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Single? Vancouver ranked least affordable city in Canada for solo homebuyers

The data shows that the number of Canadians living alone has, "doubled from 1.7 million in 1981 to four million in 2016." 
Photo: Vancouver ariel angle / Shutterstock

Are you single and looking to buy an apartment in Vancouver? 

While you aren't alone in your quest, you might find that the competition is fierce.  

Real estate website Zoocasa has compiled a list of the best cities in Canada for buying an apartment on a single income and Vancouver was ranked the least affordable. 

Based on data from Statistics Canada, Zoocasa notes that single-person households have become the most common type in Canada for the first time in history. What's more, the data shows that the number of Canadians living alone has, "doubled from 1.7 million in 1981 to four million in 2016." 

In addition to living alone, the company found that the number of solo-dwellers who are purchasing homes has increased to 50% - it was 32% in the ‘80s. One in five single homeowners have a condo apartment.

In order to calculate which markets are the most afforable for single-income buyers, the company used the payment needed to purchase a benchmark apartment in 15 regions across Canada, and compared it to the after-tax single-household median incomes earned in each. From there, it calculated, "how many months it would take for such a home buyer to save up the necessary down payment, assuming they could contribute 100% of their income annually."

The study found that Canada's largest cities had the least affordable markets for single-income buyers. With this in mind, Vancouver was substaintially less affordable than other cities, with report authors noting that the, "required down payment would be greater than what is earned by a median single-income household in an entire year." 

The benchmark apartment in Vancouver was reported at $656,700, which would require a minimum down payment of $40,670, outstripping the $33,804 earned by single buyers. As such, if an individual set aside their entire earnings to save for a down payment, it would take them 14.4 months to pull together the needed cash.

Toronto was the second least affordable market with a benchmark apartment priced at $$558,000. That figure requires a minimum down payment of $30,800, just shy of the median income of $35,294, or a 10.5-month savings timeline.

Victoria rounded out the top three most expensive markets, with a benchmark apartment priced at $510,800. As such, prospective buys would require a minimum down payment of $26,080 - a single buyer earning $33,546 would need to save for 9.3 months.

The study also notes that single buyers will see their dollars stretch the furthest in the Prairie provinces, where "in the three most affordable cities, a benchmark apartment can be purchased for under $200,000, with required down payments making up a comparatively smaller portion of incomes."

Benchmark apartment prices were sourced from the Canadian Real Estate Association and are for December 2019, the most recent month available at the time of writing.