reduced overall buying power.

 

Provincial Sales Taxes

One of the biggest factors determining car affordability by province is the provincial sales tax (PST) and harmonized sales tax (HST) rates. These taxes are applied on top of the base price when purchasing either new or used vehicles.

The lowest rates are found in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories which have no PST. Only the 5% federal GST applies for a total of 5% tax.

British Columbia has a PST of 7% plus the 5% GST for a total of 12%.

Ontario and New Brunswick have harmonized their provincial and federal sales taxes into a single HST. The rate is 13% in Ontario and 15% in New Brunswick.

Quebec has the lowest HST rate in Canada at just 5% combined with the 5% GST for a total of 10%.

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island both charge 15% HST. Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest HST at 15.5%.

These provincial and harmonized tax rates can make a huge difference in the final vehicle price. A $20,000 car will cost $1,000 more in Ontario versus Alberta thanks to the 13% HST.

 

Insurance Costs

Insurance is a major component of owning a vehicle, so examining average premiums by province provides insight into overall affordability. Rates are impacted by factors like population density, accident rates, vehicle theft statistics, repair costs and more. According to recent data from Statistics Canada, drivers in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta face the highest car insurance costs.

On the lower end, provinces like Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have significantly cheaper average premiums. For example, the average Ontario driver may pay over $1,600 annually for coverage, while Quebec averages under $800 for comparable policies. This makes Quebec one of the most affordable provinces for insurance costs. Shoppers can save hundreds yearly by opting for a car registered and insured in a lower-cost region.

 

Used Car Prices

Used car prices can vary greatly across different provinces and cities in Canada. When looking for the most affordable deals on pre-owned vehicles, it’s important to analyze listing prices on major sites like AutoTrader, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace.

In general, Quebec and the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island tend to have the lowest used car prices in the country. For example, browsing AutoTrader for 3-year old Honda Civics shows an average asking price of around $18,000 in Quebec. That compares to over $22,000 for the same vehicle in Ontario or British Columbia.

The large used car market in Quebec, with significant choice and inventory, creates increased competition that helps bring down prices. Atlantic Canada’s lower cost of living is also reflected in cheaper pricing for used vehicles.

On the other end of the spectrum, used car prices in Alberta and Saskatchewan tend to be higher on average. Strong economic conditions in the past led to higher original MSRPs, which filter down to the pre-owned market. Higher demand in the Prairies also enables dealers to command more premium pricing on used lot offerings.

For savvy buyers focused on saving money, shopping for used cars in Quebec or the Maritimes as opposed to Ontario or out West can lead to potential savings of $3,000-5,000 on average for similar vehicles.

 

Cheapest Provinces for New Cars

When looking at new car prices across Canada, a few provinces consistently have the most affordable options. This is largely driven by provincial tax rates, average incomes, and the overall cost of living in each region.

Quebec emerges as one of the cheapest provinces for new car purchases thanks to having the lowest sales tax rate in Canada. At just 5% provincial sales tax combined with the federal GST, Quebec has a huge advantage over other areas when it comes to sticker prices. This lower sales tax burden makes up for the slightly above average pre-tax new car prices in the province. Quebec also benefits from a robust public transit system in cities like Montreal, reducing the need to own a car for some residents. Various provincial rebates can further help lower the final transaction cost of a new vehicle.

Saskatchewan and Alberta have the next most affordable new car prices mostly due to not charging any provincial sales tax. This automatically gives buyers in these provinces an 8-10% discount over areas with PST. While pre-tax new car prices may be higher than the national average, not paying PST counteracts the difference. Higher average incomes in provinces like Alberta also help offset more expensive sticker prices. Distance and lack of public transit infrastructure necessitate vehicle ownership more in the Saskatchewan market as well.

At the end of the day, savvy shoppers in Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta are best positioned to find new car deals thanks to provincial policies and economic factors creating lower overall new car costs. Focusing your search in these affordable locations gives you the best chance at maximizing new car savings.

 

Public Transit Availability

The availability and accessibility of public transit can greatly impact the need to own a personal vehicle. Areas with robust public transportation systems allow residents to get around easily without a car. This reduces the demand and pricing pressure in the local car market.

Large metropolitan cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver have extensive bus and rail networks. Residents in these areas rely much less on personal vehicles, helping contain both new and used car costs compared to smaller cities.

