Vancouver 108th (out of 108) in Canada when measuring household income vs the cost of buying a single family house
Posted in June's Kelowna Real Estate Blog on April 11, 2006
Victoria is only the 37th best place to live in Canada, according to a newly released study of 108 communities.
The analysis done for MoneySense magazine puts Victoria a third of the way down the livability list, sandwiched between the Ontario cities of Belleville and Tillsonburg.
Now, this may not seem an awful result if you live in the frozen bleakness of Fort Despair, Sask., or one of those outport Newfoundland towns where everyone shares the same DNA, but in Victoria, a city long used to topping the national smugness index, it's reason to call in the grief counsellors.
First place went to Leamington, Ont., a tomato-country town of 30,000, just south of Windsor. Second was the university city of Guelph, Ont., while third was Lloydminster, which straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. (Anyone who would rather winter in Lloydminster than Victoria, please raise your hand -- then use it to give your head a shake.)
The study built in such factors as family income, unemployment, economic diversity and home prices. Victoria scored well in several areas, was No. 10 in the proportion of people who walk to work, and was a leader, of course, when it came to weather (though rainy days cost the city a few points).
"The thing that really pulled Victoria down was home prices," said MoneySense editor Ian McGugan.
Victoria placed 107 out of 108, trailing only Vancouver, when measuring household income versus the cost of buying a single-family house. The 2001 census pegged Victoria's median household income at $59,015, while January's average house price was $519,000, according to the study. (Victoria Real Estate Board statistics actually put the figure at $479,164.)
Based on the numbers used by MoneySense, it takes 8.8 years of household income to buy a house in Victoria, more than everywhere but Vancouver, where it takes 12 years. Even in Toronto, which easterners think is unaffordable, it's just 5.8 years.
MoneySense wrestled with whether to treat high house costs as a positive or negative, McGugan said on the phone from Toronto. On one hand, wallet-wilting prices show people are willing to pay a premium to live in a place. On the other, they deter young families and are a barrier to employee recruitment.
The analysis included only quantifiable data. "You can't measure scenery, for instance," McGugan said, almost apologetically.
But what really hurts is that the MoneySense study came out a day after another quality-of-life survey ranked Vancouver third in the world, just behind Zurich and Geneva.
(prepared by Jack Knox/Victoria Times Colonist)
Over 22 years of experience on your side.