Calgary affordability deters property investors

“Calgary-area buyers enjoyed significantly lower home ownership costs as a share of income than they faced at the market peak in early 2007 and the bar fell even further in 2012,” said Craig Wright, RBC chief economist and co-author of the bank's latest housing affordability report. “In fact, it is the only major city in Canada where RBC measures are lower than their historical averages, suggesting that Calgary is one of the more affordable markets in the country.”

The bank's quarterly report suggests that the percentage of pre-tax household income needed to service the costs of owning a home in the Alberta capital shrunk in the last quarter.

That's owing to both wage increases but also relatively stable home prices, which have resisted the kind of rapid acceleration of other markets such as Toronto and Regina.

In Calgary, the average price of a detached bungalow in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $440,600 and RBC's affordability measure was 38.1 per cent. The average price for a standard two-storey home was $434,700 with a measure of 38.6 per cent and for a standard condominium the average price was $250,100 with a measure of 22.2 per cent.

Those figures don't bode well for vacancy rates, suggest some economists, pointing to an expected slowdown new job creation as the oild sector cools. That comes even as a growing number of current renters move to buy homes in an increasingly affordable market.

The RBC report is the latest data pointing to that trend.

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