Friday, April 07, 2006

The True Cost of Home Ownership in Kanata, Orleans or Barrhaven

Ottawa City housing is unaffordable. It's cheaper to buy a house in the suburbs, where you can get more room (and more yard) for your money than you can in the center city. Right?

Not so much, according to a new study, "The Affordability Index", which challenges the conventional wisdom by arguing that the best way to assess affordability is with reference to the costs of both the home and the transportation necessitated by the home's location.

In an analysis of the Ottawa metropolitan region, it turns out that the suburbs (Kanata, Orleans or Barrhaven) aren't nearly as affordable as they first appear; nor are city neighborhoods nearly as pricey. That's largely because suburban residents must spend more on cars ownership and use--they have, on average, 2.1 cars per household--while in-city residents can rely on cheaper forms of transport--they own only 1.2 cars per household. Even when in-city transit is factored in, a city resident spends less than half as much on transportation as a resident of far-flung suburb. That's real money--roughly $500 per month--that can make a big difference when it comes to affording a house.


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