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Cost of living increases 17 per cent in Ottawa, home prices up 53 per cent: report

A common refrain Millennials heard from their Boomer parents is that buying is always better than renting. That advice is now out of date. (Luke Sharrett, Bloomberg/Getty Images) A common refrain Millennials heard from their Boomer parents is that buying is always better than renting. That advice is now out of date. (Luke Sharrett, Bloomberg/Getty Images)
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The cost of living increased more than 17 per cent in Ottawa between 2017 and 2022 as the cost of the basics soared for families, while home prices jumped more than 50 per cent over the past five years, according to a new report.

Real estate website Zoocasa.com released a new report this week looking at how the cost of living has risen compared to real estate prices in Ottawa and 14 other cities across Canada over the five-year period. The report looks at the average home prices in 2019 and 2024, and the Market Basket Measure (MBM) in 2017 and 2022. The MBM is the amount of money a family of four would need to have in disposable income to enjoy a basic standard of living, and Statistics Canada cites the MBM as the official measure of poverty in a city.

Zoocasa.com says the cost of living for an average family of four increased 17.5 per cent in Ottawa, from $46,123 in 2017 to $54,177 in 2022.

The report shows Ottawa's benchmark housing prices jumped 53.5 per cent, from $404,900 in 2019 to $621,600 in 2024.

"While housing remains one of the most expensive essential living costs, the prices of other goods and services have also experienced significant increases," the report says, adding the cost of living still lags behind home price surges.

 

Calgary has the highest MBM in Canada, with a family of four requiring $55,771 in income to cover living basics, followed by Vancouver ($55,727) and Toronto ($55,262).

The report notes in 13 out of 15 cities, home price increases outpaced increases to the cost of living. In Regina, home prices increased 8.7 per cent between 2019 and 2024, while the cost of living increased 16 per cent over five years. In Edmonton, the cost of living jumped 18 per cent while home prices increased 9 per cent over five years.

"With home prices rising at a rate much faster than the cost of living, many Canadians are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing options," Carrie Lyseno, CEO of Zoocasa, said in a statement.

"We need to see a shift in Canadian property options in order to help bridge the gap between income levels and housing costs."

With files from CTV News Toronto's Phil Tsekouras

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