Housing affordability in Saskatoon shows modest year-over-year improvement

I can’t imagine that it would come as much of a surprise to anyone that the cost of home ownership in Saskatoon has skyrocketed in recent years. According to the recently released “6th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey” owning a Saskatoon home priced at the median in Q3/2009 would have cost about 4.4 times the median household income, a sharp increase from 2.6 times median income we enjoyed in Q3/2006. Saskatoon saw one of the steepest declines in affordability between 2006 and 2008 placing us among the ranks of the “seriously unaffordable,” according to Demographia’s ranking system. On the brighter side, our city saw some small improvements from Q3/2008 when 4.6 years of income was required to buy that home.

The following chart shows the changes in affordability levels in some of Canada’s most active real estate markets over the past five surveys. Click the image for a larger view.

I was a bit surprised to see that affordability at a national level really hasn’t changed significantly in the past five years. Canada’s “median multiple” comes in at 3.7 years, up from the lows of 3.1 in Q3/2007 but just slightly higher than the 3.6 years in Q3/2005.

Vancouver "wins the gold medal"as the most severely unaffordable housing market in the world requiring 9.3 times to median household income, an increase of almost a year in just twelve months time.

See the entire Demographia survey for 2010 and past reports for 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.

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Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

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