We're #12!

March 2019

One of the most discussed Bayview articles over the years involved articles on our city’s ranking in the annual Demographia Home Affordability report. The survey takes a snapshot of the cities of the world that tracks the median household income vs. the median price of purchasing a home. When I first wrote about the report over 10 years ago (2007) we were ranked as the most affordable city in the world to buy a home. That’s right...the world!

The most recent release of the 2018 survey shows we have risen to the 12th most affordable in Canada.

On the surface being first is great because if you need a home (and we all do) it’s amazingly affordable, but it also says something troubling about the health of the local economy. As many of you recall, the period in the early 2000’s was one of the low points for our city and region with forestry taking the largest hit with the loss of many high paying industrial jobs. To further demonstrate the point, this year Rochester, New York is the top U.S. city for home affordability and if you’ve been there recently (I visited a few years ago) you can’t miss the big empty downtown building and deserted parking footprint where the Kodak Corporation’s world headquarters once stood. I recall a cold spooky feeling around the office tower where boarded up store fronts around the structure signaled the collateral damage to smaller businesses that fed the activity generated by what was the world’s largest film maker.

In Canada, the most affordable city is Moncton which is usually in the top 5 as it continually struggles with chronic unemployment (8.7% in January 2019).

To turn the tables the other way, Vancouver is the 3rd most unaffordable place to purchase a home in the world – behind Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong, China. Even if you were fortunate enough to get a job at say $200,000 per year in Vancouver, you’d likely have your hands full buying an average home with a price tag of $927,300. Based on a 25 year mortgage with 10% down at 4% interest you’d need to cough up a cool $4,390 per month plus expenses. While Thunder Bay’s home pricing may have edged up the unaffordability ladder in recent years likely due to a healthier more diversified economy, a more balanced ranking at #12 seems like something we can actually feel good about.

For a look at the full survey for 2018 go to demographia.com

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at wrightselladto@rogers.com

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