Regina housing prices painful — but low in comparison

By Will Chabun, Leader-Post February 26, 2014 - REGINA - After weighing household income and the costs of paying off a mortgage, the Royal Bank has concluded the affordability of buying a house or condo in Saskatchewan is stuck in neutral or, in economist talk, trending “sideways”.

“To us, this shows that affordability is neither a strain nor a particularly attractive from a historical perspective, so it shouldn’t be a factor either encouraging or discouraging home resales at this stage,” said Robert Hogue, senior economist for RBC economic research.

The bank’s Housing Trends and Affordability Report for the last quarter of 2013, released Tuesday, puts Regina’s “affordability index” at 37.0 per cent for bungalows in the province.

Hogue said housing prices “go into the calculation”, but it focuses most on borrowing costs and income levels to construct an index for housing affordability.

And what it showed was that our prices are relatively pretty low when compared with other Canadian cities.

RBC calculated affordability rates for bungalows of 81.6 in Vancouver, 55.6 per cent in Toronto, 38.8 per cent in Montreal, 36.7 in Ottawa and 33.8 in Calgary and 33.3 in Edmonton.

All were basically unchanged in the last three months of 2013, save for the overheated Vancouver market, which fell 2.3 percentage points from Q3.

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