Metro Vancouver ranks as most expensive housing market in North America

Jul 27 2018, 4:51 am

A recent study has declared Metro Vancouver as having the most expensive housing market in North America beating out cities like Los Angeles, San Jose, and Toronto.

The study was performed by Professor Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

Yan has spent an extensive amount of time working on non-profit and private urban planning sectors with projects in Vancouver, San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.

His specialties lie within the fields of urban regeneration, applied demographics, geographic information systems, and neighbourhood development.

While it’s no surprise that a critically low housing supply in Vancouver has failed to meet an ever-growing demand, Yan’s study reveals a startling contrast in affordability not only in other Canadian cities but in cities across North America.

The two data sources from the study stemmed from median household incomes and median housing values from the 2016 Census from both Statistics Canada and the US Census Bureau.

The report comments that incomes and housing values were adjusted using the purchasing power parity of Canada and the United States to allow for a much closer comparison – regardless of exchange rate.

The study focused specifically on metropolitan areas in both Canada and the United States with total populations of over 500,000 residents.

While drawing comparisons between the highest median housing prices in North America, Vancouver clocked in at third on the list, being beat by San Jose and San Francisco and finishing closely with Honolulu.

Perhaps the greatest surprise comes when finding out where Vancouver ranks in terms of median household income. In a list of the top 51 metropolitan areas, Metro Vancouver ranks in at 50th with a median income of $72,662.

The biggest question when comparing incomes across North America is “why?”, says Yan.

In comparison to other metropolitan cities, Vancouver looks “quite healthy” in terms of job quality,” he explains, “but we have to look at the wages, the opportunity to move up, and mobility within the workplace. It’s surprising how low Vancouver salaries are.”

Other Canadian cities ranked far higher than Vancouver. Calgary and Edmonton revealed household incomes of over $90,000; cities like Toronto and Ottawa scored much closer to $80,000 as well.

The end result of his study, a “housing affordability index”, showed Vancouver to have an affordability ratio of 11 – meaning that the median housing in Vancouver is 11 times more than the average median income.

The number itself is quite alarming. Cities that ranked from spots two to five scored between 8.2 to 8.8 at most.

Vancouver’s affordability index scored twice as much as the national average, which was 4.9.

While the housing prices are a heavy toll on the younger generation, it’s even more difficult for those looking to start families.

Yan comments that the results aren’t just a question of demand and affordable housing, but it’s a question of economic development, transportation, and an interesting challenge for civic leaders.

See also
DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News
+ Real Estate
+ Vancouver Homes
+ Urbanized