Winnipeg’s Housing Affordability Ranking Drops 20 Places

Media Appearances, Housing Affordability, Frontier Centre

Winnipeg has dropped 20 notches in an international ranking of the world’s most affordable housing markets, thanks in part to its strong economic performance in recent years, according to a new study released Monday.

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy‘s fourth Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey ranks Winnipeg as the 29th most affordable city among 227 housing markets it surveyed, and the ninth most affordable in Canada.

That’s down from the previous year when Winnipeg was ranked 9th overall and tied with Quebec City as the second most affordable market in Canada.

The FCPP examined the cost of housing in the third quarter of 2007 in cities in Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. It ranked 59 of them as affordable, including Winnipeg, 40 moderately unaffordable, 36 seriously unaffordable, and 92 severely unaffordable.

Thunder Bay, Ont., was the most affordable housing market among the 227 cities, and Los Angeles, Calif., was ranked least affordable. Four Canadian cities — Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria and Abbotsford, B.C. — were in the severely unaffordable category.

The FCPP study comes less than a week after RBC Economics ranked Winnipeg as one of the most affordable markets in Canada despite five years of double-digit price increases.

David Seymour, a Regina-based policy analyst with the FCPP, said Winnipeg’s strong economic growth in the last few years was partly responsible for its drop in the rankings.

Seymour said a growing economy means higher employment levels and an increased demand for houses, putting upward pressure on prices.

A spokesman for the Winnipeg REALTORS Association said projects like Waverley West in southwest Winnipeg and Sage Creek in southeast Winnipeg are helping ease the shortage of building lots that was hampering new-home construction.

“We should be planning more for success with the immigration numbers they’re talking about over the next 10 years,” Peter Squire, the WRA’s residential market analyst, said in an interview.

“And I think that’s starting to happen….”