Interactive map shows income required to buy Vancouver houses
Published Tuesday, September 19, 2017 7:33PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:03AM PDT
An interactive map published by a Vancouver programmer suggests even an above-average income isn't enough to get would-be buyers in the front door of a single-family home.
Jens von Bergmann, co-founder of a data analysis and visualization company called MountainMath, mapped the assessed value of every house in the city. He then calculated the approximate income required to purchase each home.
"It's not a surprise, but you need a lot of money to buy in," von Bergmann told CTV News on Tuesday.
His data suggests that those bringing in the average Vancouver family income of about $90,000 are shut out of about 60 per cent of the city. The map shows families in that range can afford a $568,000 home.
The map assumes buyers have a 20 per cent down payment, and are willing to spend up to one-third of their income, before taxes, on a mortgage. The mortgage used for the simulation is for 25 years at 4 per cent interest.
A single-family home on the east side becomes affordable for those earning around $250,000 a year, while the most affordable home in the west requires a salary of about $300,000.
"Even at half a million you're still out of character in the majority of the West Side of Vancouver," von Bergmann said.
The map suggests those willing to rent out an existing or newly created suite may be able to buy in to the market with incomes of $125,000, but a buyer's chances of finding one are slim. There are approximately 62,000 households that bring in $125,000 per year, von Bergmann said, which is almost as many as Vancouver has single family homes.
The data has the programmer wondering why so much of the city is reserved for the rich.
On Wednesday, city council will look to add hundreds of coach houses a year. Von Bergmann has signed up to speak at the meeting.
But a city council candidate says the move that may create more affordable housing is nowhere near enough.
"Where I think it fails is that the infill housing is still going to be too expensive for the majority of people who rent the properties," Judy Graves said.
While she said the motion is a step in the right direction, the candidate with OneCity Vancouver said she wants to fund more social housing with a luxury tax.
The 1.5 per cent surtax she's proposed on the city's wealthiest residents would be used to fix rents and open up Vancouver neighbourhoods with city-wide inclusionary zoning to put affordable housing before luxury developments.