A survey tracking global housing affordability shows Greater Victoria is the 16th most unaffordable housing market in eight major countries.
The 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey ranks Victoria in 294th place out of 309 housing markets in eight countries across Asia, North America and Europe in terms of affordability (as of the third quarter of 2019). Hong Kong is the least affordable and Vancouver the second-least affordable market.
The survey tracks middle-income housing affordability and ranks markets by the ‘Median Multiple,’ the median house price divided by the median household income. The higher the multiple, the greater the gap between the cost of housing and income. The survey considers housing affordable if the median multiple is three or less.
Looking at the big picture, the survey has found a “moderation” of house price increases in some of the least affordable major markets. “However, the trends were insufficient to materially improve housing affordability,” it reads.
Looking at Canada, its median multiple for 50 markets is 4.4 — or “seriously unaffordable.” By comparison, Greater Victoria’s median multiple is 8.1 (or “severely unaffordable”), a figure that makes the region more affordable than Greater London (15th) and Toronto (7th) among others but also more expensive than Honolulu. Notably, three other B.C. locals crack the Top 25 when it comes to unaffordability — the Fraser Valley (20th), Nanaimo (21st) and Comox Valley (22nd).
Vancouver’s median multiple is 11.9, while Hong Kong’s is 20.8.
The report finds that middle-income households “have been largely priced” out of the median price housing by spiraling cost increases across Australia, the United States and Canada.
As such, the report finds that escalating housing prices represent a direct threat to the historical trends that have created the so-called middle class across North America, Europe and parts of Asia.
“These higher housing costs are a threat to the middle-income lifestyle, because they reduce discretionary income and thus, the standard of living,” it reads.
One notable Canadian element found in the study concerns the list of the 10 most affordable markets.
They include three Canadian cities, led by Alberta’s Fort McMurray, with a median multiple of 1.8.
“Fort MacMurray has suffered serious economic disruption as a result of petroleum market developments and product transport shortages,” it reads. Two other Canadian markets also crack the Top 10, Fredericton, N.B. and Saint John, N.B.
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