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The Province newspaper today published info on the affordability of City of Vancouver real estate relative to average income.  Ranking only behind two cities – Sydney and Hong Hong – we seem to be quite unaffordable.  The numbers are presented as a ratio and an average Vancouver home costs 9.5% more than one makes.


The numbers represent only Vancouver, not the burbs, so affordability numbers are better over the bridges and through the tunnels. 


I’m guessing that wages aren’t getting a big bump anytime soon, so who wants to take a bet that by this time next year we make unaffordability a true factor of 10?


Read on, courtesy of The Province.


House poor in Vancouver

At 9.5 times median income, it's the least affordable city in Canada

The dream of owning a home in Metro Vancouver is getting more elusive as housing prices in the city outpace income growth, making it one of the world's least affordable markets, an international survey shows.


The annual International Housing Affordability Survey, released Tuesday, compared home prices and household income in 325 cities in Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Britain and the U.S.


The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, which compiled the data, said Vancouver is Canada's least-affordable metropolitan area. Its average home costs $602,000 -- or 9.5 times the $63,100 median income.


The only global cities that fared worse than Vancouver were Sydney, Australia, at 9.6 times the median income, and Hong Kong, at 11.4 times.


Buying a home in the Asian financial hub -- synonymous with super-rich tycoons and gleaming office towers -- will cost an average of $330,939, out of reach for a population with a median annual income of less than $30,000.


"All bets are off there. None of the normal rules apply," said David Seymour, a public policy analyst with the Frontier Centre.


About 75 of the 325 cities analyzed were labelled "severely unaffordable," where housing costs more than five times the average income. Along with Vancouver, three other cities in B.C. -- Victoria, Abbotsford and Kelowna -- fell into that category.


The only two other "severely unaffordable" Canadian cities were Montreal and Toronto, where homes cost 5.2 and 5.1 times median income, respectively.


"There are a lot of people that tend to be squeezed out of the housing market," said Seymour. "Owning your own little patch of Canada is a dream for a lot of people that is getting tougher."


For a housing market to be rated "affordable," the ratio of price to income cannot exceed three to one, a level met by half of the 35 Canadian cities surveyed.


Overall, homes in Canada cost 4.6 times the average annual salary of just less than $43,000, but Seymour said variability across the country is tremendous.


"There really isn't a comparison between some cities," he said.


Some cities, such as Windsor, Ont., remain very affordable. The average price of a home in Windsor was $145,000, according to data from the third quarter of last year, just 2.1 times the average median income of $68,900.

And while Calgary and Edmonton continue to see rapid growth and soaring home prices, Saskatoon has overtaken the Alberta hubs in terms of housing affordability.


A home in Saskatoon now costs $277,000, which is about 4.3 times the average annual salary of $63,900. A home in Calgary will cost four times the annual median salary, while it is 3.5 times the median salary in Edmonton. Both those cities have high average annual salaries -- more than $80,000 a year in both -- that help to offset the high cost of housing.


Atlantic Canada is the most affordable market in the country, with housing costing 2.3 times the median income in Fredericton; 2.6 times in Charlottetown; 3.3 times in Halifax; and 3.4 times in St. John's.

© Copyright (c) The Province


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