Rural areas and provinces with highly dispersed populations often lack sufficient public transit. With fewer options to commute without a car, ownership becomes more of a necessity. This leads to greater demand and higher pricing.

Quebec’s transit systems in Montreal and other urban centers allow many to forego vehicle purchases. Saskatchewan and Alberta have less transit infrastructure, increasing reliance on personal cars. This difference contributes to Quebec’s affordability for car buying compared to the prairie provinces.

 

Average Incomes

Income levels play a significant role in automobile affordability across Canada’s provinces. Provinces with higher average household incomes generally have more disposable income available for major purchases like vehicles. According to Statistics Canada, average household income varies greatly by province:

 

  • Alberta – $104,930
  • Ontario – $95,510
  • British Columbia – $90,020
  • Saskatchewan – $93,080
  • Quebec – $80,940
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – $97,500
  • Prince Edward Island – $79,260
  • Nova Scotia – $77,800
  • New Brunswick – $70,250
  • Manitoba – $78,290

 

Higher household incomes in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador provide more budget room for pricier vehicle purchases. Lower incomes in Quebec, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick make affordable options more critical.

 

Quebec

Quebec emerges as one of the most affordable provinces for car buyers thanks to having the lowest sales tax rate in Canada. At just 5% provincial sales tax combined with the federal GST, Quebec has a huge leg up for new vehicle purchases. This ends up being thousands of dollars in savings over other provinces with higher sales taxes.

Quebec also benefits from a robust used car market, with prices only slightly above the Canadian average but with a much wider selection. Used car buyers can shop various regions of Quebec to find deals on a broad range of makes and models.

Additionally, Quebec’s major cities like Montreal offer abundant public transit options. This reduces the absolute necessity of car ownership for city residents. With a lower reliance on vehicles, prices remain in check compared to more remote provinces.

Between the competitive sales tax, solid used market and public transit alternatives, Quebec emerges as the most affordable province for car shoppers seeking the best bang for their buck.

 

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is another top choice for affordable new car purchases thanks to having no provincial sales tax. This instantly shaves 8-15% off the sticker price compared to other provinces that charge PST on vehicles. With cities and towns spread far apart in Saskatchewan, most residents require a car for their regular travels and commutes. However, the lack of a PST compensates for the high car dependency in the province.

Even with federal GST, buyers in Saskatchewan can save thousands purchasing locally versus importing a car from another province and having to pay full PST upon registration. This makes local dealers eager to earn your business. With no PST advantage on used cars, Saskatchewan is clearly best for new vehicles. However, even used car prices trend below the national average as dealers aim to entice shoppers.

The open prairie landscape of Saskatchewan gives you access to dealers province-wide if you’re willing to make the drive to find a great deal. Given the tax savings, travelling to purchase is definitely worthwhile. While prices are often a touch higher than Quebec, the total after-tax cost still positions Saskatchewan as an affordable option for your next new car.

 

Alberta

Alberta is another top choice for affordable new car buying thanks to having no provincial sales tax. This gives Alberta an automatic advantage when it comes to upfront vehicle pricing. Without needing to add on an extra sales tax percentage, Alberta buyers can avoid what can be a significant extra cost.

While car prices themselves may be slightly higher in Alberta, the lack of a provincial sales tax helps offset this premium pricing. Especially for luxury vehicles where the tax savings can equate to thousands of dollars, Alberta reigns supreme. Even on lower priced econoboxes, not paying extra sales tax gives Alberta an affordability edge.

In addition to the sales tax advantage, Alberta residents benefit from having higher average incomes than other provinces. While cost of living in cities like Calgary and Edmonton has risen, incomes have also grown steadily. This gives Albertans more buying power to afford both the initial purchase price and ongoing ownership costs of operating a vehicle.

With its combination of higher wages and an absence of provincial sales tax, Alberta takes second place for the most affordable province for new car buying in Canada. Savvy shoppers can capitalize on the tax savings and added income to negotiate deals on new vehicles that other provinces simply cannot match.

 

Best Provinces for Used Cars

New Brunswick offers some of the most affordable used car prices in Canada. With a low cost of living, used vehicle inventory tends to be very economical. Dealerships and private sellers price vehicles lower to align with incomes in the province.

In addition, New Brunswick has the lowest auto insurance rates in the country. Mandatory insurance is quite reasonable compared to other provinces. This helps offset the overall cost of ownership.

