How much money do you need to make to buy a home in these Canadian cities?

Buying a place to call your own is a goal many Canadians have, but it’s an aspiration escaping the middle class thanks to prices that continue to soar. An average home in Vancouver will set you back almost one million dollars according to real estate marking company RentSeeker, which analyzed housing prices across the country in 2015. Their data shows that a family needs to make $120,297 a year to afford the $909,293 price tag. British Columbia is the most expensive province with an average home price of $667,480.

Toronto and Ontario aren’t far behind. The average price across the province is $471,654. In Toronto you’ll have to shell out $641,617 to buy a home, and that will require annual earnings of $87,407 according to RentSeeker. This helpful conversion tool converts annual salaries to hourly rates.

The cheapest city in Canada was Trois Rivieres, Que., the country’s oldest industrial city with a tiny population of only 48,285. The average price for a home there is only $162,313, and you need to make a meager $28,515 a year to afford it.

To afford a home in Trois Rivieres, Que., you need to make around $13.75 per hour.

The cheapest city in Ontario is Windsor, with an average home price ringing in at just under two hundred thousand dollars ($198,113). “Factors that have impacted home prices in Canada over the past decade include a strong economy, low interest rates and favourable mortgage insurance rules,” according to Priced Out, a study conducted by RBC and the Pembina Institute which examined housing trends across the country.

These factors have increased the demand for homes and driven up prices across Canada, including in the GTA.

Demand points to Vancouver and Toronto as the hottest destinations in Canada – with a high quality of life and natural beauty to boast as assets. But foreign investment is also driving up the price by eroding the supply of housing available for Canadians living in those cities. British Columbia recently introduced a 15 per cent foreign buyers tax to curb escalating costs – a move Toronto is watching closely.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver home sales dropped 75% after foreign buyer tax announced: realtor

Average rental prices across the country echo the lows and highs of home prices, with Vancouver and Toronto once again leading the pack. A recent study by Urbanation found that the average rent for a condominium unit in Toronto was almost $2,000 a month.
“There’s virtually no vacancy in the marketplace,” said Vice President Shaun Hildebrand. A decrease in the supply of rental units is one of the factors driving up price. The trend is a troubling one for the city’s Housing Advocate, Ana Bailao. “You lose the opportunity to attract a lot of investment that wants to come to our city,” she said.

Companies start looking at our city as a place that’s too expensive for their workers to work, too expensive to attract human capital.

Taking a closer look at Toronto, property management company Sky View Suites compiled data on the average sale price of homes near TTC subway stations. The analysis took into account values of detached homes and condominiums with three or more bedrooms from June 2015 to June 2016.

Homes near York Mills, Castle Frank and Summerhill stations had the highest values, while those near Warden, Kennedy and Victoria Park stations – all in the city’s east end – had the lowest. Generally speaking, proximity to transit hubs is known to have a positive impact on property values.

This is why Toronto has never hosted the Olympics

Montreal and Vancouver have done it, why haven’t we? The question creeps up when talking about Canadian cities that have hosted the world during an Olympic Games. Toronto, Canada’s largest city and centre of commerce and culture, has yet to share in that experience. We tried in 2008 but lost out to Beijing.

Last fall mayor John Tory assembled an advisory panel to look into the possibility of hosting a major international event and asked members Gord Nixon, former CEO of RBC; Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction; and Saäd Rafi, former head of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, to create a short-list of events the city could bid on in the decade. The report, Bringing The World to Toronto, found several systemic flaws and cracks spread throughout Toronto’s bidding process that have prevented the city from enjoying a major event on scale of the Olympics, World Expo or FIFA World Cup.

Advisory Panel Report

The main issue appears to be Toronto’s lacks of a formal, official process for bidding on major international events. Too often the attempt is ad hoc and reactionary in response to an opportunity that arises – one which other cities have likely been preparing for for years.

“Because these events arise only periodically (and often unpredictably) there has not been much reason to develop a consistent, methodical approach to evaluation or planning that carries forward from one event to the next,” read the report. “As a result, major event planning has often been undertaken with a significant degree of uncertainty, a lack of sufficient early coordina­tion and limited resolve from all partners.” In other words, the city has been caught off guard and unprepared.

Our report will help the city and its partners to ad­dress these challenges and, hopefully, ‘profes­sionalize the process’.

The report reveals the city has had to “start from square one” every time an opportunity to bid on a major event arose because it lacked the formal processes and coordination to jump on an opportunity and “hit the ground running” during the competitive process.

“A significant amount of time (and resources) is expended just to get started on planning and evaluation,” read the report. “In our view, it is important that major event hosting has a natural home at the city and is supported by reliable financial resources.” The panel recommends resources be dedicated for the planning and evaluation of hosting opportunities – this could come in the form of designated staff or a separate department singularly focused on exploring and preparing for hosting opportunities, even when none exist in the immediate future. The point is to be ready when they do.

Another problem the report underscores is a lack of regional partnerships, an important element that adds a measure of security and stability within the bidding process.

In service of that goal, the advisory panel recommends the city work with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport; the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation; Tourism Toronto and the surrounding regional tourism organizations to form a partnership “that leverages the existing capacity of these organizations.”

Toronto cannot be alone in this undertaking.

