Around BC right now we see that house prices are rising, bidding wars are making headlines in the news regularly and people are frequently paying far over asking price in order to secure the property of their dreams.
In BC there are many who already spend more than half their income on rent alone. A few years ago Statistics Canada found that 1 in 5 BC renters had been spending at least half of their income on just their housing needs. That does not leave much left for debt repayment, savings, food, transportation, car insurance if they have it, medicine, clothing, pet food, and other needs.
Many Canadians have already given up on the dream of owning a home one day.
At least 36 per cent of non-homeowners under the age of 40 have given up the dream of owning a home at some point in their lives. A majority of Canadians believe that most people will be eventually priced out of the housing market over the next decade.
Questions are circling as to what can be done to potentially cool this market and provide coherent solutions to the problems Canadians face over housing.
Home Ownership Up North in BC
For those who are in Prince George, home ownership there is now above the affordability threshold, that is the suggested threshold that has been set by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Mortgage payments and fees, taxes, utilities etc, for the average detached family home accounts for about 30.6 per cent of before-tax average household income. Their standards indicate that Canadian housing is affordable if it costs less than 30 per cent.
The average family home here is selling for a lot less than one in Vancouver or around Metro Vancouver, around $406k in 2020 for a single family home.
The house prices increasing are making the affordability crisis worse and if they continue to rise forever without any correction, the housing crisis will only impact even more Canadians, if nothing is done to provide a solution.
Renters around BC are already feeling the pain, many of them, from spending between 30 to 50 per cent of their income on rent and utilities. That means that almost half of their income might be spent on just trying to survive with a roof over their head.
The more expensive it gets, the more many individuals and families might look to move elsewhere, and that could mean leaving their job and finding something else.
From Vancouver to New Westminster, Kelowna, Victoria, there is an affordability problem for renting and home ownership in Canada. Things are getting more expensive and there aren’t enough jobs with incomes to support these prices, not for Canadians as the average income is far below what’s needed to afford a single family home in various cities.
A great deal of those who are impoverished in Canada are already working, some working 2 jobs and still struggling to get by with the cost of living in Metro Vancouver.
According to one study, Vancouver is one of the least affordable places to live in the world.
The real estate boom in BC is now spreading into the interior and that means areas like Prince George, B.C. Bidding wars are going on here too, this means more are going to increasingly give up on their dreams of home ownership in the region as well, as they have in other areas.
As things continue to get more expensive then Canadians are only going to see a decreased standard of living right along with it, unless their income rises to match. The minimum wage in British Columbia is being increased to over $15 an hour but it’s still below what’s considered to be a living wage for the province, that wage has been suggested to be land closer to $20 an hour.
For many of those who work in areas like Vancouver they cannot afford to live there and they need to commute from other areas. With the cost of housing increasing for renters and ownership, this is going to continue spreading to other areas around Canada. Individuals and families will continually be priced out of the communities they work and live in, looking to move anywhere that they can find something that is affordable.
Millions of people living in places like Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby, Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Surrey, Maple Ridge, Richmond, and other regions of BC and around Canada, they do not have the income required for home ownership. This includes many business professionals and families, even with those who have two full time individuals earning a good income.
It shouldn’t be that hard to realize the dream of home ownership, and it’s a problem that continues to grow.
What is being done about the situation? Policy makers have yet to address the problem in a significant way, it is getting harder to deny that there is a problem. You might find some that suggest there is nothing to worry about but Canadians can feel the pain in their wallets when they pay their rent and mortgage, when they go looking for what is affordable for a place to live.
This is Not Normal
The more that this housing crisis spreads to other areas around BC and across Canada you can expect to see that growing pressure will come from Canadians to policy makers, asking them to do something about it. In fact, they’ve been asking for years and yet here are still facing the same problem.