Home prices continue to rise in this province

Those already invested in the Ontario real estate market can continue to take a deep sigh of relief – the province saw solid home price increases in the last quarter of 2014, according to a new report.

But those investors considering buying an income property in Ontario, and particularly in Toronto, should take note that housing affordability has eroded for the second straight quarter.

“We are watching Toronto pretty closely as it’s a market that time and time again shows deteriorating affordability – indicating that owning a home in the area, especially a single detached, is a stretch for many local homebuyers,” said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist at RBC, which published the report.

“While we’ve seen some improvements over the past couple of years, Vancouver still takes the top spot for the least affordable market in Canada.”

The latest Housing Trends and Affordability Report noted that, after showing surprising strength since the spring last year, resale activity experienced the steepest monthly decline in four and a half years at the end of 2014, with the number of homes changing hands falling between 5.6 per cent between November and December.

January 2015 brought more of the same with resales falling another 3.1 per cent. RBC indicates that this new bout of weakness can be largely attributed to the sharp drop in oil prices, which damaged confidence in oil-producing provinces.

Calgary became a buyers’ market in the fourth quarter following a prolonged period of nearly three years when sellers had the upper hand,” said Wright.

“Demand-supply conditions in most other local markets remained generally balanced with the exception of Vancouver, which stood out as a sellers’ market.”

RBC’s housing affordability measure for the benchmark detached bungalow in Canada’s largest cities in Q4 of 2014 is as follows:
  • Vancouver – 82.4 (down 1.2 percentage points from Q3).
  • Toronto – 56.8 (up 0.8 percentage points).
  • Montreal – 37.3 (unchanged).
  • Ottawa – 36.0 (up 0.2 percentage points).
  • Calgary – 33.7 (down 0.6 percentage points).
  • Edmonton – 33.5 (up 0.1 percentage points).
Find out more about median house prices, capital growth and demographics across Canada's cities and neighbourhoods with CREW’s free online Investment Hotspot tool.

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