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Hamilton still one of the least affordable housing markets in North America, according to study

A photo of Hamilton, Ontario's skyline in August of 2021. Global News

Hamilton is still one of the top five least affordable housing markets in North America, according to the latest numbers from a noted economic forecaster.

Oxford Economics North America Housing Affordability Indices (HAIs), which measures home prices relative to a median household income, says Hamilton’s index was up slightly from 1.5 in the first quarter 2021 report to 1.51 in the latest study published in October.

Read more: COVID-19-hit sectors led Canada’s GDP growth in August

The city’s ranking actually dropped from third to fifth as Boise, Idaho and Portland, Ore., surged past a number of Canadian and U.S. cities to rank number two and four, respectively, on the list, comparing Q1 with Q2.

Oxford Economics/Haver Analytics
Oxford Economics/Haver Analytics. Oxford Economics/Haver Analytics

“Our latest assessment indicates that housing continues to be more affordable in the US than Canada,” the report said.

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“Our forecasts – constructed using data from our North American Metro Service – anticipate affordability will worsen more quickly in Canada than the US, largely reflecting higher Canadian mortgage rates.”

Hamilton’s index is still above Canada’s average, which also rose ever so slightly quarter over quarter from 1.34 to 1.35.

Conrad Zurini, a broker of record at RE/MAX Escarpment Realty says Hamilton’s increasing numbers are simply due to a lack of supply.

The two levels of government, municipal and provincial, have fallen asleep at the wheel,” according to Zurini.

“We’re 30,000 units in Ontario alone short for household creation. So there’s a hundred thousand households created every year in Ontario, and we’re only creating about something like 65,000 units. So that’s the problem, Zurini told Global News.

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Hamilton MP Filomena Tassi says she’s not surprised with by city’s housing affordability numbers and insists the matter is a top priority for local Liberals.

“I’m going to continue to build on this, affordable housing is a top priority,” Tassi told Global News.

Read more: Interest rates are headed up. What it means for variable and fixed mortgage rates

“We have to make these investments and we have to get it right.”

The new minister of public services and procurement hopes forth coming investments like the recent rapid housing initiative, and opportunities with LRT construction will help expand the city’s affordability via new supply.

There are four Canadian cities in the top 10 least affordable, Vancouver at number one, Toronto at two and Ottawa at nine.

The six U.S. cities in order of least affordable are Boise, Portland, Las Vegas, San Jose, Los Angeles and Tampa.

Oxford Economics / Haver Analytics
Oxford Economics / Haver Analytics. Oxford Economics / Haver Analytics

“Higher mortgage rates and home prices more than offset stronger household incomes – a trend that will persist next year,” the study said.

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“Metro areas along the Pacific coast, particularly in California, remain the least affordable, with affordability declining sharply in Los Angeles and San Jose where prices were 45 per cent higher than what the median income household could afford.”

The Canadian prairies continued to fare better than many with Calgary’s index dropping a couple of percentage points to 0.76, Edmonton holding at 0.67 and Winnipeg relatively flat at 0.68.

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