The Most Impossibly Unaffordable Cities in Canada, and Housing Starts Restart

This week’s top real estate stories.

By  Jared Lindzon | 2 minute read

Jun 21

Wahi's Week in Real Estate

Every Friday, Wahi brings you the most important real estate stories from the past week.

Renters are Giving Up  

Those who didn’t set sail before home prices picked up steam are pretty sure they’ve missed the boat. According to a new survey by Ipsos, 82% of non-owners in Canada are still not in a position to buy following the recent rate drop. In fact, 78% say owning a home is only for the rich, and 62% have given up entirely. Another recent survey by Borrowell also found that half of renters don’t think they have a strong enough credit score to buy, and while 63% are trying to improve their score, 51% don’t think they’ll ever own a home in Canada. 

“A global study called out two Canadian cities for being ‘impossibly unaffordable.'”

Canadians Aren’t Losing the Roof Over Their Heads  

Despite all the doom and gloom about affordability challenges, few Canadians are getting priced out of their homes. According to a new study by Wahi, just 11% of those who plan to sell in the next five years say they’re struggling with debt and financial strain. Instead, the majority plan to switch homes to better suit their lifestyle, with 37% of sellers looking to downsize, 25% looking to upsize, and another quarter looking to relocate. Furthermore, 70% of those looking to downsize are over the age of 55, while 94% of those looking to upsize are aged 18 to 54.

2024: The Spring that Never Sprung  

May proved to be another quiet month for the housing market, capping off an historically sleepy spring, but now we’re in for a wakeup call. According to a new report from the Canadian Real Estate Association, home sales dropped 0.6% between April and May, and prices declined by 0.2%, while the number of new listings edged up half a percent. Though the housing market has remained well below 10-year averages since rates began to rise in 2022, that trend is expected to reverse on the heels of this month’s rate cut, especially if it’s followed by more throughout the summer.   

Canada Tops Another Global List — Not the Good Kind  

Canadians love being honoured in global rankings, unless they’re about housing. Last week saw another one of those recognitions-we’d-rather-not-have, when a global study called out two Canadian cities for being “impossibly unaffordable.” Vancouver took the top spot in Canada and third among the 94 major markets — behind Sydney and Hong Kong — while Toronto ranked 11th least affordable overall. The study, which compared home prices to income, put Ottawa and Montreal in the “severely unaffordable category,” while Ottawa only ranked “seriously unaffordable,” making us miss the days when we only appeared on lists about health, reputation and quality of life

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Housing Starts are Starting Up Again  

Though not always the sexiest subject in real estate, housing starts help us gauge just how deep a hole Canada will dig its market into before building its way out. After two months of declines, the numbers finally moved in the right direction in May, up 10% over April, according to CMHC. Canada’s pace of new home construction is now at its highest in seven months, especially among multi-unit developments in urban areas, which increased 13% in May. There was a 106% increase in multi-unit construction in Montreal and a 47% jump in Toronto, while Vancouver experienced a 32% decline.

Jared Lindzon

Wahi Writer

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