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Toronto, Vancouver Condos Now Only For Top Earners: Report

MONTREAL — If you need any further proof that big-city housing prices are out of control and a whole generation of Canadians risks being shut out of home ownership, look no further than a new report from real estate site Zoocasa.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Real Estate Association, Zoocasa calculated that you would need to be in the top 10 per cent of Toronto's earners to afford a detached home at the benchmark price of $873,100.

In Vancouver, only the top 2.5 per cent of earners can afford a benchmark single-family home, at $1.441 million.

But that's okay, because there are still condos, right? Well, for some of us. Zoocasa's data shows you would need to be in the top 25 per cent of earners in both Toronto and Vancouver to afford a typical condo in those cities ($656,900 and $522,300, respectively).

Given that, in both cities, about half of residents own their own home today, the data implies that the home ownership rate in these cities could fall by half over the coming years, if nothing changes.

"This illustrates just how elite a level of income you need to purchase a benchmark home in these cities," said Penelope Graham, managing editor at Zoocasa.

"It really highlights that house prices have not kept pace with incomes in these cities."

But she notes that the situation may not be as bad as the statistics suggest. Zoocasa's study compared incomes against the benchmark price, and in most markets you can find properties below that price level, Graham said.

Still, like many other market experts, Graham believes renting will be the future for many would-be homeowners, so long as incomes lag house prices. She says buyers are stuck in a "cycle of unaffordability" as house prices rise faster than they can save for a down payment.

"That is going to put pressure on the rental market, which has been playing out in the Toronto and Vancouver markets," Graham told HuffPost Canada.

Statistics Canada's rental housing measure has been rising at the fastest pace in decades recently, though data from rental sites suggests things may have cooled off in the past month.

Affordable homes are available ... if you travel

Notably, there are many markets where housing remains very affordable, Graham noted. In Regina, for instance, the top 75 per cent of earners can afford a detached home.

In some of the metro areas of southern Ontario, not far from Toronto, prices have risen but affordability remains relatively reasonable, Zoocasa's data showed. You need to be in the top 25 per cent of earners to buy a detached home in Hamilton or Kitchener-Waterloo, and being in the top 50 per cent will get you a benchmark condo.

"We're seeing spillover effects into these markets because there are affordable options there," Graham said, particularly for those with the flexibility to work from home or commute long distances.

"There are options for those who are trying to get on the property ladder."

Daniel Tencer,The Huffington Post

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