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Vancouver still number one in unaffordable homes: RBC

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Summary

Housing affordability improved in the Vancouver area for the first time in almost three years: RBC

The bank's economists say the affordability of houses improved the most since the first quarter of 2009

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The slowdown of Vancouver home sales has helped affordability a bit, but we’re still the country’s costliest market by far.

Royal Bank research shows “Housing affordability improved in the Vancouver area for the first time in almost three years” during the fourth quarter of 2016. It says the slowdown in home resales that began last spring had a “cooling effect” on prices for single-detached homes by late in the year. The bank’s economists say the affordability of houses improved the most since the first quarter of 2009 when Canada was in a recession due to the financial crisis.

Nonetheless, RBC says it takes 84.8 per cent of the median household income to pay the costs of owning the average detached bungalow in Vancouver.

Condos are a different story, with RBC saying “No such affordability relief took place.” Its measure of condo affordability worsened slightly for the seventh quarter in a row. Condos costs are at 46.1 per cent of household income.

RBC also says there are signs that “affordability stress” is spreading to regions near Vancouver and Toronto, including Victoria which the bank says “has experienced booming demand in the past year which has propelled prices significantly higher,” pushing its afforability measure “well above its long-term average.”