Personal income has increased more in Saskatchewan than in any other province over the past five years, and it has put tremendous upward pressure on the cost of housing.
The number of households in Regina and Saskatoon that qualify for a mortgage has dropped by 20%.
Strong demand for housing in Saskatchewan has contributed to the increase, but so has government policy to some extent.
Regina and Saskatoon have followed the global trend which has seen cities put artificial limits on residential development.
In Vancouver, Sydney, Auckland and London, England, where urban containment policies are heavily favoured, housing prices have doubled or tripled relative to personal income.
When housing costs rise faster than incomes, people have less to spend beyond the basics, and their standard of living declines.
Younger homeowners are squeezed particularly hard because many of them have large student loans they must repay.
Prairie cities should do more to restore housing affordability for middle and low income Canadians.
This will involve encouraging development of houses on less expensive lots in modest neighborhoods. There is no shortage of land for development.
The objective of planning should be housing affordability and reducing poverty, rather than trendy urban design.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
For more on housing policy, visit our website www.fcpp.org.