The International Housing Affordability Survey recently reported that Saskatchewan incomes are lagging behind housing costs making both Regina and Saskatoon almost as unaffordable as Calgary. For Saskatchewan, the survey only reported for the two largest cities. In the Demographia Report, affordability was measured by dividing the median house price in a community by the median household income, which created a median multiple.
Housing affordability is rated on a scale, with anything over 3.0 being unaffordable; the survey rated Saskatoon at 4.3, an increase over last year's 4.0, the median house price is 4.3 times the median household income. Regina was measured at 3.8 for the median multiplier, slightly better than Saskatoon.
However, when looking closely at the data used to calculate the median multiple, the housing prices used were from the 3rd quarter of 2012, the median household income is from 2006. The median house price in Saskatoon is reported at 2012 levels of $283,200; while the Median Household Income is reported at 2006 levels of $66,500. For Regina, the multiplier used a median house price of $266,000 and the 2006 household income of $70,900.As Saskatchewan has experienced a strong and growing economy over the last seven years, it is fair to assume the median income will have increased.
The reality is that Saskatchewan residents are receiving better wages and living more comfortably, the economy remains strong, and the Province continues to prosper as jobs are created and the tax base expands along with the population. Residents in Saskatchewan enjoy competitive pricing for utilities, one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada and high base personal exemptions for Provincial Income Tax; in 2013, the basic personal amount untaxed in Saskatchewan is $15,241.
According to RBC's Housing Trends and Affordability Report from November 2012, there is little evidence of undue affordability induced strain. The report states, "While properties continued to appreciate for the most part in the third quarter in the province, gains were comparatively more modest (condo prices even fell slightly) and any hit on affordability was easily offset by rising household income." Increasing housing prices have been mitigated by an increase in supply.
As the voice of the residential construction industry, the Canadian Home Builders' Association - Saskatchewan is committed to a housing strategy that provides quality,