Home buyers can't count on cheaper suburbs, Vancity report warns
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, June 6, 2017 12:00PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- A new report from a Vancouver credit union says home buyers on British Columbia's southern coast can no longer turn to the suburbs to find more affordable housing.
Vancity tracked the markets in 30 municipalities in the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria over a 12-month period that ended on Feb. 28, calculating the median price of housing in each community and comparing that with the median income of residents.
Vancouver became only marginally less affordable over the period, but Vancity says the gulf between the cost of housing and median income widened in the suburban North Vancouver District, where housing affordability tumbled almost 38 per cent.
The study says the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay and the districts of Squamish and Mission, both more than 60 kilometres from Vancouver, also became significantly less affordable.
The report identifies a few pockets where homes are considered affordable for buyers including Chilliwack and Sooke, where buyers must commit between 24 and 35 per cent of their monthly income to pay for a mortgage.
Ryan McKinley, Vancity's senior mortgage development manager, says the market is changing for people seeking cheaper housing.
"Buyers looking for affordable housing options used to be able to look to municipalities around Vancouver to find affordable options," he said in a news release.
"While pockets of affordability still exist, they are disappearing as prices in the Fraser Valley and other parts of B.C. continue to rise."
The report recommends buyers examine the cost of ownership and consider housing co-operatives or co-ownership rather than purchasing and cutting into the money they need to pay down debt or manage other living expenses.
It also calls on the provincial government to encourage every municipality to develop an affordable housing plan and suggests the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. look at doubling the density of affordable housing properties it has financed in the past.