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Home affordability improves in Manitoba

A surge in new listings helped to push the cost of owning a home a little lower and to make most types of homes a little more affordable in the final three months of 2013, according to a new Royal Bank report released today.

In its latest quarterly Housing Trends and Affordability Report, RBC Economics Research said the cost of owning a standard two-storey home in the province declined by 1.1 percentage points to 38.6 per cent of pre-tax household income. And the cost of owning a standard bungalow dipped by 0.6 percentage points to 38.0 per cent.

The lone exception to the downward trend was a standard condominium. The cost of owning one of those rose by 0.8 percentage points to 24.9 per cent, the bank said.

"Owning a home in Manitoba remained relatively affordable in the final months of 2013, especially when comparing against conditions in other markets across Canada," said Craig Wright, RBC’s senior vice-president and chief economist. "Our measures for all housing types in the province stayed reasonably on par with historical norms in the province, suggesting that little affordability pressure is being exerted on Manitoba’s homebuyers at the present time."

The RBC housing affordability measure, which has been compiled since 1985, is based on the cost of owning a detached bungalow, two-storey home, and condo at market value. The higher the measure, the more difficult it is to afford a home at market values.

For example, an affordability reading of 50 per cent means that homeowner costs, including mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes, would take up 50 per cent of a typical household’s monthly pre-tax income.

British Columbia continues to have the least affordable housing, with an affordability measure for a standard bungalow of 67.7 per cent. And Vancouver continues to be the least affordable city in which to own a bungalow, with an affordability measure of 81.6 per cent.

Winnipeg was not one of the six cities where affordability was measured.

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Updated on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 3:28 PM CST:
Headline fixed

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