$500K can buy you a lot or a little space in Canada: report

Average national home price will not buy three bedrooms in half of Canada’s 50 largest cities.

Canada is a massive country boasting cultures and citizens from all over the world – and it is also a a country boasting vast differences in real estate prices.

From a 4+ bedroom home to a one-bedroom apartment, $500,000 can buy you a lot or a little in our great country.

With that in mind, Point2 Homes set out to find out just how much $500k buys you in Canada and they found that it will not buy a three-bedroom home in half of Canada’s largest cities.

The Point2 researchers took the national average home price, which sits at about $500K, as a reference point and analyzed the country’s 50 largest cities to determine the number of bedrooms it can buy in each.

At the nationwide level, the Canadian average home price of $495,100 buys 3.3 bedrooms, however, in almost half of the country’s 50 largest cities, this price tag secures less than three bedrooms.

Moreover, the six priciest real estate markets in Canada don’t even guarantee two bedrooms for that amount of money.

In fact, nearly 20 of Canada’s 50 largest cities sport home prices at more than $700,000, with five cities’ averaging above the $1 million mark.

And, as expected, Vancouver tops the charts as the place with the least available space, offering only one bedroom for about $500K.

On the other end of the scale, Windsor, Ontario has a bounty of 4+ bedroom homes for that same price.

Researches found that Ontario provided the widest ranging options, from 1.9 bedrooms in Vaughan to 4.3 in Windsor, while Atlantic Canada and the Prairie Provinces are the most buyer-friendly markets, boasting affordable prices and plenty of space.

As houses are becoming increasingly unaffordable, more and more Canadians are looking at condos instead of single-family homes.

The accelerated price growth, paired with boomers’ downsizing and millennials’ preference for 24/7 urban living, has contributed to a significant shift in home building trends.

Point2 states that two out of three new homes built today are multifamily properties – by comparison, fewer than half of new developments were condos in the mid-2000s.

This shift means that multifamily buildings are now the new norm in cities and developers are making efforts not to compromise on space and comfort, while also transitioning towards stacked living.

So, which are the markets that stand out when it comes to how much space the national home price of $495,100, can secure?

Vancouver continues to redefine scarcity

The national average home price buys one bedroom in Vancouver, with just one per cent of Vancouver listing inventory sitting around the national price point.

  • Population: 631,486
  • Density: 5,492.6 people/km2
  • Median Household Income: $65,327
  • Local Home Price: $1,480,712

In Vancouver, the local home price reached $1,480,712, meaning the national average price will buy just one bedroom. One bedroom in trendy Vancouver might sound like a fantastic idea to many young professionals; however, the market is far from being so simple. Location and amenities play a major factor in pricing, not to mention that few homes are available for the average national price.

It’s also worth noting that in a thoroughly unaffordable market such as Vancouver, $495,100 will most likely buy one bedroom that is part of a larger condo or home, meaning buyers need to spend significantly more to own a full residence, be that a detached house or a condo.

Nearby cities, Burnaby and Richmond also put a premium on space.

The national average home price buys 1.6 bedrooms in Burnaby, with just three per cent of Burnaby listing inventory around the national price point

  • Population: 232,755
  • Density: 2,568.7 people/km2
  • Median Household Income: $64,737
  • Local Home Price: $1,132,570

The national average home price buys 1.6 bedrooms in Richmond with just four per cent of Richmond listing inventory around the national price point

  • Population: 198,309
  • Density: 1,534.1 people/km2
  • Median Household Income: $65,241
  • Local Home Price: $1,037,400

Following Vancouver, British Columbia’s two most expensive markets are Burnaby and Richmond, with local home prices above $1 million.

Although potential home buyers in these cities are looking at slightly more space, it still doesn’t mean the national average price affords them two bedrooms.

In both Burnaby and Richmond, $495,100 will buy only 1.6 bedrooms on average. Furthermore, options are very limited, with only a handful of listings available around this price point.

According to new numbers from the Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released yesterday, housing prices in B.C. continue to rise across the board.

The year-over-year aggregate home price jumped in Langley, Kelowna, Victoria and Vancouver, with Langley seeing the biggest change.

  • Langley’s aggregate home price up 21 per cent from $804,526 to $975,360
  • Kelowna’s aggregate home price up 5.4 per cent from $591,973 to $623,706
  • Victoria’s aggregate home price up 5.3 per cent from $626,754 to $659,685
  • Vancouver’s aggregate home price up up 2.4 per cent from $1,383,518 to $1,416,729

The rest of the country is not quite so hot.

Often considered the “centre of Canada”, Toronto is slightly more affordable than Vancouver, but not by much.

The national average home price buys 2.1 bedrooms in Toronto with six per cent of Toronto listing inventory around the national price point

  • Population: 2,731,571
  • Density: 4,334.4 people/km2
  • Median Household Income: $65,829
  • Local Home Price: $865,817

The city’s popularity, paired with its economy and lifestyle diversity, mean that buyers can afford only two bedrooms here.

Toronto’s condo boom is also a major factor in the lower number of bedrooms that buyers can score here.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, November 2017 saw a whopping 141 per cent year-over-year increase in condo starts.

In fact, Toronto currently ranks as the national leader in new condo construction, with more than 13,000 out of the city’s 15,112 new home starts being condo units.

Just over the B.C. border, homeowners get far more options in Calgary.

Researchers found that the national average home price buys 3.3 bedrooms in Calgary, with seven per cent of Calgary listing inventory around the national price point

  • Population: 1,239,220
  • Density: 1,501.1 people/km2
  • Median Household Income: $97,334
  • Local Home Price: $478,596

In Calgary, buyers can enjoy 3.3 bedrooms, as well as a wealth of options, with more than 300 properties on the market for that price point.

However, those interested in the extra elbow room will have to sacrifice the range of lifestyle options.

At the other end of the country, homebuyers get a lot more bang for their buck.

Halifax offers spacious beach-side living as the national average home price buys 3.6 bedrooms in Halifax, with five per cent of listing inventory around the national price point

  • Population: 403,131
  • Density: 73.4 people/km2
  • Median Household Income: $69,553
  • Local Home Price: $315,365

For buyers looking to live close to the ocean but priced out of the West Coast’s sky-high urban markets, Atlantic Canada may be the solution.

In St. John’s, NL, $495,100 equals 3.7 bedrooms, while Halifax, NS offers nearly as much space – 3.6 bedrooms.

Halifax’s housing affordability, employment options, level of education and life satisfaction make it a top spot for Millennial buyers, ranking the home of Dalhousie University as the fourth most popular hot spot for this generation.

In fact, Halifax now sports its own little Brooklyn – the once gritty neighbourhood of Dartmouth is steadily gentrifying, with gourmet coffee shops and boutique stores popping up in places where, not too long ago, pawn shops and strip clubs where the main attractions.

Related: The priciest home for sale in Canada: A $38M Vancouver penthouse

Related: Greater Vancouver condo prices jump 18% in second quarter: report

To check out the full study click here.

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@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca


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