Fort McMurray most affordable housing market in Alberta; Canmore least: study

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The top five least affordable housing markets in Alberta are Canmore, Camrose, Calgary, Okotoks and Edmonton, according to research done by national real estate company Zoocasa.

It calculated the home price-to-income ratio in each major Alberta market and compared it to the median single- and dual-or-more household income earned in that region.

“The home price-to-income ratio is a basic affordability measure showing how many times the cost of a home is to your total household income; a higher ratio indicates a longer timeline is needed to pay off a home,” Zoocasa managing editor Penelope Graham said.

“A rule of thumb from personal finance experts is your price-to-income ratio should be no higher than three.”

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In Fort McMurray, the average home costs $439,664. The median dual income is $221,425 while the median single income is $106,912, making the price-to-income ratios 2:1 and 4.1:1, respectively.

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That ratio makes the northern Alberta oil community the most affordable housing market in the entire province, according to the Zoocasa study.

Top 5 Most Affordable Housing Markets in Alberta:

  1. Fort McMurray ($439,664, Dual: 2, Single: 4.1)
  2. Cold Lake ($281,231, Dual: 2, Single 4.1)
  3. Grande Prairie ($319,084, Dual: 2.6, Single: 5.6)
  4. Fort Saskatchewan ($368,921, Dual 2.7, Single 6.1)
  5. Airdrie ($359,148, Dual: 3, Single: 6.2)

“The findings reveal that for households with more than one income, there are a number of viable options across the province; 13 Alberta cities boast a ratio of three or below, with an additional nine on the cusp, measuring between three and four.”

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“However, for those earning a single-household income, purchasing a home in Alberta is a much greater challenge, as not a single market falls within the recommended realm of affordability.”

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Canmore, a town in the Rocky Mountains just west of Calgary, tops the list on the other end of the spectrum as the least affordable housing market in Alberta.

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Canmore has an average home price of $676,093. The median dual income is $116,975 while the median single income is $52,224, making the price-to-income ratios 5.8:1 and 12.9:1, respectively.

READ MORE: Affordable housing plan sparks backlash in Canmore

5 Least Affordable Housing Markets in Alberta:

  1. Canmore ($676,093, Dual: 5.8, Single: 12.9)
  2. Camrose ($337,143, Dual: 3.5, Single: 9.3)
  3. Calgary ($479,266, Dual: 4.1, Single: 9.1)
  4. Okotoks ($441,597, Dual: 3.4, Single: 8.3)
  5. Edmonton ($382,849, Dual: 3.4, Single 7.8)

“We think these results are generally in line with our expectations for the region,” Graham said in an email to Global News.

“We are not surprised that Alberta markets, including major urban centres like Calgary and Edmonton, are relatively more affordable than some of Canada’s most expensive real estate markets like Toronto and Vancouver.”

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Watch: Looking to buy a home away from home in Alberta? It will cost you

She said the main difference between the Alberta markets and markets in other provinces is that Alberta has considerably more affordable cities.

In B.C., there are only two cities that are close to being affordable for two-or-more-person households, at a home-price-to-income of 4. The least affordable city of Vancouver has a ratio of 14.

In Ontario, there are also only two cities with home-price-to-income ratios of 3 or under for two-or-more-person households. The least affordable city of Toronto has a ratio of 9 based on a report we released in May 2018 using April 2018 home price data,” Graham explained.

“In Alberta, with the exception of Canmore, Calgary, Chestermere, all cities are close to the range of 3 for two-or-more-person households.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s a buyer’s market’: Edmonton Real Estate Association

Zoocasa said the median one-person household and two-or-more person household incomes for each city were sourced from Statistics Canada. The average home prices for each city were sourced from the local real estate boards.

READ MORE: Calgary real estate market still suffering from anemic sales: CREB report

The study is based on aggregate data for markets as a whole that factor in a city’s most expensive markets along with its least, which can skew affordability higher.


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