The chief economist of National Bank has hit out at the “alarmists” warning of dangerously high house prices. Stefane Marion’s research note highlights that Toronto and Vancouver’s price rises are being driven by an influx of “highly educated immigrants” who are moving into those cities for the best work opportunities and those working-age residents make the market sustainable.

While the issues of affordability continue to be painful for Vancouver and Toronto natives, Marion’s note puts the cities into a global context. He points out that, although the two cities have price appreciation above that of the national average, their price-to-income ratio is below that of many comparable cities elsewhere in the world. In San Francisco, a 970 square foot condo would mean a price-to-income ratio of around 15, in London and Hong Kong it’s nearer 35; in Vancouver it’s 10.

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