Housing and Affordability in Vancouver

Everyone knows that Vancouver has a housing and affordability problem. The recent #DontHave1Million hashtag gained viral status in early May and highlights the angst that the region feels about housing prices. Housing on the west side of Vancouver is well into the $2-3 million territory. I’ve seen $1.2 million homes for sale in my working class East Vancouver hood. And just this weekend, I discovered a 1300+ square foot apartment in my neighbourhood on sale for over $500,000. Even the condos aren’t very cheap in town.

Well, most of us don’t have $1 million. (And I don’t think we need $1 million to live in Vancouver. You just accept that you won’t have a detached house). So where is the best bang for your housing buck in the Metro Vancouver? Here’s a different look at housing costs in conjunction with transportation costs.

Metro Vancouver has issued a Housing and Transportation Cost Burden Study a few weeks ago. Finally, somebody has compiled numbers not just looking at housing prices, but also at the transportation costs for a person living in different parts of the region.

You may have already guessed that transportation costs for the outer cities in Metro Vancouver are more than the inner cities. Particularly South of the Fraser River and in the Ridge Meadows area, we can see larger transportation costs that can reach over $14,800 a year. Housing costs in those areas, though, are a lot less.

Combined Housing & Transportation Cost Burden for Metro Vancouver by Municipality

Combined Housing & Transportation Cost Burden for Metro Vancouver by Municipality

This graph highlights the connection between housing and transportation. It’s a connection that is very important, but often overlooked. The City of Vancouver with some of the highest housing costs in the region actually pegs into the 3rd cheapest for combined Housing & Transportation costs. Only Richmond and Burnaby/New Westminster fair better in overall cost burden that Vancouver proper. Vancouver actually has the lowest transportation cost burden of the whole region. This is likely thanks to frequent transit, improving cycling infrastructure, and ample walk to work/school/shop opportunities. The North Shore has the most expensive burden with high housing costs and high transportation costs.

Read or scan the whole PDF here for a more in-depth look.

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