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Housing Affordability Indicators

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 2020 is 26.1%, a 1.4 percentage point decrease over the 2019 HAI.  Despite a trend towards greater affordability in the lower mainland, the affordability of home ownership in northern BC is exceptionally favourable when compared with 103.3% for the Vancouver Area.

This edition of the Housing Affordability Indicators for northern British Columbia includes some minor changes to the HAI for 2019 arising from data revisions to Utility Costs for that year.

Affordability by Community

Affordability improved in 2020 in most northern BC communities.  However, Prince Rupert, Smithers and Williams Lake all recorded a slight worsening in affordability.  Kitimat (-18.8%), Terrace (-11.3%), and Fort St. John (-10.9%) recorded the largest affordability improvements, largely due to flat or depressed house prices.  In terms of home ownership, 100 Mile House remains the least affordable community in northern BC.  In 2020 the HAI for 100 Mile House was 45.5%.  This is the chiefly result of median household income in 100 Mile House being markedly lower than that of other communities in Northern British Columbia.

Fort St. John remains the only community in Northern BC reporting steady improvements in affordability over the reference period.  Fort St. John recorded the most affordable HAI (19.2%) in Northern BC in 2020.  This is largely due to a persistent drop in house prices over the period 2016 to 2020. 

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.