RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report 2020

19 February 2020
REMAX Realtron Realty Inc

Housing Affordability in Canada: 75% of Regions “Undervalued”

Despite housing affordability, many buyers being priced out of the market

  • 62 per cent of brokers surveyed in major Canadian cities are seeing buyers priced out of their market; however, 75 per cent of brokers agree that their market is undervalued
  • Based on average household income rates and monthly percentage allocated to housing, Canadians can afford homes

Despite the commonly held notion that housing in Canada is unaffordable, a majority of Canada’s largest cities (75 per cent) are currently undervalued, according to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report.

The latest RE/MAX report examines a variety of housing affordability factors and how they impact Canadians’ ability to buy, particularly first-time buyers.

“Despite the many challenges that continue to plague Canadians when it comes to the prospect of home ownership, such as record debt loads, there is promising opportunity across the country to enter the market,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “That said, the national housing market still has challenges to overcome, especially in centres like Toronto where demand is far outstripping supply, pushing prices up considerably as a result. We need to continue to push for an increase in housing supply for buyers and renters, but we have yet to see a comprehensive national housing strategy to help facilitate this shift.”

A Leger survey conducted on behalf of RE/MAX reveals that surprisingly, only 38 per cent of Canadians claim that the high price of real estate is one of the biggest obstacles preventing them from buying a home. Also on their list was an insufficient salary level preventing them from saving for a down payment (26 per cent) and a fear of rising interest rates (17 per cent). Meanwhile, the majority of RE/MAX brokers (56 per cent) claim that low or shrinking inventory is a more common factor.

Emerging trends like co-ownership with friends and family have become common in hot markets such as Vancouver and Toronto, in order to overcome the hurdle of high housing prices. In regions such as Brampton, Edmonton and Ottawa, sharing a single-family home between two families, dividing the floors between them, or children seeking financial support from parents for down payments are becoming more common practices.

Of the regions surveyed, Winnipeg, Regina and Halifax are currently the most affordable markets, with average sales prices of $281,105, $301,473 and $319,071 respectively. Vancouver, Toronto and Mississauga are currently the least affordable regions in Canada, with average sales prices of $1,195,923, $883,520 and $760,005 respectively.

All levels of government must work together to find a solution to Canada’s inventory issue, as the market will remain elusive for many otherwise,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “In the interim, working with experienced, professional agents can provide insight into creative and effective ways to navigate the current housing landscape.