Looking for houses can be especially daunting if you're in a region that has high prices. Housing affordability in Canada is a big issue for people. Of course, some places aren't out of this world expensive, but Canada's biggest cities and regions are officially way too unaffordable.

A new study done by Zoocasa looked at 15 major urban centres in Canada and the affordability of those housing markets based on the median-income. Median-income is basically the middle of the pack when it comes to making money, so half the people earn more than that and half earn less. It turns out that based on all these numbers, a lot of major cities and the surrounding areas don't do well when it comes to having affordable real estate.

To figure out if these places are affordable for people who make a median income, Zoocasa looked at multiple factors like what mortgage you would qualify for in every region with that income, a three percent interest rate, annual property taxes and monthly heating costs for an average house in that region. 

Based on those factors, the 15 regions are sorted into a list organized by how much of a downpayment is required.

As of August 2019, the average price of a house in Canada was $627,400 and before tax, the average median income for a household was $70,336. With all the factors Zoocasa used in the calculations, on average it would take Canadians 25 years to save for a downpayment assuming people save 20 percent of their income.

That statistic changes drastically when looking into specific housing markets in Canada that have the highest housing costs. The four most expensive markets are in B.C. and Ontario. 

Victoria is the fourth most expensive with the average house cost at $693,000. There it would take a household making $70,283 just about 30 years to save for a downpayment. 

Next is the Greater Toronto Area in which an average house cost jumps to $802,400. The median income in the region is slightly higher than in Victoria at $78,373 but it would still take people longer to save for a downpayment, 32 years. 

The Fraser Valley region in B.C. is the second highest on the list with the average price of house being $823,300. But despite that higher price, the median-income is lower than the GTA and Victoria at just $69,289 which means saving for a downpayment would take 42 years. 

And at the top of the list is Greater Vancouver. The region's average price for a house is a whopping $993,300. Based on a median-income of $70,336, it would take people 52 years to save enough money for a downpayment.

When looking at the years needed to save for a downpayment, it would take people in Greater Vancouver 27 years more than the national average and 51 years more than the last six regions on the list. 

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax-Darmouth, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina people only need one year to save enough money for a downpayment. 

All of those regions have average house prices at or below $420,500 and median household incomes ranging from over $69,000 to just over $99,500. 

If you couldn't already tell, there's a significant gap when it comes to the costs of real estate in different provinces. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, August saw improved affordability in the Prairies and parts of Atlantic Canada. 

Unfortunately, it's not much better to rent either. New statistics show that some provinces are close to having completely unaffordable rent. 

So does this all mean that living in your parents' basement is going to become the new normal? Only time will tell. 


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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