It is common Canadian knowledge that Vancouver has the highest real estate prices in the nation. While the provincial government in BC has taken steps to cool down the market via various taxes and regulations, the benchmark home price in Vancouver remains well above the $1-million mark, with the majority of BC’s most expensive real estate concentrated within the city.
Due to the unaffordability of the city core, many would-be home buyers move instead to the suburbs of Metro Vancouver, which has caused a housing market boom in the municipalities of Surrey, Burnaby, and Richmond. This trend is a reverse from what we have been seeing in the Toronto market, where the price of homes within the city core heat rapidly, while the suburban cities of the Greater Toronto Area have declined in volume and price.
Vancouver Suburbs Offer Best Affordability
However, while suburban cities in Metro Vancouver have seen a surge in volume and price, many BC cities have dramatically lower prices in comparison to the City of Vancouver proper.
To gauge affordability for home buyers throughout the province, Zoocasa has compiled home-price-to-income ratios in BC’s major markets, using median household income from Statistics Canada, and average or benchmark home prices reported by regional real estate boards in July 2018.
This ratio helps determine the affordability of the real estate market in each region, based on the average home price and median incomes in the city; it represents the number of years it would take to pay off the average home in full, assuming a household dedicates 100 per cent of its annual income to paying it off. The ideal affordability ratio for shelter is three.
Only One BC Market Remains Affordable
It is revealed that, for two-or-more-person households, there are only two major housing markets in BC that come close to fitting the criteria: Prince George and Kamloops, where the ratio of the home price to the total income is four. However, homeownership affordability remains out of reach for single-person households, at nine times their annual income in Prince George and fourteen times in Kamloops.
Not surprisingly, Vancouver real estate remains far beyond the realm of ideal affordability for all household types, costing an average two-or-more person household 14 times their total income, and 32 times that of a single-earning household.
Check out the best (and worst) B.C. cities for home affordability in the infographic below:
The Top 5 Most Affordable BC Cities:
- Prince George – Single Income Ratio: 9, Dual-Income Ratio: 4, Price: $347,470
- Kamloops – Single Income Ratio: 12, Dual-Income Ratio: 4, Price: $406,768
- Campbell River – Single Income Ratio: 14, Dual-Income Ratio: 6, Price: $457,301
- Langford – Single Income Ratio: 14, Dual-Income Ratio: 6, Price: $596,816
- Penticton – Single Income Ratio: 15, Dual-Income Ratio: 6, Price: $439,957
The Top 5 Least Affordable BC Cities:
- Vancouver – Single Income Ratio: 32, Dual-Income Ratio: 14, Price: $1,229,400
- Richmond – Single Income Ratio: 31, Dual-Income Ratio: 13, Price: $1,033,600
- Burnaby – Single Income Ratio: 29, Dual-Income Ratio: 12, Price: $1,008,100
- North Vancouver – Single Income Ratio: 27, Dual-Income Ratio: 11, Price: $1,126,300
- Coquitlam – Single Income Ratio: 25, Dual-Income Ratio: 11, Price: $984,800