Royal Bank of Canada: Slight improvement in Toronto's housing affordability

Submitted by Jasmina on Thu, 2007-01-04 01:38.

RBC Housing Affordability Index - December 2006RBC Economics - Housing affordability highlights for Toronto Area:

Housing affordability in Toronto finally improved for three out of four housing classes.

A quarterly decline in house prices, relief in monthly utility bills, a peak in mortgage rates and modest income growth combined to finally fuel a tiny improvement in housing affordability for the detached bungalow, town house and condo markets in the third quarter of 2006.

Toronto's housing market has gradually moved into more balanced territory. The mid-point of 2006 marked a turning point for many central and eastern Canadian cities, including Toronto — whereby housing markets cooled off as house prices continued to come off the boil and softening income growth started to kick in. Two-storey home prices are flat over year ago levels, while prices of condos, bungalows and town homes dipped mildly in the third quarter of 2006 and are up only modestly on an annual basis.

Going forward, affordability is likely to improve a bit across a number of markets next year as the lagged effects of fourth-quarter mortgage rate declines, easing energy price pressures and a topping-out of home price appreciation have positive effects for home-buyers.

Housing Affordability is a quarterly report pinpointing cross-country trends in housing affordability in provincial and major metropolitan housing markets. December 2006 Royal Bank of Canada Housing Affordability Index report has been prepared by Derek Holt, Assistant Chief Economist at RBC Economics Research. Download December 2006 report in PDF format!

RBC standard Housing Affordability Index measures the proportion of median pre-tax household income required to service the cost of a mortgage, including principal and interest, property taxes and utilities; the modified index used here includes the cost of servicing a mortgage, but excludes property taxes and utilities. This measure is based on a 25% downpayment and a 25-year mortgage loan at a five-year fixed rate and is estimated on a quarterly basis. The higher the index, the more difficult it is to afford a house.