BY BRUCE JOHNSTONE, LEADER-POST JANUARY 9, 2015
In spite of a 150 per cent increase in housing prices since 2007, Regina still has the second-most affordable housing among major western Canadian cities, according to the Association of Regina Realtors.
"Despite the significant appreciation in housing prices over the past seven years, Regina remains the second-most affordable market in Western Canada," said Gord Archibald, CEO of the Association of Regina Realtors.
In fact, there has actually been a decline in selling prices over the past year.
The association's year-end sales showed that, based on the Housing Price Index (HPI), prices declined by 3.5 per cent during 2014. "Over the last three years, there's still an appreciation of 5.5 per cent, so most of the price pullback has been in the last year or so."
According to the association, Regina's HPI grew slowly from just over $80,000 in January 2000 to about $120,000 in January 2007, then spiked to about $270,000 by mid-2008, before falling back down to about $230,000 in early 2009. Since then, prices have been steadily increasing to the $310,000 range before slipping to about $295,000 at the end of 2014.
The fact Regina has the second-most affordable housing in Western Canada was confirmed by a recent Toronto Star story indicating that Reginans would need to earn just over $72,000 a year to afford to buy an average house priced at just over $331,161.
With monthly mortgage payments of $1,443, plus property taxes of $378, Regina was the second-most affordable city in the West, behind Winnipeg, where homeowners would have to earn $58,235 to make monthly mortgage payments of $1,179 on an average house worth $270,605.
In Saskatoon, homeowners would have to earn $74,546 a year to make payments of $1,522, plus property taxes of $366, on an average house valued at $349,322. Saskatoon was the fourth-most affordable in the West behind Edmonton, where homeowners would need to earn $72,617 to afford monthly mortgage payments on a $365,520 average house.
Not surprisingly, Vancouver's high-priced housing, averaging $818,336, requires a hefty annual income of $147,023 to make the monthly mortgage payments of $3,570, plus $251 in property taxes. Halifax was the most affordable of major cities surveyed, with an annual income of $56,929 required to make monthly mortgage payment of $1,152, plus property taxes of $266, to buy an average house priced at $264,447
The Star used average house prices in 10 markets provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and mortgage, property tax and utility bills calculated by a Toronto mortgage broker. To calculate the monthly payments, the broker used a 2.99 per cent interest rate, which is the average qualifying rate for a five-year fixed term, a down payment of 10 per cent of the purchase price and $100 a month for utilities.