Housing prices growing much faster than cost of living in these Ontario cities


Published February 27, 2024 at 3:08 pm

house prices cost of living ontario hamilton burlington toronto

While much attention has been paid to the growing cost of living in major Ontario cities (think groceries, rent and more), a recent report suggests that while the cost of living is up over 17 per cent in southern Ontario cities such as Hamilton-Burlington and Toronto, housing costs are growing at a much greater pace. 

According to a recent report by real estate blog and website Zoocasa, the market basket measure (MBM), which defines the amount a family of four would need to have in disposable income to enjoy a basic standard of living, increased 17.5 per cent between 2017 and 2022 in Hamilton-Burlington (the data is combined). 

Housing prices in the cities, on the other hand, climbed 44.3 per cent during a similar five-year period.

The report says the MBM in Burlington-Hamilton was $42,515 in 2017. In 2022, it climbed to $49,952. While that might seem steep, it’s a small increase compared to the jump in housing prices in the cities.

According to the report, the benchmark home price rose from $561,000 in 2019 to $809,600 in 2024.

The numbers are similar in Toronto, where the MBM increased from $46,975 in 2017 to $55,262 in 2022 (a 17.6 per cent difference) and housing increased from $746,500 in 2019 to $1,065,800 in 2024 (a difference of 42.8 per cent). 

The report says housing has rapidly outpaced the cost of living in most of the 15 cities analyzed. 

“In 13 out of 15 cities, home price increases outpaced increases to the market basket measure. A city’s market basket measure (MBM) defines the amount a family of four would need to have in disposable income to enjoy a basic standard of living,” the report reads. 

“In other words, a family earning below a city’s market basket measure is considered to be living below the poverty line. Calgary has the highest MBM at $55,771, while Quebec CMA has the lowest at $45,411.” 

In other cities, the disparity is more dramatic. According to the report, the MBM in Moncton increased by 18.4 per cent, while home prices climbed more than 100 per cent. In Halifax, the MBM climbed 18.5 per cent and home prices climbed 82.4 per cent. 

“With home prices rising at a rate much faster than the cost of living, many Canadians are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing options,” Carrie Lysenko, CEO of Zoocasa, said in the report. 

“We need to see a shift in Canadian property options in order to help bridge the gap between income levels and housing costs.” 

According to the report, some areas in Canada remain more affordable, with Winnipeg and Saint John seeing house price increases of 22 and 25 per cent, respectively. 

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising