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Housing Affordability Indicators

Introduction

This annual edition of the Housing Affordability Indicators for northern British Columbia is based on a refreshed data-set that updates baseline variables to 2015.  The revised indicators correct for errors that can develop over long periods of extrapolating baseline data.  Historical data for 2010 has been included for comparison purposes.

The BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) Housing Affordability Indicators estimate the proportion of median household income required to cover the major costs associated with home ownership. These include mortgage costs, municipal taxes and fees, and utilities for the average single-family home. The higher the measure, the more difficult it is to afford a home.  For example, an affordability measure of 30% means that home ownership costs, including mortgage payments, utilities, and property taxes for a given year take up 30% of a typical household’s pre-tax annual income.

Home ownership in most of northern British Columbia remains very affordable, especially when compared with the Vancouver region. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, “… housing is considered “affordable” if it costs less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income.”   The Housing Affordability Indicator (HAI) for northern BC for 2018 is 26.9%, despite showing a 2-percentage point increase over the 2017 HAI.  The affordability of home ownership is exceptionally favourable when compared with 118.9% for the Vancouver Area and 66.1% for Victoria.

Affordability by Community

While affordability worsened slightly in 2018 in most northern BC communities, only 100 Mile House reflects an HAI significantly above 30%. In 2018 the HAI for 100 Mile House was 47.2%.  This is the chiefly result of median household income being around 54% of that of Northern BC.

Fort St. John is the only community in Northern BC reporting consistent improvements in affordability over the reference period, largely due to a persistent drop in house prices over the period. Kitimat remains the most affordable community in northern BC with an HAI of just 20.6%.  Despite a 34 % increase in house prices between 2017 and 2018, higher than average household income kept housing affordable in Kitimat.

Our members are committed to improving the Quality of Life in their communities. The BC Northern Real Estate Board supports growth which encourages economic vitality, provides housing opportunities, and builds communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods. The REALTOR® members of the BC Northern Real Estate Board serve the real estate needs of the communities from Fort Nelson in the north to 100 Mile House in the south and from the Alberta border to Haida Gwaii.

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