It’s always nice when Toronto makes lists of the world’s cleanest cities, nicest cities, happiest cities. Less so when we’re landing ourselves on a list of the world’s most unaffordable. This week, consultant Demographia in its International Housing Affordability Survey ranked Toronto fifth after Hong Kong, Sydney, LA and London.
In relation to incomes, our home prices have doubled over the last 14 years. (It depends on your point of view whether this is good news or not, but our fair city rated worst for bubble risk; if they’re right about that, we may not have to worry about making the next unaffordable list.)
Along with Toronto, notable inclusions on the “unaffordable” list in Canada were Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, with Ottawa-Gatineau labelled “moderately unaffordable” but Edmonton named the most affordable city.
Aside from the majors, Moncton was the country’s most affordable market. Moncton, if you’re thinking about a lifestyle change, made another list recently, when the Bank of Montreal’s latest Regional Labour Market Report Card called it our most promising job market (It may surprise you to know that Oshawa came third).
In all, 46 Canadian cities made the list, where by contrast, Hong Kong was the only inclusion in China and in the UK, often cited as another overheated market and with nearly twice our population, made the list with only 33 unaffordable markets.
It’s not exactly news to those trying to get a foot on the property ladder here. The median total household income in Toronto in 2015 was about $66,000; the average home in the GTA sold for nearly $805,000 in April 2018. It doesn’t take a math whiz to see how unbridgeable that gap is.
It’s no better for renters. Last month, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario released “Where Will We Live? Ontario’s Affordable Rental Housing Crisis,” a report that says nearly half of Toronto renters are spending 30% or more of their incomes on rental costs, and that a tenant would have to make $24/hour to comfortably make their monthly rent.