Vancouver Is Officially the Most Expensive City in North America

Toronto and Vancouver always had a healthy, sibling-like rivalry. However, Vancouver now beats out Toronto for the most expensive city in North America.

People biking during sunset in the city of Vancouver.

Image via Getty

People biking during sunset in the city of Vancouver.

Toronto and Vancouver have always had a healthy sibling-like rivalry. There will always be those West Coast kids who brag about their access to epic mountain and ocean activities and a lack of “real” winter weather, while back east, locals know the food scene and nightlife is far superior to any ski run, and therefore TO trumps Van.

This week, however, Vancouver has taken the No. 1 spot between the two. But it’s not actually something to brag about.

Vancity has been voted the most unaffordable city in all of North America, according to the latest Housing Affordability Indices published by Oxford Economics. The West Coast metropolis, which is home to about 630,000 people, beat out American hotspots like L.A. and New York. 

A photograph of condos in the city of Vancouver.

“Affordability deteriorated in nearly all U.S. and Canadian metros in [the second quarter of] 2021 as home price inflation outpaced income growth,” the study found. 

Vancouverites won’t be surprised to read that housing in their city is ridiculously expensive. The price of single-detached homes in Van were up 16.3 per cent this year and are expected to jump another two to five per cent before the year comes to a close.

While Vancouver ranked as the most unaffordable Canadian city, Toronto was a close second on the list, followed by Hamilton, Ottawa, and then Montreal.

According to the report, housing in the States is actually more attainable than in Canada right now, and eight out of the nine Canadian cities that made this list became even more expensive as the year has gone on. 

“Our consistent, cross-country framework points to more rapidly worsening affordability in Canada than in the U.S.,” the study found.

City of Vancouver during the fall season.

You don’t have to look hard for proof that Vancouver’s housing market is in fact stupidly expensive. A quick search on a real estate listings website will reveal some over-the-top homes, like this eight-bedroom heritage mansion in Shaughnessy for $17 million, or this contemporary seaside residence with four terraces in Point Grey for $15 million. You won’t even find a single detached house listed in the city limits for under $1.1 million. (Is it wrong that this 980 sq-ft strata that’s pretty much on the border of Burnaby looks like a steal at $1,179,900? Yes it is.)

Toronto isn’t much better. There are currently zero listings for single detached homes under $500,000, unless, of course, you want to consider something on the outskirts, like this boat docked at the Bluffs for $339k.

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