Renters’ income in St. Catharines falls 32% short of being able to buy starter home


Published June 22, 2023 at 3:17 pm

While it is far from the worst across Canada, a new study shows that the average income of renters even with two income households falls roughly 32 per cent short of being in the position to buy a starter home.

The study, undertaken by, actually revealed that in  36 of Canada’s 50 largest cities, renters can’t afford a starter home in their city as they earn up to 60 per cent less than what they would need to become home owners.

As to what defines a starter home, the study left that definition somewhat loose, explaining that it’s getting tougher to define with each passing year. They noted, “On today’s highly heterogeneous housing market, a starter home has come to mean only that: The home that starts a first-time buyer’s homeownership journey. Whether they’re small or sprawling, less than $200,000 or more than $700,000, it’s the market that dictates the definition of the starter home.”

That means a starter home in St. Catharines is vastly different than the high-end markets of Toronto or Vancouver, as well as the more relaxed markets in St. John’s, Newfoundland or Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Setting the price for a starter home at $300,200 in St. Catharines – the average house price in Niagara is roughly $588,000 – the study says the down payment at 20 per cent would be $60,040.

That would mean a mortgage for the remaining $240,160. It then suggested the yearly income for renters to be $53,478 with yearly payments of $23,629. In order not to be ‘house-rich, cash-poor,’ the recommended annual income would be $78,765 – or more than three times the yearly payments.

All of that being said, in only 14 of the 50 largest cities in Canada, the renter household income is 2 per cent to 52 per cent higher than the minimum income needed to comfortably afford a starter home and not one of those markets was in Ontario.

More than half those markets – eight in total – were listed in Quebec. In fact, at least 12 Ontario cities were at the top of the worst markets for renters looking to cross into home ownership, falling anywhere from 45 per cent to 59 per cent short of income needed.


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