In Vancouver $600k gets you a home that is a tear down and it'll be in a questionable area. The average home price is near $1,000,000 again. The Median family income for the city in 2012 was $71,140

Now some fun with numbers

at a 3% interest rate fixed for 5 years (available at the moment) the payments are $2840/month for 25 years which is $34080/year which is 48% of the gross median income

property taxes on a house just shy of 1,000,000 which is the average are $4890 or 7% of income. so for a box that you won't be kicked out of you need to spent 55% of the gross income.

According to an online tax calculator an individual making $71k would pay $14848 in income taxes yearly. lets split it and say it's 35k and 36k dual income to get the best tax rate. Thats 4851+5052 or $9903 yearly.

This means the net income is $61237. The mortgage is 56% of net and property taxes are 8%. 64% gone.

Now some guesses based on my house which is average in size,in the same climate and a typical 4 person household. Utilities for my house work out to roughly $1850 last year that's heating, electricity and water. thats 3% of net

House insurance on my place which is worth 1/3 of the vancouver average was $1200 last year and is mandated as a condition of the mortgage. 2% more gone.

At this point I think we have all of the costs basically covered to have a home in Vancouver.

$19217 of $1601 is left over. You now "need" a car. but most families have 2. You need clothing, and some people like to eat. It's possible even in an expensive town like vancouver but there is a very good reason the savings rate in BC is negative and has been for a few years now. All of this completely ignores child care costs. My youngest goes to daycare 4 days a week for the mornings. That is $300/month. Full time is $700. I'm told this is cheap for the area. And all this is after having made a 40% down payment to get our 600k mortgage. The vast majority of owners aren't putting down 40%.

The scariest thing is interest rates. 3% is basically the lowest it can go. You get the occasional little offer to 2.7 but that's not worth planning around. Instead lets do the numbers on the average which is 4.62% from 2006-2012

This works out to $3361/month or $40332/year which is 66% of net. 79% of net is now gone to housing and you have $12965 remaining or $1080/month. Possible as a mustachian but the average joe?

The historical posted rate from 1973 to 2010 averages 9.26% My parents were over joyed that in 25 years of payments they never once went over 10%. They also never got below 7%. At 9.26% the payment is $5071/month or 60852/year. Which is 99% of the take home.

The interest rate hit just shy of 22% in 1981....

So the way I see it is at the historical average The person is screwed mustachian levels of frugal or not. At the 6 year average mustachians would be struggling to get by and would be forced to dump any vehicles and savings for be effectively zero. The average person is screwed. At current rates the average person can get by if they're smart with their money and nothing ever goes wrong. Realistically they're one broken furnace or new roof away from screwed.

When interest rates correct it should be a bloodbath

sources and liberties taken

all numbers rounded to nearest dollar

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil107a-eng.htmhttp://www.vancouversun.com/news/property-taxes.htmlhttp://www.ey.com/ca/en/services/tax/tax-calculators-2014-personal-taxhttp://www.ratehub.ca/5-year-fixed-mortgage-rate-history