Canada’s richest cities – and you might be surprised with number 1

Canadians are getting wealthier – and here’s where is wealthiest

Canada’s richest cities – and you might be surprised with number 1
Steve Randall
Canadians are now wealthier than ever with rising assets, pensions and real estate values pushing net worth to a record high.
Figures from Toronto-based Environics Analytics’ Wealthscapes 2017 report show that household net worth in 2016 grew 12% nationwide to $770,635 with Vancouver leading the rich list of Canadian cities.

Nationwide, household debt grew a relatively restrained 4.4% to an average of $139,387 but growth continues to outpace income (up 1.0% to $94,365.)

The net worth of Vancouverites was $1,217,630 last year, a 19.4% rise from the previous year but three cities have joined it in the seven-figure club.

Toronto saw a 17% rise to $1,154,107 and Victoria took third place with a rise in net worth of 15.4% to $1,055,468. Despite continued challenges in the oil industry, Calgary also broke the $1 million mark with net worth of $1,039,607.

Across Canada, 22.2% of households are now in neighbourhoods with a net worth above $1 million – that’s 3.2 million households.

Oshawa saw the second-highest gain in average net worth last year at 17.3% as housing values soared at almost double the national rate. That took the average net worth for the city to $852,689.

Hamilton was another fast-growing wealth-centre with average net worth of $891,924 following a 15.1% increase; St. Catharine’s-Niagara was up 14.7% to $679,740.

“For the most part, 2016 was a good-news financial story,” says Peter Miron, vice president of demographic and economic data at EA and the lead developer of WealthScapes 2017. “Strong performance in the stock market buoyed Canadian investments. The biggest housing markets experienced strong real estate appreciation. And many Canadians increased their saving rates. This is the wealthiest Canadians as a whole have ever been.”

Housing bubble warning

Three cities are flagged by the report as potentially being in housing bubbles: Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria.

Despite measures taken by the Ontario and British Columbia governments, Miron says the effect on the markets is hard to call: “Both provinces have attempted to cool their housing markets but it’s unclear whether they’ll give up some of their 2016 gains in 2017.”

Top investor cities

Calgary is the top Canadian city for investors, the report shows, with 79 cents of every dollar of liquid assets held in stocks, bonds and funds. The investment rate is similar in Edmonton (78.7 cents) and Halifax (77.2 cents).

Those in St Catharines-Niagara are most risk-averse with just 56 cents of every liquid dollar invested.
Overall, investment portfolios nationwide grew 13.2% in 2016 to $182,328.