Vancouver ranked second least affordable city in the world

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      Vancouver is used to being ranked near the top when it comes to those “most livable city” lists that come out every year—and yes, we’re all pretty damn smug about it. A recent report, however, places Vancouver at the bottom, behind San Francisco, Melbourne, London, and even Buffalo, New York.

      The 11th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey ranked real estate markets in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Out of 86 metropolitan markets, Vancouver was regarded the second least affordable city in the world after Hong Kong.

      To determine affordability, the survey compared median household incomes to median house prices. Markets that had a median multiple of 3.0 or under were deemed “affordable”; those between 3.1 and 4.0 were considered “moderately unaffordable”; those between 4.1 and 5.0 were “seriously unaffordable”; and those 5.1 and over were “severely unaffordable”.

      Guess where Vancouver’s median multiple landed?

      At 10.6, our city’s median multiple was second worst only to Hong Kong’s, which was an alarming multiple of 17.0—which the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey noted was the highest ever recorded in 11 years.

      In Vancouver, the median household income in 2014 was $66,400, whereas the median house price was $704,800.

      Elsewhere in Canada, Toronto recorded a median household income of $73,900 and median house price of $482,900, resulting in a median multiple of 6.5. Montreal’s median household income was $56,400 and median house price was $239,900, resulting in a median multiple of 4.3. Calgary was only slightly more affordable, with median household income of $94,700, median house price of $394,400, and median multiple of 4.2.

      So I bet you’re wondering which cities were ranked the most affordable?

      Metropolitan markets in the U.S. occupied the first 10 spots. At number one: Detroit, Michigan, which had a median household income of $52,900 and a median house price of $112,000, resulting in a median multiple of 2.1 in 2014. Rochester and Buffalo, New York occupied the second and third spots, while Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio came fourth and fifth.

      Here’s a list of the top-10 most affordable cities in the world (with minimum population of 1 million) and their median multiples

      1. Detroit 2.1
      2. Rochester 2.4
      3. Buffalo 2.6
      4. Cleveland 2.6
      5. Cincinnati 2.7
      6. Grand Rapids 2.7
      7. Pittsburgh 2.7
      8. Saint Louis 2.7
      9. Atlanta 2.9
      10. Indianapolis 2.9

      The 10 most affordable Canadian cities (all population sizes) and their median multiples

      1. Moncton, NB 2.2
      2. Fredericton, NB 2.5
      3. St. John, NB 2.5
      4. Windsor, ON 2.8
      5. Charlottetown, PEI 2.9
      6. Saguenay, QC 3.2
      7. Thunder Bay, ON 3.2
      8. Trois-Rivieres, QC 3.2
      9. Sudbury, ON 3.4
      10. Kingston, ON 3.5

      The 10 least affordable cities in the world (with minimum population of 1 million) and their median multiples

      1. Hong Kong, China 17.0
      2. Vancouver, Canada 10.6
      3. Sydney, Australia 9.8
      4. San Jose, California 9.2
      5. San Francisco, California 9.2
      6. Melbourne, Australia 8.7
      7. London, England 8.5
      8. San Diego, California 8.3
      9. Auckland, New Zealand 8.2
      10. Los Angeles, California 8.0

      The 10 least affordable Canadian cities (all population sizes) and their median multiples

      1. Vancouver, BC 10.6
      2. Victoria, BC 6.7
      3. Toronto, ON 6.5
      4. Kelowna, BC 6.4
      5. Abbotsford, BC 6.1
      6. Hamilton, ON 5.0
      7. Montreal, QC 4.3
      8. Peterborough, ON 4.2
      9. Kitchener, ON 4.2
      10. Calgary, AB 4.2

      Here's to our little slice of unaffordable paradise.



      Yet, we still have shitty weather and this is a No Fun City...

      Jan 22, 2015 at 2:14pm

      So many other popular city's in the world offer much better weather, economy and hell even fun things to do. What does Vancouver offer then just high overpriced housing prices?


      Jan 22, 2015 at 2:32pm

      then why are you here?


      Jan 22, 2015 at 2:45pm

      I would really like to draw the attention of those who think we can build our way out of this, that foreign money doesn't skew supply and demand. All this new densification is often called smart growth, new urbanism or sustainable development.. On the wikipedia page for smart growth it states:

      Related, but somewhat different, are the overarching goals of smart growth, and they include: making the community more competitive for new businesses, providing alternative places to shop, work, and play, creating a better "Sense of Place," providing jobs for residents, increasing property values, improving quality of life, expanding the tax base, preserving open space, controlling growth, and improving safety.

      Smart growth, sustainable development if you prefer increases property values. We have been putting it EVERYWHERE, especially since 2009. I'm quite certain they are aware of that effect and looking at Hong Kong should tell you all you need to know about the economics of supply and demand in speculative real estate markets.


      Jan 22, 2015 at 2:55pm

      I'm here because straight out of university, I got a job here. I took it because I needed a job. Then, I got promoted, but I still couldn't afford a home. Now, I am in a specialist position and it would be impossible to find similar work elsewhere. So I am trapped here until I can retire and get away from this unaffordable, sterile city.


      Jan 22, 2015 at 4:55pm

      Van is nice but over rated for housing costs. It doesn't compare to London, HK, NYC (all with 10x populations) but locals seem to think its a "world class" city. As someone that's lived in all 3 mentioned above and others, Vancouver simply does not compare. But I will say it's a nice small city. Too bad they focus on the green thing a bit too much, when they should be trying to be a tech hub. Not enough government support, they're too busy making more unused bike lanes.

      Vancouver is known for 3 things; real estate, money laundering & dope

      The first 2 often go together, and drive up the costs for people to buy affordable homes. Unless you live 90 minutes or so from downtown, you're unlikely to own a home. Even then its overpriced. Who wants to live in a shoe box apartment if you have kids?

      Higher cost of living for housing comes at a price - and that's quality of life. Either because you commute over an hour one way from your tiny home or you choose to live in a tiny overpriced apartment to avoid the commute, and not have much salary to do a lot of anything else.

      Like above commenter, also trapped.