Bringing The World to Toronto reveals that Canada’s largest city missed the opportunity to do so in 2015 with the World Expo, which was eventually awarded to Milan, because it lacked the necessary commitment from a government partner.

Both a well-funded bidding mechanism with pre-existing processes that can quickly be executed, and multi-region, multi-governmental support are identified as key components necessary for generating and sustaining public support – the other key ingredient in a successful bid.

It’s not surprising then that, as we’ve seen with some unsuccessful or unrealized bids in the past, they failed to capture full public support (as in the case of the 2008 Olympic bid).

The report illustrates the anatomy of success by using Vancouver, awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics, as an example. The initial idea to host the Games came in the late 1990s with the formation of the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Bid Society.

The organization enjoyed initial support from Tourism Vancouver, Tourism Whistler and Sport BC. In 1999 a new non-profit Bid Corporation was formed with financial backing from the Canadian Olympic Committee, province of British Columbia, the city of Vancouver and municipality of Whistler.

In early 2000, ten years before the actual Games, the Corporation began signing corporate sponsors. In 2002 the city signed an agreement with the federal government that committed $9.1 million in funding.

In 2003 the IOC Evaluation Committee visited Vancouver and in their report “highlighted the ‘high quality’ and active participation of key government officials and organizations that will be involved in staging the Games.” In July 2003 the city won the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Although Toronto has decided against bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics, the 2025 World Expo is still on the table. Mayor Tory and city councillors met with representatives from the Bureau International des Expositions in January to discuss the possibility.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is a strong supporter of hosting the event and indicates as much on her Twitter bio with the hasthag #Expo2025.

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The 30-page document singles out three “mega-events” whose reach and impact remain unrivalled on the international stage in terms of marketing and prestige: the Olympics, World Expo, and FIFA World Cup.

Montreal hosted a World Expo in 1967; Vancouver, an International Expo in 1986. The most recent Expo in Milan drew roughly 22 million visitors over six months. Shanghai holds the attendance record with a whopping 70 million visitors in 2010.

The report authors recommend against bidding for the FIFA World Cup until recent controversies and restructuring related to FIFA, the governing body of soccer, settle.
In addition to these “mega events”, the report defines what it calls “global community events” that although not nearly as large in scale and profile can command a considerable amount of international exposure and marketing reward. These events typically are home in the cultural or trade sectors and Toronto has already hosted many of them, including the 2014 WorldPride festival and International Indian Film Academy Awards (2011).
The panel’s short-list includes the following::
Arts & Culture
  • Art Basel Exhibition
  • STEAM Carnival
  • Operalia Competition
  • TEDGlobal Conference
  • Parliament of the World’s Religions

Trade & Innovation

  • Institute of International Finance (IIF) Events
  • Financial Times Events
  • The Economist Events
  • World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference
  • World Bank Group Annual Meetings
  • RiskMinds Conference
  • Mobile World Congress
  • Trustech Annual Conference
  • ASIS International
  • Retail Banker International Conference

In the end, there is general consensus that events of both types drive economic growth and raise a city’s profile on the international stage. In Vancouver, the Winter Olympics generated between 38,530 and 51,510 jobs according to one estimate. In London, it’s believed the 2012 Summer Olympics will have added 618,000 to 893,000 years of employment to the regional economy by 2020.

“But planning and hosting major events also involves substantial public costs, significant financial and operational risks and potentially difficult trade-offs for host cities and regions,” according to the report.

Being prepared, which Toronto currently seems not to be, will be key in ensuring the benefits outweigh the cost.

Flooded basements more common in Toronto’s west end

Between 2013 and June 2015, waste and ground water flooded 1,422 basements in Ward 11 (York South  – Weston) – the region hit the hardest across all of Toronto. The area is located west of Yonge Street, which is where the vast majority of flooding occurred according to data from the city of Toronto.

Closer to the downtown core the Danforth (Wards 29 and 30) and the Beaches (Wards 31 and 32) also had a high concentration of flooding. Ward 39, Scarborough – Agincourt, had the fewest flooded basements with only 99.

(Photo Credit: City of Toronto)

A number of factors underlie the problem:

  • Storm or ground water can seep into the home when there are cracks in the foundation, basement walls or basement windows. Poor lot grading or drainage, overflowing eaves troughs and leaking or plugged downspouts can also result in flooding.
  • Waste water can back up into the property through floor drains, toilets, sinks, showers and laundry fixtures located in the basement. A sewer backup can also result from a blocked connection between the home and the main sewer in the street or when the sewer system becomes overwhelmed with storm water.

And then there is Mother Nature: The powerful storm that targeted Toronto in July 2013 dumped an unprecedented volume of water in a short period of time, overwhelming the city’s drainage system and leading to a costly cleanup.

Between 2013 and 2014 a number of wards have significantly decreased the incidents of basement flooding: Wards 11 (York South – Weston), 2 (Etobicoke North) and 4 (Etobicoke Centre) cut the number of cases by more than half. The largest improvement was seen in Ward 3 (also Etobicoke Centre), which went from 802 in 2013 to 113 in 2014, a decrease of 86%.

The city of Toronto provides a Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program giving up to $3,400 to homeowners to install flood protection devices. Other preventative measures can be found here.