Comparing Condo Affordability on a Global Scale

Real estate in Toronto is certainly a hot topic at the dinner table these days. With stats from BILD and Altus Group showing 1,880 high-rise Toronto condo sales within the month of August 2016 alone, we decided to look at how condos fit into the mix in the Toronto market, compared to affordability in other cities around the globe. We compiled the following research and concluded that based on this data, the Toronto condo market is not actually overinflated relative to other major cities. It’s a hot market that’s for sure, but not overheated. This global comparison shows that condo investment in Toronto is very likely to continue to see potential growth in value over time. Check out the dramatic difference in average condo price per sqft across 18 different cities:

Toronto versus Global condo prices based on price per square foot


The average condo price per sqft varies considerably, and Toronto is on the lower end of the scale. When it comes to purchase price vs value, we are paying much less in Toronto for an average 800 sqft unit, than in cities like Paris, London, New York, or Hong Kong. One might say for example that London at an average price per sqft of $2732 would most likely be an overinflated market. By looking at how the Toronto condo market compares to these other world cities, let’s review average price vs household income.



Our team of research analysts compiled average income stats in major cities around the world, focusing solely on city specific data rather than an entire country, since cities tend to have higher average salaries and higher real estate prices. Calculating affordability involves taking the price of the condo divided by annual income to get the number of years of average income it would take to purchase the investment.


In Toronto, your average condo price is $440,300 with an average income of $49,795, which means an affordability ratio of nine years. This can give us an idea of purchasing power based on how much salary the average Canadian makes each year. Comparing Toronto to Paris, for instance, we see a significant difference in affordability. With similar populations and the same average income in each of these two cities, it’s shocking to see that Paris’ average condo price sits at $1,346,400 with an affordability rate of 27 years.

Toronto versus global condo affordability in years



Toronto has the lowest average price per sqft among the 8 cities of the G8. It takes almost 50 years of an average salary to afford a condo in London, 22 years in New York, 83 years in Hong Kong, over 100 years in Mexico City, and almost two centuries in Mumbai. Compared to these cities, Toronto’s condo market appears relatively healthy and affordable.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is projected to be the fastest growing region of the province, with its population increasing by over 2.8 million or 42.9% to reach almost 9.5 million by 2041. With this predicted population boom, condominiums are going to be a much needed source of accommodation, since there simply is not enough land to continue to develop freehold family homes in the downtown core. With steady population increase, matched with continuous new development across the entire GTA, we predict investing in the Toronto condo market to be a smart move with lasting value.

1 Ontario Ministry of Finance: Ontario Population Projections Update. Spring 2016, based on the 2011 Census.

Sources and Further Reading:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
CBRE Canada
Global Property Guide
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)
UBS Quarterly Reporting 2015 

Additional Sources
Bloomberg Finance, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal



  • Aaron Szeto

    Of course you guys would say that. Lets not forget that you guys also are in a business where you make profit off selling condos. But a useful a well written article nonetheless.

    • Aaron remember the media is in the business of selling Ads. It’s well know that articles written with Bad news get 4X the readership and boost the AD revenues. I have seen dozens of buyers over the years hold off buying from these fear tactics only to be priced out the market. You make up your own mind. But in 20yrs time the TO population will have another 2 million people. I don’t see how prices will come down with demand increasing.

      • Aaron Szeto

        Thank you for the reply. I actually bought one at 783 Bathurst St last year and I’m pretty happy with my purchase. It was actually my brother who mentioned this so I just thought I’d post this on here to see what your reply would be.

      • Aaron Szeto

        It’s really hard to say. Why do you think the population will rise by that much? It MIGHT be true, and if it is, then I agree with your prediction

        • Checkout Stats Canada they have done a few population prediction studies. Like I mentioned in the video the population has been growing at approx 100K per year for the last decade. No end in sight to that growth.

      • prash42

        Population increase assumes continued strong immigration. This could indeed continue to happen over the next generation, but only if Canada’s economic growth improves and stays strong. On the other hand, if economic growth stays in a rut for several years, will the political / social support for immigration remain high?

  • Erminio Roberto

    It sounds like you writers are all making Big Money! There are all kinds of good Condos in the GTA area that cost around 100,000 dollars. Walking around in the GTA area will inform you of those real prices.
    So stop creating the idea that a person with an income of around $20,000 a year has to live only in a studio apartment that is only for rent.

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  • Jake

    Carl, interesting article. Do you know if the cities on the higher end of the scale have laws regarding the restriction on foreign ownership, similar to what Vancouver introduced recently? Would be interesting to see how the speculative international investor sways the pricing vs. the organic growth factors mentioned in the article.

    • Hi Jake, I don’t know their laws but I do have a article planned in the near future on this topic once we have conducted some research and given the Vancouver market some time to measure the effects

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