Brandon is one of the most affordable housing markets in the Prairies.
In a national survey released by Century 21 Canada, which studied the trends and changes in the price per square foot of residential properties in communities across Canada, Brandon ranked eight out of 10 communities in Canada as being the least expensive housing prices in the Prairies.
The survey, which compared year-to-date prices to Aug. 11 to those in 2020, noted detached house prices in Brandon were up nine per cent, to $271 per square foot. Winnipeg saw the biggest gains, with home values increasing by twenty per cent to $293 per square foot for a house and $241 per square foot for a condo. Brandon saw $203 per square foot for a condo.
Saint John, N.B. ranked No. 1 for the lowest price per square foot to purchase a detached house, at $134 per square foot.
Downtown Vancouver ranked the highest housing prices in the country, coming in at $1,310 per square foot for a detached house.
With a nine per cent increase in detached house prices in Brandon, Coun. Glen Parker (Riverview) said it’s good news for Brandon.
"It’s good news for homeowners, and good news for the real estate market in general," he said. "I still think Brandon is a pretty affordable city to live in when you consider all types of homes you can purchase."
Despite condominiums in Brandon placing eighth in Canada as the least expensive, Parker said it’s still good news if attracting talent from various corporations. "It shows Brandon as a pretty affordable city to live in," he said.
A Manulife Bank Debt survey released in June 2021 revealed homeownership is out of reach for many.
In the survey, seven out of 10 Canadians who do not own a home worry about saving up for one, including as many as four in 10 who worry a lot about this.
One-third of homeowners admitted they needed help from their parents when purchasing their first home, including nearly half of Generation Z and Millennials.
Three-fifths of Canadians surveyed reported that the cost of living for their household has increased.
The survey also noted that homeownership is now out of reach for approximately three-quarters of Canadians, as housing prices reach a record high and continue to rise, according to Manulife Bank’s bi-annual Debt Survey.
During the past year, 61 per cent of Canadians surveyed reported the cost of living for their household has increased. This suggests wages may not be keeping up with inflation.
While the survey by Century 21 suggests Brandon is an inexpensive city to purchase a home in, Coun. Jan Chaboyer (Green Acres) is interested in addressing the segment of the population that may never afford their own home.
"There are a lot of people working part-time, minimum wage jobs in Brandon," the Brandon Poverty Committee member said.
With the minimum wage of $11.95 per hour, Chaboyer said rents in the city are too high.
"I think we have to do better at making the rents more affordable for those with modest to low incomes," she said.
The bottom line, she added, is that Brandon is an expensive place to live and rents should be reduced.
"There isn’t enough well-paid, full-time jobs with full benefits," she said.
"They’ve been eroded over the years. And it’s really hard for people to make ends meet. Everything Is expensive."
While Parker acknowledges Century 21’s survey is good news for Brandon, he said city council recognizes that there is a shortage of affordable housing. "Rentals are high for those on the bottom of the wage-earning scale. There is no question."
"As a city, we are trying to address available and affordable housing with developers and individual property owners, trying to make more affordable housing."
"It’s a challenge," he said.