7 of Canada's 10 Least Affordable Cities to Live are in BC

Victoria BC Canada

In a continuing trend, British Columbia is still the least affordable region in Canada to live, led by Vancouver and Victoria. Vancouver is also the second least affordable city among major international housing markets, trailing only Hong Kong.

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey considers affordability based on a "median multiple". The median is the middle point in a set of numbers: there are just as many values both above and below it. In this case, the median multiple is calculated by dividing the median house price by the median household income. Essentially, the number that results tells you how many times greater the cost of a house is than the household income. The survey regards a median multiple of 3 or less to be affordable.

Lowered Housing Affordability Spreading from Major Markets

Of the 10 least affordable cities in Canada, only Vancouver and Toronto are considered major markets (population greater than 2,000,000). Not only do those regions top the list – at 1 and 2, respectively – but their surrounding areas are listed as either seriously or severely unaffordable in the survey.

In these markets where housing prices are rising, middle-income home buyers are often limited in choice to semi-detached properties, town houses, or condominium units although most households would prefer detached or single family houses. Even when less expensive properties are purchased in either Vancouver or Toronto, it takes a significantly greater portion of the household's income than the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation affordability guideline of 30%.

Outside of those expensive BC and Ontario markets, the news is slightly better for Canadian home buyers. In the cities studied, property prices are much more affordable, with 8 Canadian regions falling within the range of affordable and another 18 regions only moderately unaffordable.

Wondering What You Can Afford?

If your plans include buying a home in 2020, the Auxilium Team is ready to help you figure out what you can afford. Give us a call at 250-590-6520 (toll-free 1-855-590-6520) to start the process and book your free consultation. Walk-ins are welcome at our 307 Goldstream Avenue location during regular business hours, and we can arrange appointments evenings and weekends to suit your schedule.


Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Canada for 2020

The top of the list has stayed mainly the same as last year, with the last few cities being different – and a tie for the last spot. The first 8 cities are all considered affordable according to the study's criteria, while each of the last 3 cities on the list are moderately unaffordable.

  1. Fort MacMurray, Alberta
  2. Fredericton, New Brunswick
  3. Saint John, New Brunswick
  4. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
  5. Moncton, New Brunswick
  6. Saguenay, Quebec
  7. Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
  8. Thunder Bay, Ontario
  9. North Bay, Ontario
  10. Red Deer, Alberta
  11. St. John's, Newfoundland

Top 10 Least Affordable Cities in Canada for 2020

This list has stayed practically the same as last year, with only a couple of regions switching their order. All remain severely unaffordable according to the study's criteria.

  1. Guelph, Ontario
  2. Kelowna, British Columbia
  3. Hamilton, Ontario
  4. Chilliwack, British Columbia
  5. Nanaimo, British Columbia
  6. Comox Valley, British Columbia
  7. Fraser Valley, British Columbia
  8. Victoria, British Columbia
  9. Toronto, Ontario
  10. Vancouver, British Columbia

Auxilium Mortgage Corporation is based in Victoria, BC and works with clients locally and across Canada. The Auxilium team has over 100 years of combined financial experience and access to dozens of lenders to help you meet your goals.