Beedie’s School of Business affordability guide aims to aid housing in Metro Vancouver

The guide provides people and businesses with housing affordability data that would otherwise be challenging to find

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PHOTO: Aditya Chinchure / Unsplash

Written by: Jaymee Salisi, News Writer

SFU’s Beedie School of Business and the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) have joined in efforts to develop a guide to affordability in Vancouver. Based on various levels of income, the guide’s objective is to provide a realistic representation of the cost of living throughout different cities in the region.

Finding comprehensive data regarding housing affordability in Vancouver can often be a challenge as most of the data available has not been updated, according to Beedie professor Andrey Pavlov. “Since living in Vancouver, as in any city, requires multiple expenditures for food, shelter, taxes, childcare, there is no single source that can provide desegregated and consistent information,” Pavlov told The Peak in an interview. 

By identifying housing costs across the Lower Mainland, the guide can help citizens and businesses navigate locations best suited to them. Information regarding the cost of housing, labour markets, taxation, child care, income, spending, and transportation were gathered to create a coherent economic depiction of life in Metro Vancouver. According to Pavlov, the guide can also determine areas that are “most desirable for housing supply increases and/or transportation infrastructure improvements.”

Researchers concluded that owning basic lower-priced property — which can be referred to as the 25th percentile — offered reasonable and safe housing. For single family homes, Vancouver West required the highest household income in the 25th percentile at $325,643 annually for a mortgage to be approved by the bank, while Langley held the lowest requirement at $118,072. The guide also presents average rental rates ranging from 3+ bedroom units in West Vancouver costing up to $3,753 to bachelor units in Surrey for $898. 

“There are [many] neighbourhoods and market segments that are still relatively affordable for somebody with good employment,” Pavlov explained. However, he added that these neighbourhoods may not be as convenient as some houses are priced higher due to better commuting time or housing quality. Compared to similar cities, prices in Metro Vancouver do not necessarily vary greatly, but he thinks they “[offer] relatively limited housing variety.” 

Pavlov stated that “a vibrant and growing city should offer a very wide range of housing options in order to accommodate people of all financial means and tastes.” Although he doesn’t see much desire from BC’s government “to help increase housing supply,” he suggested that  renewing real estate and creating more accessible accommodation could improve affordability in Vancouver. 

The full Affordability Guide can be found on the Vancouver Economic Commission website.