The housing situation in Metro Vancouver has reached a crisis point. In recent years the city has become one of the least affordable places to live in the developed world, and the crisis shows little sign of abating. The standard measure of housing affordability is a ratio of average house price to income of around 3 or lower. A ratio over 5 is considered “seriously unaffordable.” Vancouver currently sits at roughly 13.
This affordability crisis brings a number of obvious harms. Much of the city’s young generation is being pushed to live far away from their friends, family and work in search of homeownership. Others, lacking sufficient means, are being shut out of the real estate market altogether and are forced to pay sharply rising rental rates. Debt levels are surging dangerously for many first-time buyers. Communities are being weakened by empty or underused houses and condos. Entrepreneurs are having a hard time attracting or retaining talent. And the list goes on.
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