New Brunswick also has no emissions testing requirements. Vehicles can be registered and plated without needing to pass stringent emissions inspections required in some other provinces.

When you combine low used car prices, inexpensive insurance and no emissions testing, New Brunswick becomes one of the most budget-friendly provinces for used car buying in Canada.

 

Tips for Finding the Best Car Price in Canada

Here are some tips to help you find the best possible deal on a car purchase in Canada:

 

Shop Around Within Provinces

Don’t just look at the first dealer you find – shop around within a cheap province to find the best prices. Dealerships frequently run sales and have inventory they are motivated to move. The more quotes you get, the better deal you can find.

 

Consider a Short Trip To Save Significantly

If there is a major price difference, consider traveling to a nearby province to buy your car. With thousands in potential savings, a short trip can be well worth it.

 

Calculate All Fees Before Finalizing

Make sure to account for all taxes, licensing fees, and additional dealer charges before settling on a car. Unexpected costs can ruin what looked like a good deal.

 

Conclusion

In summary, the most affordable provinces for car buying in Canada are Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and New Brunswick. These locations offer a combination of lower sales taxes, reasonable insurance rates, good availability of used vehicles and lower than average pricing that make securing an economical vehicle most achievable.

Focusing your search efforts in these provinces gives you the best chance of finding a great deal, whether you are looking at new or used vehicles. Quebec offers the lowest sales taxes, Saskatchewan and Alberta have no provincial sales tax at all, and New Brunswick boasts the lowest cost of living and insurance rates.

While there may be minor differences between specific cities, starting your search in one of these affordable provinces maximizes your chances of scoring the perfect car at a price you’ll love. Do your research, shop multiple dealers in these locations, and you’ll be driving away smiling in your economical new ride in no time.

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Questions About The Cheapest Car Buying Provinces

The cheapest province to buy a car in Canada is typically Quebec. According to data, average new and used car prices in Quebec are $55,660 and $45,975 respectively. This makes it cheaper than most other provinces. The next most affordable is New Brunswick.

 

 

The most affordable cities to buy a car in Canada are:

 

  1. Windsor, Ontario
  2. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  3. Trois-Rivières, Quebec
  4. Moncton, New Brunswick
  5. St. Catharines–Niagara, Ontario

 

These cities have lower average car prices compared to other major cities in Canada. Factors like lower sales tax, insurance rates, cost of living contribute to overall affordability.

Yes, it’s generally cheaper to buy a used car in Alberta compared to Ontario. This is mainly due to the lack of provincial sales tax (PST) in Alberta, which can add 8-10% to the price in Ontario. Additionally, registration fees and insurance rates also tend to be lower in Alberta. However, prices can vary between individual vehicles and dealers.

When buying a car in Quebec and registering it in another province, you may need to pay:

 

– Provincial/territorial sales tax in your home province

– Registration and license plate fees in your home province

– Safety and emissions testing fees

– Import taxes if bringing into a different country

 

Additionally, your insurance rates may be affected when registering an out-of-province vehicle. Check with providers on rate changes.

Tips when buying a used private sale car in Canada:

 

– Get a vehicle history report to check for accidents, liens, odometer rollbacks

– Take it to an independent mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection

– Test drive extensively and check all functions

– Ask for service records and ownership documentation

– Look up value ahead and negotiate fairly

– Only pay when title is signed over and in your possession

 

Take precautions as private sales don’t provide warranties or legal protections. Make sure to thoroughly inspect before purchase.

 

The best places to find cheap used cars for sale by owner in Canada include:

 

– Facebook Marketplace

– Kijiji and Craigslist classifieds

– Autotrader.ca

– Online car listing aggregators like CanadaDrives.ca

– Dealerships selling older trade-ins

– Auctions selling bank repossessions and fleet vehicles

– Community noticeboards and bulletin boards

 

When buying privately, take extra steps to validate condition, ownership and value before purchase.

Common extra fees when purchasing a vehicle in Canada include:

 

– Documentation fee: Can range $100-$1000

– Licensing and registration costs

– Provincial sales tax

– Safety and emissions testing fees

– Dealer conveyance and admin fees

– Wheel locks, etching, rust protection

– Extended warranty costs

– Interest charges if financing

 

These can all add substantial cost to the vehicle price. Know what fees apply for your situation and negotiate inclusions.

