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Vancouver Ranked Most Unaffordable Housing Market in North America

Yes, that means it’s worse than Manhattan.
Photo via Flickr user JamesZ_Flickr

Vancouver has been ranked the most unaffordable housing market in North America—even beating out notoriously expensive locations such as Manhattan and San Francisco, according to research by Point2Homes real estate firm. When taking into account its low median family income compared to other Canadian cities, as Point2Home's calculations did, it's the most unaffordable Canadian city—and, apparently, the most unaffordable on the continent.


The chart below from Point2Homes below rates cities based on "median multiple." That means that ratings were calculated by dividing the median home price in a city by median household income. With Vancouver's glaring affordability gap, it's unsurprising why it would top this list.

That disparity in Vancouver was brought on in part by foreign real estate investment. In 2016, the BC provincial government enacted a 15 percent tax for foreign nationals buying real estate in an effort to address the issue. It's a move the other famously expensive Canadian city, Toronto, has also made.

For those of us who live in Toronto, though, this chart ranks the city surprisingly low for a place that has a housing crisis: number 13. (Hmm, guess it must be all the rich people here?) Even a rating of 13, though, according to Point2Homes, is considered "seriously and severely unaffordable."

The Globe and Mail, however, called Toronto the worst city in the country for housing affordability, based on newly released 2016 census data about how much of a household's income goes toward housing costs. Census data shows that a higher percentage of Torontonians spent over 30 percent of their household income on housing costs than people living in the Vancouver metropolitan area. That percentage difference is relatively small though, with Toronto at 33.4 and Vancouver at 32 percent.

Back in the Point2Homes study, the only other Canadian city that fell in the top 20 ranking of most unaffordable cities in North America was Mississauga, Ontario at number 14. Montreal ranked 31, Calgary ranked 32, and Ottawa came in at 39.