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Affordability

PERSONAL INCOME
 

PERSONAL INCOME PER CAPITA, CMAs
Source: Conference Board of Canada

INCOME_GRAPH1-01 
   
 

MARKET BASKET MEASURE THRESHOLD, 
LOW-INCOME THRESHOLD BENCHMARK CMAs
Source: Conference Board of Canada

INCOME_GRAPH3-01

   
  PERCENT OF PERSONS IN LOW INCOME,
MARKET BASKET MEASURE
Source: Statistics Canada 

INCOME_GRAPH2-01

Halifax’s per capita income of $39,966 continued to be slightly above the Canadian average in 2012, although behind all but London among its benchmark cities. Further, growth from 2011 to 2012 (2.3%) mirrored the Canadian average but was the lowest among its benchmark cities. 

While income growth was moderate,-, growth in the cost of a market basket (a basic, representative sample of goods purchased in various jurisdictions) grew by 1.5% in 2010. This was the second highest growth for the year, and Halifax’s market basket cost ($32,303) was second highest among its benchmark cities – passed for the first time by St. John’s in 2010

The high cost of goods and the moderate wages in Halifax contribute to higher-than-average levels of poverty. While Halifax’s percentage of people with low incomes (those who cannot afford the market basket) dropped 1.1% in 2010 to 11.5%, it remained 1.6% higher than the national average and second highest among benchmark cities. 

HOUSING PRICES, APARTMENT RENTAL AND VACANCY RATES

In 2012, the price of a new house in Halifax increased by 6.6% to nearly $427,000.  This increase was second highest among benchmark cities, and the average price overall was third. For existing houses being sold, the average price increased 3.7% to nearly $269,000. This growth was third lowest among benchmark cities and the price was also third lowest. Meanwhile, average rental costs increased 3.8% in 2012 to $925 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. This ranked Halifax third among benchmark cities in 2012 in growth as well as third in the overall rental cost. 

Overall, Halifax’s income growth has been, on average, largely increasing at a greater rate than prices. This is positive news, as is a drop in the number of persons who cannot afford a basic basket of goods. That said, continually high levels of poverty and a lack of affordable housing on the peninsula of Halifax mean that some residents are being priced further away from the core of the city. 

For Halifax to truly improve the affordability of the city, it must leverage major economic opportunities to create better economic and social outcomes for those well below the averages. Increased access to education, health-care, affordable housing and entry-level work would benefit many struggling to afford to live in the city and allow them to benefit from increased economic activity.

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