Black Press file photo

Vancouver Island housing markets world-class in their unaffordability

Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox Valley among 20 least affordable in survey of Canada, US, UK and more

Want to live on Vancouver Island?

Be prepared to pay for it.

A recent study has ranked a trio of Island communities as among the most unaffordable housing markets in North America and beyond.

The 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey covers 309 metropolitan housing markets (metropolitan areas) in eight countries (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States) for the third quarter of 2018.

Victoria (13th), Nanaimo (19th) and the Comox Valley (20th) all rank among the worst. You’d have better luck affording a home in Victoria than in Honolulu, but just barely. Miami? Seattle? New York? All more affordable than Nanaimo and the Comox Valley.

The survey calculates communities’ level of affordability by dividing the median house price by the median annual gross household income before tax. This is a widely used method for evaluating housing prices. Communities are given a numerical rating, called the median multiple, with anything 3.0 and under considered affordable and anything 5.1 and over considered severely unaffordable.

The Comox Valley has a median multiple of 7.9, just below Nanaimo (8.0), the Fraser Valley (8.2), Victoria (8.5) and Vancouver (12.6). Other B.C. communities rated severely unaffordable are Kelowna (7.0) and Chilliwack (6.7).

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells says the Comox Valley continues to be a very desirable place to live and this is unfortunately reflected in the difficult housing prices.

“Houses over the last 15 years have gone up by four times their value when you look at their assessments and yet obviously wages haven’t necessarily gone up by four times,” he said. “That certainly brings a lot of pressure to bear.”

He adds there are many people who retire in the Comox Valley and questions what effect this has on the household income calculation in the study.

Roger Kishi, director of homeless & housing programs for the Comox Valley’s Wachiay Friendship Centre, says the results of the study are consistent with what he has been seeing.

According to the 2018 Vital Signs Report, 45.4 per cent of renters spent more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, whereas 20 per cent spent more than 50 per cent of their income on housing.

Kishi says there is work being done to alleviate the housing strain, but vacancy rates are still very low and housing costs continue to soar.

“We’re already in such a deep pit that filling it in and trying to get even to a level place is gonna take a lot of resources,” he said.

RELATED: Courtenay supportive housing complex under construction

RELATED: A supported adult housing complex is under construction in Courtenay

Canada as a whole has a moderately unaffordable rating of 4.0 with Edmonton being the most affordable major market in the country with a rating of 3.6.

Vancouver’s 12.6 median multiple makes it the second most unaffordable market in the world, trailing only behind Hong Kong which has a median multiple of 20.9. Sidney and Melbourne Australia, and Santa Cruz California round out the bottom five. Cape Breton Nova Scotia and Fort McMurray Alberta were the most affordable markets in the survey.

Just Posted

OPINION: Ten signs that Port Alice has changed

“Right now, our lack of amenities is holding back economic growth in our village”

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Port McNeill council discusses ‘bear aware’ and what you can do to stay safe

Port McNeill’s Conservation Officer Brad Adams gave a presentation about being ‘bear aware’.

Port Hardy RCMP release tips to prevent fraud and theft from vehicles

In many of the incidents reported, “the vehicles that were broken into were unlocked.”

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter on Mt. Schoen

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to rescue trio

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read