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Winnipeg’s housing affordability a ‘huge potential advantage’ in long run, says firm

Housing affordability in Winnipeg beats out most other large Canadian cities, say experts. Global News / File

In terms of housing affordability, Winnipeg is in the middle of the pack of North American cities, according to recent statistics from a demographic research firm.

Demographia’s international housing affordability survey – its 15th annual, in collaboration with the Winnipeg-based Frontier Centre – says the Manitoba capital is sitting pretty compared to other Canadian cities.

Consultant Wendell Cox told 680 CJOB Wednesday that housing affordability, for the purposes of the study, is measured by the ‘median multiple’ – calculated by the median house price divided by the median household income.

“Winnipeg is better than almost everywhere in Canada among major metropolitan areas,” said Cox.

“Edmonton is slightly better than Winnipeg at this point, but you’re slightly better than Calgary and you’re slightly better than Ottawa, while the other three (Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal) are in pretty bad shape.

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“Compared to the rest of North America, you’re in about the middle.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg expected housing increase in 2019 identified as a ‘win’

Cox said incomes in Winnipeg are about the same – or even slightly higher – than those in Vancouver, but house prices in the B.C. city are more than three times those in Winnipeg.

“Detached houses in Vancouver reached a level of $1.8 million two years ago,” he said.

“We’re talking about houses of 1,500 square feet – houses that most people in Winnipeg would want to move a little higher than. It’s a real problem.

“Winnipeg is at a median multiple of about 3.7. While it’s a little high, about 50 per cent higher than the first time we looked it at, it’s certainly a whole lot better than Vancouver and Toronto, and in the long run, I think for the Winnipeg metropolitan area, this creates a huge potential advantage.”

Cox said the most affordable housing in Canada is in Cape Breton, N.S., which beat out more than 300 municipalities around the world.

WATCH: Winnipeg’s housing market continues downward slide at 12 per cent in September

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg’s housing market continues downward slide at 12 per cent in September' Winnipeg’s housing market continues downward slide at 12 per cent in September
Winnipeg’s housing market continues downward slide at 12 per cent in September – Oct 11, 2018

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