The price of an average four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Vancouver is $1.5 million.
In Windsor the average for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is $144,456 currently.
It doesn't take a team of top notch Toronto accountants to tell you that is a huge price gap!
And worse, the price is dropping!
Last September I wrote a similar article to this one (see $68,007 for a four bedroom house?) which was talking about Detroit and other cheap/expensive places to live. At the time the average price in Windsor was $158,242.
So its dropped $14,000 in 10 months.
The issue is that Windsor has been hit hard by the recession in the USA. Bad if you are looking for a job, good if you are looking for a cheap place to retire to.
Vancouver meanwhile is the 3rd most expensive place in North America to buy a four-bedroom home, behind only California’s Newport Beach at $2.5 million and Pacific Palisades at $1.6 million.
And Vancouver is getting worse. In 2010 Vancouver saw an astounding 25.7% increase in home appreciation prices, according to figures released this Wednesday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Some economists are saying Vancouver's housing market is in an unsustainable price bubble.
“Quite simply, no other city in the country is seeing anything remotely close to what’s unfolding in Vancouver,” said Bank of Montreal deputy chief economist Doug Porter.
Back in Windsor however... Major unemployment from the crash in the auto industry, Windsor is now trying to promote itself as a retirement community.
“There is a huge difference when you look across North America to see what your money can buy for the same kind of property,” says Jim Gillespie, CEO of New Jersey based Coldwell Banker. “In this case it would make sense to sell that home in Vancouver if you’re thinking of retiring in Windsor.”
Heck, you could sell your "executive home" in Vancouver and buy a freaking dream estate in Windsor. That is how low the prices are!
For fun I decided to check a Windsor real estate website (windsorrealestate.com) and the most expensive home is Windsor is the following:
Bedrooms : 7 Full Baths : 10 Half Baths : 2
The description for the home is:
"THIS IS YOUR DREAM HOME COME TRUE. A MAGNIFICENT HOME W/ATTENTION TO DETAIL LIKE NO OTHER & SITUATED ON YOUR OWN PARK-LIKE MANICURED GROUNDS IN PRESTIGIOUS SOUTHLAWN GARDENS. YOUR FAMILY HAS ALL THE AMENITIES & PRIVACY INCLUDING 7 BDRMS, 10 BATHS, FINEST MATERIALS, INDIVIDUAL ENSUITES, POOL & HOT TUB, MAIN FLR OWNERS SUITE THAT WILL SAVE YOU, FANTASTIC LAYOUT & QUALITY THAT WILL IMPRESS. OLD WORLD CHARM ABOUNDS. EVERY DOOR TO EVERY ROOM WILL UNFOLD TO SOMETHING THAT YOU WILL LOVE. COMPLETE DETAILS AVAILABLE. 3400 OUELLETTE YOUR DREAM HOME COME TRUE."
And that is the most expensive home in Windsor, according to that website. Probably even has multiple sunrooms, a tennis court, a pool (it says pool in the description and I presume its a nice one) and other cool stuff. With 7 bedrooms you could rent out 6 of them to well-to-do playboys and make yourself a nice bachelor pad. Maybe even start a reality tv show...
In contrast I also checked the same website to see what the cheapest home is...
Bedrooms : 2 Full Baths : 1 Half Baths : 0
Honestly, you could probably offer them a flat $30,000 and they would take it.
Overall Canadian housing prices are going up, mostly due to our stable economy and constant influx of well educated immigrants who want to buy homes in Brampton, Richmond Hill, Oakville, etc.
Canadian existing home sales were up by 2.7% in May from year ago levels according to CREA. Average prices were also up by 8.6% to $376,817.
An average executive four bedroom home in Toronto is only $378,913, making it cheaper to buy a home in Toronto than in Guelph, Burlington, Ottawa or even Wasaga Beach.
A four bedroom home in Leaside (swanky Toronto neighbourhood) would cost $1.12 million and in Moore Park it would cost $1.7 million.
So lets say you were reasonably well paid, ie. you worked as IT staff for local companies in Toronto. Chances are likely you could afford a home in central Toronto.
I guess the point I am trying to make with this article is that if you're willing to live anywhere in Canada, you really have your choices when it comes to price.
Take Ottawa for example, which is pretty average as far as prices go. You could find a pretty decent home there. I found one for $168,000 via ottawaliving.ca. A two bedroom, 2 bath home with a balcony. Looks like it might need some of its windows repaired so I could probably contact an Ottawa windows company to fix it for me. But whatever. Any cheap place is probably going to need some fixing.
But once you have it, and poof its paid for, you don't have to worry about rent any more. You pay off the mortgage, raise some kids, eventually retire and presumably by the time you have retired the housing prices have skyrocketed. Or you live there until the day you die, content in the knowledge that its YOUR HOME.
And really money is worthless if you don't have a home.