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Housing prices worry affluent: poll

Housing prices worry affluent: poll

A leading researcher of Canadian cultural trends says extravagant prices for homes in Toronto and Vancouver could be a reason why nearly a quarter of Canadians polled who earn $100,000 a year or more have concerns about meeting their financial obligations.

A survey done for the Association for Canadian Studies found 22.8 per cent of respondents in this income category were at least somewhat worried about their ability to pay monthly bills.

"Initially, I was kind of like, 'Really? Jeez, that's surprising,' " said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the association. "But then when I looked at the geographic data, it occurred to me that the people worried most about paying their monthly bills are in Ontario and British Columbia."

Indeed, 51.5 per cent of Ontario respondents were at least somewhat worried about paying their bills. This was true for 50.5 per cent of B.C. residents.

Nationally, 44.2 per cent of respondents expressed some concern about meeting their expenses. Concern was lowest in the combined grouping of Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 28.3 per cent, while the concerns affected 32.5 per cent of respondents in Alberta, 39.5 per cent in Quebec and 41 per cent in the Atlantic provinces.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the benchmark price for homes in March was $679,000, up 5.3 per cent from a year earlier. The Toronto Real Estate Board said the average price in the Greater Toronto Area in early April was $506,954, up five per from last year.

The data was based on surveys conducted by Léger Marketing between March 16 and 18 of about 1,500 Canadians from an online panel. The Association for Canadian Studies said a random phone survey of this size would accurately represent the population within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.