Photo: Anson Chappell/Flickr
Affording a home in some of Canada’s major housing markets can take what seems like a herculean effort, even for households with two typical incomes.
Study after study highlights how long it takes households to scrape together a downpayment in markets like Toronto and Vancouver (spoiler, it’s 102 months for the former and 340 months in the latter).
So what chance does a single person have?
Housing Market News Alerts
Sign up now for news alerts on the Canadian housing market
Well, a new study suggests that these homebuyers still have lots of affordable options — that is, if they are willing and able to look outside Ontario and BC.
Canadian real estate company Zoocasa recently crunched the numbers and found 10 cities where the median income for a person living alone surpasses what is required to purchase an average-priced home. That works out to half the markets Zoocasa studied overall.
Thing is, these havens of affordability are almost exclusively located in Atlantic and Western Canada.
Zoocasa assumes buyers will cough up a downpayment of 20 percent and sign on for a 30-year mortgage at an interest rate of 3.29 percent.
Based on those calculations and sorted by lowest home price, Saint John was most within reach for a party of one. There, a homebuyer would need to have a minimum income of $24,769, whereas the median income for a single earner is $42,807 — quite the spread. The benchmark Saint John home price was $181,576 in December.
For those uninterested in the sleepier Maritime markets or Western Canada, where low oil prices have crushed job prospects, there is one option in Canada’s most populous province that met some of the affordability criteria.
For both single workers in the 35-to-44 and 45-to-54 age groups, the minimum annual pay for homeownership is less than the median income by thousands.
The case for relocating out of province may be most convincing for singles in Vancouver, BC. With an average home price of $1,019,600, a person would need an income of $139,082 to snap up a home — but median-earning singles only earn $50,721, and that’s roughly consistent across all age groups.
In fact, it’s tough to find a more unaffordable market period, at least according to one recent study, which pegged it as the second least affordable market in the world, behind Hong Kong.