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Housing Affordability Indicators

Introduction

This edition of the Housing Affordability Indicators for northern British Columbia includes some minor changes to the HAI for 2018 arising from data revisions for that year.

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 for homes purchased in a particular year.  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.  The aggregate Housing Affordability Indicator (HAI) for northern BC for 2019 is 27.4%, a 0.7 percentage point increase over the 2018 HAI.  Despite a decline in house prices in the lower mainland, the affordability of home ownership in northern BC is exceptionally favourable when compared with 108.5% for the Vancouver Area.

Affordability by Community

Affordability has worsened slightly in 2019 in most northern BC communities.  However, Prince Rupert, Smithers and Williams Lake all recorded a slight improvement in affordability.  Kitimat (3.9%) and Terrace (3.1%) recorded the largest increases in their HAI, largely due to significant increases in house prices in those two communities.  In terms of home ownership, 100 Mile House remains the least affordable community in northern BC.  In 2019 the HAI for 100 Mile House was 48.5%.  This is the chiefly result of median household income in 100 Mile House being around 54% of that of Northern BC combined with persistent house price increases.

Fort St. John is the only community in Northern BC reporting steady improvements in affordability over the reference period.  Fort St. John recorded the most affordable HAI (21.5% unchanged from 2018) in Northern BC in 2019.  This is largely due to a persistent drop in house prices over the period 2015 to 2018.

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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