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UDI/Vancity Housing Affordability Index Q4 2015

February 15, 2016

Despite the lowest interest rates in memory, Vancouver houses continue to become less and less affordable, the UDI/Vancity Housing Affordability Index shows. That’s because prices just keep going up.

For the average young family living in Metro Vancouver, price tags for detached homes have climbed so high that there is little hope of ever being able to afford one.

And the alternatives — condos or townhouses with enough bedrooms for the children — are hard to come by in this part of B.C. The Canadian National Occupancy Standard holds that three-bedroom homes are the best choice for couple with two children, but only about a 10th of Metro Vancouver’s housing stock in 2014 was in condos or townhouses that met that standard, according to a report from Vancity.

And, at least in Vancouver, the heart of the region’s affordability crisis, that kind of housing isn’t especially cheap.

“There’s a lot of pressure on that segment of the market, and I would say that they are a pretty hot commodity,” Realtor Faith Wilson said.

The stress is coming from two opposite ends of the market, she added: young families who’ve been priced out of the single-family home segment and seniors who are downsizing after selling their houses.

The three-bedroom condos and townhouses on the market right now are priced from about $500,000 to $19.8 million, with most selling for well over $1 million.

To find prices under $1 million, buyers in Vancouver would need to look to units built in the 1980s and 90s, in a handful of neighbourhoods on the east side, in Marpole or out at UBC. However, Wilson pointed to one bargain currently on the market in the Cambie corridor: a 1,251-sq-ft townhouse selling for $510,000.

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