Affordability study finds B.C. home buyers face rapidly increasing prices deep in Metro Vancouver suburbs

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      B.C.’s housing-affordability crisis has reached the suburbs and is now affecting residential areas located far from the City of Vancouver’s urban core.

      That’s according to a report by Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) released today (June 6). It found that across the Metro Vancouver region, there are still homes available for less than $1 million, but that there might not be for long.

      South of the Fraser River, in Delta, the median price of a detached home is $960,000. That’s up 32 percent over a 12-month period ending on February 28, 2017.

      Over the same time, the median price of a detached home in Langley similarly jumped 32 percent, to $715,000.

      Even farther afield, the median price of a detached home in Maple Ridge rose 25 percent, to $700,000. And the median price of a detached home all the way out in Abbotsford was found to be $615,000, up 30 percent.

      Just north of the border, in White Rock, a detached home now costs $1,437,500, up 43 percent.

      All the way out in Chilliwack, detached homes are still going for less than half a million, selling for a median price of $480,950. But that’s up 19 percent from one year earlier.

      “The quest for affordable housing has created an influx of buyers into Burnaby, Surrey and Langley city and township, with prices rising in step with demand,” the report reads. “A ripple effect is being felt well into the Fraser Valley.”

      In the City of Vancouver, the price of a detached home is up 30 percent, to $2,280,000. In Richmond, those numbers are 31 percent and $1,670,000. And in Burnaby, they are 28 percent and $1,600,000.

      Despite the outgoing B.C. Liberal government’s 15-percent foreign-buyers tax, which came into effect in August 2016, home prices across the entire Metro Vancouver region actually rose faster through 2016 than they did the year before.

      “The median price of all properties sold in Metro Vancouver rose 9% in the 12 months ended February 28, 2017, versus a 7% increase a year earlier,” the report states.

      The median price for all detached properties across the region increased 18 percent last year.

      The Vancity report looks at home prices in the context of household incomes, and it creates a depressing picture for prospective home buyers looking for more affordable options in the suburbs or even farther away.

      Taking regional incomes into account, it found that the least affordable properties are today found in West Vancouver (least affordable), Lions Bay, North Vancouver, Oak Bay, Delta, Bowen Island, the City of Vancouver, North Saanich, Squamish, and Langley (township).

      B.C’s most affordable properties are in Langley (city), Sooke, Victoria, Esquimalt, Chilliwack, New Westminster, Sidney, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, and Abbotsford.

      “The widespread decrease in affordability came despite a cooling of sales in the Metro Vancouver market in the latter half of 2016 following the introduction of a 15-per-cent property transfer tax on foreign nationals’ purchases of residential real estate within Metro Vancouver,” an accompanying release reads.

      “The report shows this cooling was seen most at the top end of the market, where the average number of properties in Metro Vancouver that sold each month for $4 million or more (mostly detached homes) decreased by 68 per cent in the eight months following the introduction of the new tax. At the market’s lower end, the number of units that sold for less than $500,000 (most often condo apartments) declined by 38 per cent.”

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