House and food prices up over 50% in some parts of Ontario

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Published June 27, 2024 at 1:11 pm

House and food prices up over 50% in some parts of Ontario

Despite a dip in inflation due to interest rate hikes, a recent report reveals that housing costs and prices for certain food products have surged since 2017, directly impacting Ontario residents. Over the past decade, housing costs in some parts of Ontario have skyrocketed by over 50 per cent, and the prices of staple grocery items such as onions and potatoes have surged by 78 and 59 per cent, respectively. 

The report, put together by real estate website and brokerage Zoocasa, says that while inflation (currently at 2.9 per cent) is down, it still sits just above the Bank of Canada’s target rate of two per cent–meaning housing and groceries are costing Canadians more. 

According to data from StatsCan and the Canadian Real Estate Association, grocery prices rose 1.5 per cent between April and May, while house prices in Kitchener-Waterloo and London and St. Thomas rose by more than one per cent. 

The report says that while prices in both categories climbed between April 2017 and April 2024, house price growth outpaces increases in grocery costs. According to Zoocasa, the average retail prices for 16 common grocery products increased by an average of 34.5 per cent between 2017 and 2024, while the average home price in 16 major cities in Canada increased by an average of 48.1 per cent. 

According to the report, house prices have risen about 25 per cent in Toronto in seven years, sitting at an average of $1,156,167 as of April 2024. In Hamilton-Burlington (the data is combined), house prices have risen from $611,090 in 2017 to $918,196 in 2024 – an increase of about 50 per cent. 

In Kitchener-Waterloo, prices rose from an average of $512,030 in 2017 to $806,412 in April of this year–a 57 per cent increase. 

As far as food goes, commonly purchased goods are more expensive than they were just seven years ago, although price changes vary. According to the report, the cost of romance lettuce is up from $3.20 to $3.70–an increase of close to 16 per cent. Strawberry prices are also up about 16 per cent, rising from $2.97 in 2027 to $3.46 in 2024. 

Price increases are more notable in other products, with salmon prices climbing from about $23.11 to $27.78–a 20 per cent increase. Milk prices have also risen about 25 per cent (from $2.33 to $2.92), while peanut butter prices are up 48 per cent ($4.04 to $5.97). 

Eggs, onions, and potatoes have experienced the most dramatic climbs, with price increases of over 50 per cent. 

“The escalation in housing prices relative to everyday consumer goods signals a challenging environment for affordability in Canada. As housing prices continue to outpace wage growth and grocery costs, aspiring homeowners and renters, in particular, feel the impact,” Carrie Lysenko, Zoocasa CEO, said in the report. 

“Choosing to invest in areas characterized by stable price appreciation and lower living costs can alleviate financial pressures and position investors for sustained financial growth.”

While the world has dealt with myriad crises during and after the pandemic, the report notes that Canadians are feeling the financial pinch a bit more acutely. 

According to Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index, Canada ranks 27th on the purchasing power index, trailing behind countries like France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, South Africa, and Australia. The country also boasts a higher cost of living than peer nations such as Germany, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. 

Canada also doesn’t fare as well when compared to the U.S.

According to another Zoocasa report comparing median home prices in North American cities, houses are more affordable south of the border because Americans enjoy higher incomes. The report found that in 2021, the median household income in the US was $75,149–much higher than the Canadian median income of $54,074. 

That said, the report notes that some areas boast an overall lower cost of living, with cities such as Montreal, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton offering lower prices and, therefore, more financial freedom. 

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