2011 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

Note: For the 2012 Demographia International Survey click here

The 7th annual Demographia survey was released showing that housing affordability was little changed in 2010, with the most affordable markets being in the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand continue to experience pervasive unaffordability.

Here’s how the Canadian cities stacked up:


  • Windsor, ON  (2.1)
  • Fredericton, NB  (2.3)
  • Thunder Bay, ON (2.3)
  • Moncton, NB  (2.4)
  • Yellowknife, NWT  (2.4)
  • Charlottetown, PEI  (2.6)
  • Saint John, NB  (2.8)
  • Saguenay, QC  (3.0)
  • Trois-Rivieres, QC  (3.0)


  • Edmonton, AB  (3.5)
  • Ottawa-Gatineau, ON-QC  (3.6)
  • Calgary, AB  (4.0)

Calgary was rated as 4.6 in the 2010 survey while Edmonton was at 4.1


  • Toronto, ON  (5.1)
  • Montreal  (5.2)
  • Vancouver, BC (9.5)

Vancouver was supplanted as being the world’s least affordable housing market, falling two places behind Sydney (9.6) and Hong Kong (11.4)

Rankings (click to enlarge)

You can read the entire report here

18 responses to “2011 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

  1. Canada being one of the most affordable markets even though most of the major cities were rated as moderately or severly unaffordable haha…that kind of sums up the situation in the UK and Australia. I think Canada is definatelly still fairly unaffordable unless you see affordability as the ability of taking on a big mortgage.

  2. The median price in Calgary wasn’t that low! When was the last time it was at $355, 000??? The median price has been hovering around $400, 000, and highest in 2010 at $423, 000, which of course changes the affordability rate from around 4.5 to 4.7, which indicates Calgary is “seriously unaffordable.”

    Mike Fotiou says: Total MLS median for Calgary last year was $360,000 and the median total income was probably a little higher than the report referenced ($88,800). Stats Canada had the household median at $91,570 back in 2008.

  3. Not long ago Mike posted here the median housing price in Calgary to be $360,0000, at the same time I estimated the median income (to date) in Calgary to be around $96,000. Now if you do the math, you’ll get a 3.75 affordability rate, which places Calgary comfortable into the “moderateley unaffordable markets” category.
    Five years down the road if the median housing price in Calgary goes down %5 to 342,000 and the median income goes up roughly %2 per year to ~$105,000, you’ll get an affordability rate of 3.25.

  4. It’s nice to know that Calgary is “comfortable into the ‘moderately unaffordable markets’ catagory.” It’s just too bad that we are also very uncomfortably situated in the “seriously over-indebted consumer” category. As I have said before, if debts owed for homes were our only concern, I am sure we would weather the storm just fine. It’s all of the other debt on top of the mortgages that concerns me. In addition, there are a lot of well paying jobs that are directly tied to the housing industry. If housing and RE in general slows down significantly in Calgary, I have a hard time seeing average and median incomes rising.

  5. Spence can you provide any numbers for Calgary alone to back the “seriously over-indebted consumer category” statement? Or you’re just extrapolating national figures?

  6. That figure, $360, 000, must include condo sales as well. I thought it was only houses. That explains the average.

  7. The issue is not so much that housing is unaffordable – it’s that banks are letting consumers borrow obscene amounts of money! I have been out of the “I want a mortgage” scene for a while, but when I stick my DINK income in the ING mortgage calculator, my wife and I get approved for a home that’s 5.2x our family income based on a 25 year amortization.

    If we were to go with that (and spend nearly 50% of post-tax income in a mortgage) we would hardly have money left to set aside for a rainy day, let alone retirement. That’s the fundamental underlying issue that needs to be reigned in.

    I believe the underlying issue here is not that housing is necessarily unaffordable. In Calgary at least, where median income / median home price apparently is 3.75 , it’s pretty affordable indeed. The issue is that banks are out trying to tell people they can spend a certain amount on their home. If the government were really serious about reigning in the housing market, they would force CMHC to limit the amount of pre/post income that could be spent on housing.

  8. Wow , all I can say is I am underpaid if the median income is 88,000 LOL . Try 45,000 into the calculator.

  9. “Wow , all I can say is I am underpaid if the median income is 88,000 LOL . Try 45,000 into the calculator.”

    $88,000 is household income – $44,000 each person.

  10. January Day,
    Here are a couple of links. We lead the nation in consumer debt and bankrupties.


    “Most of Calgary’s losses stemmed from a plunge in the value of investments held by households, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. At the same time, Calgarians took on large liabilities in the past year, and Calgary is now the home of the most heavily indebted people in Canada. Albertans in general have 30 per cent more consumer debt than the average Canadian, the research shows. And the mortgage debt of many young people has soared.”


    In short, we have taken whatever advantage our high household income has given us and thrown it out the window. We are overleveraged on everything and house prices will continue to slide because of it.

  11. The validity of this survey is called into question. I was able to get a realtor to run the median price for Q3 in Regina. The report states that Regina had a median of 213k, but it was actually 260k. Now where one cities data is wrong, means there are most likely others as well.

    Mike Fotiou says: Norm Fisher, the agent that provided you with that info on his blog, is a great agent in Saskatoon if anyone is looking to buy there. 🙂

  12. Say that you’re single? Then what? How affordable is this then?

  13. Not every household has an income of $88K. Say that a single person, or single parent is looking to buy a place. They make an average of $44K. So that means $355K/ $44K= 8.06. Then they are in the Severely, Severely Unaffordable category. They should consider printing variables in order to have a more accurate, more wholistic picture of the housing market in Calgary. It’s only fair, right?

    Mike Fotiou says: Why wouldn’t the single person or single parent be looking at homes that would be more within their price range? The report is looking at median priced homes with median priced total incomes -that’s about as fair as you can get. If someone making $100k/ year was looking at condos in the $200k price range, does that mean condos are underpriced because they are overly affordable for them specifically?

  14. Thanks for the link Spence. I like this part:

    “Indeed, Albertans’ discretionary income was higher than anywhere else in the country, at $53,237 per household. That was 29-per-cent higher than second-place Ontario. ”
    One word I would like to add here: YEEHAW

    Alberta – discretionary income $53,237, net household debt $40,000
    Ontario – discretionary income $37,000, net household debt $37,000

    “The oil-rich province may have been hammered by the global recession, but households still have plenty of wealth. “Alberta’s got the spending power,” the researchers conclude.”

  15. LOL January Day,
    The article certainly does seem to be sucking and blowing at the same time. I admit that I never read the entire article, having only seen the portion that I quoted on another blog. After a more thorough reading, I have to second your “Whaaaaa?”

  16. Pingback: Windsor Real Estate Prices Most Affordable In Nation – Information about Real Estate In Windsor, Ontario Canada

  17. Sometimes affordability is in the eye of the beholder….
    If you are a single Mom with 3 kids and live on the above 44K you can find 200k condos with 3 bedrooms in unsavory locations (high crime).
    If you want to find safe affordable condos there are 2 listed according to today’s real estate listings – granted I will have to share a room with a child for 15-20 years – so safe housing is Severely, Severely Unaffordable.

  18. Pingback: 2012 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey | Calgary Real Estate Review

Please feel free to post your comment or question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s