No, vehicle condition, quality and pricing can vary quite a bit across different provinces in Canada. Key factors that cause differences:

 

– Used car shortages in some regions leading to high prices

– Rust damage in provinces with harsh winters

– Km driven and wear and tear differences

– Provincial regulation differences

– Market demand and local economic conditions

 

Do research on issues for the region the car is coming from. Get a pre-purchase inspection before finalizing a transaction.

The most expensive province for car ownership is Nova Scotia with average annual costs around $12,000. The least expensive province is Prince Edward Island with total yearly costs approximately $7,500. Costs that affect this include:

 

– Insurance premiums

– Fuel costs

– Sales taxes

– Registration and licensing fees

– Regular maintenance

 

Atlantic provinces tend to have lower costs overall than the national average of $10,000 per year.

It is generally not recommended to buy a car as a tourist or foreign student visiting Canada temporarily. Some key considerations around this:

 

– Insurance costs will be extremely high for non-residents

– Complex import/export logistics getting the car out of Canada

– Shorter term stays may limit viability

– Language barriers/lack of local assistance

 

Instead consider rental cars, car sharing platforms, public transport based on length of Canadian stay.

Some makes and models of used vehicles commonly found under $5,000 in Canada include:

 

– Early 2000s sedans like Ford Focus, Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Corolla

– Older minivans such as Dodge Caravan, Pontiac Montana

– SUVs like Ford Escape, Jeep Liberty, Nissan Xterra

– Pickup trucks such as early 2000s F150, Dodge Dakota

– Luxury vehicles with high kms like BMW 3 series, Mercedes c class

 

When spending under $5k, aim for 1-2 owners, maintenance records, lower kms, no accidents reported.

 

Tips for first time auto buyers in Canada:

 

– Get pre-approved for financing to understand budget

– Research models, prices and costs thoroughly

– Consider fuel efficiency for saving long-term

– Inspect vehicle fully or take to trusted mechanic

– Understand all paperwork before signing

– Negotiate out-the-door price including all fees

– Add new driver to family insurance policy if possible

– Enroll in safety courses to lower insurance premiums

 

Take your time researching the process to avoid surprises or costly mistakes.

The main all-electric vehicle models available for under $50k MSRP in Canada include:

 

– Nissan Leaf and Leaf Plus

– Mini Cooper SE Electric

– Hyundai Kona Electric

– Kia Niro EV

– Mazda MX-30 EV

 

Many base trim EVs fall under $50k. Incentives can also reduce prices by $5k or more. Range and feature differences exist across models to consider.

It depends on your budget, needs and risk tolerance. Older cars often have lower purchase prices and slower depreciation. But more kms raises likelihood of requiring repairs. Newer cars with higher kms may still have factory warranty coverage but lose value quicker. Review maintenance history, inspection results and ownership costs before deciding.

Tips for ensuring fair used car pricing from Canadian dealers:

 

– Price compare same make/model/year/trim listings

– Leverage online price negotiation services

– Get quotes from multiple dealers on same vehicle

– Calculate fair value based on condition, features, kms

– Negotiate out-the-door price including all extra fees

– Walk away if price seems too high and search elsewhere

 

Knowing typical market value for the vehicle gives you bargaining power.

The provinces with the lowest or no sales tax on new car purchases are:

 

– Alberta: No provincial sales tax

– Saskatchewan: 6% sales tax

– Manitoba: 7% sales tax

– Ontario: 8% portion of 13% HST

– Quebec: 9.975% sales tax

 

This can make these provinces cheaper options for new car buying from a tax perspective.

Most dealers advertise competitive internet prices hoping to get customers in the door. But there is typically still room to negotiate further discounts off these prices including:

 

– Manufacturer incentives if qualifying

– Dealer rebates and holdbacks

– Extras like winter mats/tires thrown in

– Reductions in documentation fees

– Lower financing rates if using dealer financing

 

So yes, you can often negotiate additional savings off internet prices on new vehicles.

Avoid these unnecessary fees when purchasing a car in Canada:

 

– Added “protection” packages like rustproofing, fabric protection

– Extended car warranties from the dealer

– Credit insurance offered by the dealership

– Pre-delivery inspection fees (should be done already)

– Wheel locks that provide little extra security

 

These all add cost but provide little to no value. Decline them or negotiate removal to save money.

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