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More than 30% of Canadians think houses in their area unaffordable

Staff writer |
More than a third (38 percent) of Canadian homeowners feel that housing in their area is unaffordable, according to a new survey released by Manulife Bank of Canada.

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According to the bi-annual survey, 28 per cent of respondents found their local housing market "somewhat unaffordable", while another 11 per cent described it as "not affordable at all."

Just over half (51 per cent) called housing in their area "somewhat affordable" and only one in ten felt housing in their area was "very affordable."

Perception of affordability varies by region, as homeowners in Canada's Atlantic provinces are most likely (83 per cent) to feel housing is affordable, while those in British Columbia are least likely (39 per cent).

The survey also revealed that those in Canada's largest urban areas (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal) are much less likely to describe their housing market as affordable (46 per cent) than those elsewhere in Canada (68 per cent).

Perceived lack of housing affordability was most acute in Vancouver, where just one in three (33 per cent) indicated housing was affordable.

Housing costs may be putting pressure on other aspects of homeowners' finances. While almost three quarters (73 per cent) of homeowners believe they're somewhat or completely prepared to deal with an unexpected household expense such as a major car repair or a furnace replacement, other results suggest this may not be the case.

For example, more than one in three homeowners (38 per cent) were "caught short" at least once in the past year - where they didn't have enough money in their bank accounts to cover expenses.

While some of those caught short were able to access a line of credit (33 per cent) or rainy-day savings (23 per cent), others had to carry a balance on a high-interest credit card (32 per cent) or even borrow money from a family member (14 per cent).


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