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While homeownership might seem unattainable for many in Toronto and Vancouver, an annual salary of just $26,300 is enough to get you a rowhouse in Calgary’s housing market.

And households earning a median dual income of $115,403 can afford any type of housing priced at the Calgary benchmark, in almost any neighbourhood, according to a new report by Zoocasa.

“In contrast, that’s not the case in the Toronto or Vancouver markets. There are parts of the markets here where even if you have a dual income, you’re still well priced out of the detached and the semi-detached market,” Penelope Graham, Managing Editor at Zoocasa, tells Livabl.

In the report, the real estate search site and brokerage calculates the minimum income required to buy a home at the benchmark price in Calgary’s eight main districts. The calculation is based on a 20 per cent down payment and accounts for property taxes, but does not include utilities or condo fees. The data used is from Canada’s 2016 census and the Calgary Real Estate Board’s (CREB) June 2018 market report.

In June, the city-wide benchmark price of a home in Calgary was $436,500 — a significant difference from the average price of a home in Toronto, which hit $1,033,574 last month, according to the city’s real estate board.

Unlike Toronto and Vancouver, one-person households earning a median income of $53,342 can also afford most property types throughout Calgary.

[T]hey’re not just limited to condos, people who are earning the single median income do have access to row houses and semi-detached homes in some of the more affordable parts of the city. It’s really quite a stark difference in what your typical individual can afford,” says Graham.

Even an individual earning the minimum wage of $26,327 annually in Calgary can afford a rowhouse in the city’s eastern neighbourhoods.

“If you make less than $50k, you can still afford a semi-detached, you still have the option of purchasing a rowhouse in each of the quadrants and you can still afford the benchmark condo in any district. If you’re making under $50k you still have the ability to be a property owner and that’s certainly not the case in Canada’s largest markets,” says Graham.

While there’s a significant gap between the price of a detached home in Toronto and Calgary, Graham notes that there’s also a notable price disparity between the cities’ most affordable housing type, condos.

In June, the average price of a condo in Toronto was just over $600,00 while it was $259,100 in Calgary —  close to a $350,000 difference.

“Both at the lower end and at the higher end of the market you’re looking at almost double the housing costs and the carrying costs to own the same type of real estate in either city,” says Graham.

With a salary of $27,915, homebuyers can purchase a condo in Calgary’s east end at a benchmark price of $182,800.

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