International housing report describes Vancouver market as severely unaffordable

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      Once again, a U.S.-based organization has put Vancouver near the bottom of its list of most affordable cities for housing.

      The 13th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has ranked B.C.'s largest city as the third least affordable, only ahead of Hong Kong, which ranked worst, and Sydney, Australia.

      The survey compares median annual household incomes to median home prices in 406 cities.

      Vancouver's median home price of $830,100 is 11.8 times the median annual household income of $70,500, putting this city into the "severely unaffordable" category.

      B.C.'s capital city of Victoria is the second least affordable Canadian city in the rankings. Its median housing price of $542,400 is 8.1 times the median annual household income of $67,300.

      Toronto fares slightly better with a multiple of 7.7.

      Media reports often describe Demographia's research as a survey of the world's cities, but it covers metropolitan areas in only nine countries.

      Cities with expensive housing costs relative to annual household incomes—such as Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Beijing—are not included in the list.

      The lead author of the report, Wendell Cox, has long been a critic of B.C.'s Agricultural Land Reserve, claiming that it is a major factor behind higher housing prices in Metro Vancouver.

      In the past, Demographia has come under fire for not taking transportation costs or a country's interest rates into account in its research.

      "A cheap house is not truly affordable if located in an area with high transportation costs, and conversely, households can afford to spend more on housing in an accessible, multi-modal neighborhood where it is possible to reduce vehicle expenses," the Planetizen website stated in a damning 2015 analysis of Demographia's methodology.