October 19, 2012 · 0 Comments
Vancouver may be among the top five places to live on earth, but more and more residents who spend less time at home and more time in their vehicles may beg to differ. Traffic congestion in the Metro Vancouver area continues to be the second worst in North America after Los Angeles, according to a report from TomTom, an Amsterdam-based navigation and map supply company.
The congestion index of 26 cities in North America, released last Thursday, also says Montreal and Toronto round out the Top 5 worst cities for congestion after San Francisco, in third place.
Vancouver has remained in second place since the last quarterly report was released in July. Ottawa, which was number 10 in July, was no longer in the Top 10.
To compile its list, TomTom monitored real travel time data captured by GPS equipment in customers’ vehicles between April and June to compare the percentage change between non-peak times and rush hour.
The company, which also prepares a separate index for Europe, says that data show journey times in Vancouver are 33 per cent longer during the busy times than in non-peak times.
New Yorkers, in comparison, only wait 25 per cent longer in peak traffic times than do Vancouverites. New York is number 8 on the list, followed by Chicago and Miami.
In Metro Vancouver, the waiting times are longest during evening rush hour, according to the index, with a 69 per cent longer wait during the commute home in the car.
Metro Vancouver’s congestion levels are worse on local and arterial roads than on highways, according to Nick Cohn, head of congestion research for TomTom.
In another study that could dampen the spirits of residents in one of the best places to live on earth, it is getting way too expensive to own a piece of real estate paradise.The study calculated a “median multiple” to measure housing affordability for each metro area (including far-flung suburbs) by dividing the Metro Vancouver’s multiple; or the median home price by the median household income which is a whopping 10.6.Roughly translated, this means it would take more than a decade of a typical family’s entire annual income of $63,800 to cover the $678,500 cost of a typical average home in Vancouver.
Already Vancouver is now regarded as one of the most expensive cities to live in North America. The Worldwide Cost of Living survey carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed a shocking statistic- despite it being the 37th most expensive city on earth, it was more expensive than even New York City.
This study takes into account the prices of food, clothing, transport, rents and private schools in order to make an accurate ranking.
One major consequence of high real estate rates anywhere in the world is the hollowing out of the middle class in the city. Unable to afford the high cost of living, younger families opt to live in more affordable communities and the elderly cash in by selling off their homes and moving away and the only the rich end up scooping up homes left behind by the departing middle class.
And with Metro Vancouver now ranked the second least affordable area to buy a home in an annual study of international real estate markets, many residents unable to afford a home may as well consider making themselves feel at home in their cars. Sitting in traffic may already have helped many Vancouverites get used to the concept.