Monday, January 28, 2008

Where are the Most & Least Affordable Places to Live in Canada?


This has nothing to do with consumer technology, but somehow information on a study about affordable housing around the world ended up in my e-mail inbox, and I thought I'd give it a read. It turned out to be quite interesting, noting that 13 Canadian cities were among the most affordable to live in the world. Even more interesting, however, was that a few cities in our home and native land were named the least affordable to live in terms of housing. Needless to say, this piqued my interest, as I gather it might yours.

First, let's take a look at the most affordable Canadian spots. These include (in order of most affordable): Thunder Bay, ON; Saguenay, QC; Saint John, NB; St. John's, NF; Regina, SK; Windsor, ON; Quebec, QC; Troi-Rivieres, QC; Winnipeg, MB; Sudbury, ON; London, ON; Oshawa, ON; and Ottawa, ON. Most of these don't surprise me, although I am surprised not to see cities within Nova Scotia, which I had always believed to be a very affordable province, on the list. (Digging deeper, it looks as though Nova Scotia might have just missed the cut).

Now, what about the least affordable cities to live in Canada? According to the study, which was conducted by Wendell Cox, a consultant and Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, and Hugh Pavletich, a New Zealand property investment manager, they're all in British Columbia! Kelowna has the top-priced Canadian housing market, followed by Vancouver, and then Victoria.

Worldwide, Los Angeles took the cake for the most expensive housing market. In fact, four of the top five least affordable housing markets around the world were located in California. Other places in the world with unattractive housing prices included Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. In all, 227 cities from Canada, the U.S., Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the U.K. were included in the study.

Although specifics weren't provided, the study also reported that eight additional Canadian cities were pegged to be "moderately unaffordable", and three labeled as "seriously unaffordable". (The BC markets were actually on the list of the "severely unaffordable!") As for Toronto residents, contrary to the beliefs of many, it looks like Toronto is actually on the lower end of the scale.

Of course, the question on reader's minds is probably: how was this data determined? The index was created by taking the median household income and the median price of a home in urban areas of each city, along with the number of years it would take to purchase said house. It can be argued that the numbers might be slightly skewed by several factors: the number of urban areas in in each city, for example; or the number of citizens on the extreme low or high ends of the income scale are both factors that could impact the median number. Nevertheless, the study provides some interesting insight into the Canadian housing market.

1 comment:

MP said...

Very interesting, I thought that Ottawa would be in the higher end, just because it is the captial city. And as for NB - well I can tell you why, who the heck would want to live htere anyway.