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Toronto real estate prices go 'through the roof' in 1988

Housing prices were concerning to many Torontonians in 1988, even though they were far lower than they are today.

Thirty years ago, the price of housing in Canada's largest city was already raising eyebrows

Neil Macdonald reports on the increasingly unattainable cost of real estate in Toronto. 2:57

It's hard to believe that paying $220,000 for a home in Toronto was once considered extreme.

But that's the way it was back in the spring of 1988, when the CBC's Neil Macdonald reported on the sky-high real estate prices at that time.

"To crack the housing market in Toronto's core, you now have to be wealthy," he explained to viewers, in a report that can be viewed above.

When this report aired in 1988, the introduction indicated that the average price of a home in Toronto was $220,000. (CBC)

According to the report's intro, $220,000 was the average price of a home in Canada's largest city — equivalent to about $415,000 in 2018, according to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator.

As anyone shopping for a home (or planning to sell one) these days will know, that adjusted figure from 1988 is far less than what housing sells for today, when real-estate transactions exceeding $1 million are routine.

As Neil Macdonald pointed out to viewers, the high cost of housing was pushing people to live further from the city -- and that in turn was forcing people to undertake longer commutes to work. (CBC)

In Macdonald's report, he points to a trend where ever-increasing housing prices are prompting people to live further and further from where they work.

And they end up, as Macdonald puts it, "staring at somebody else's bumper for two hours a day," as they commute to and from work.

Three decades later, the same trend is occurring across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.