90% of Vancouver Houses Worth $1m or More 1

Monday, June 20th, 2016
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More than 90 per cent of all detached homes in Vancouver are now worth more than $Can1 million ($A1 million), up from just 19 per cent a decade ago, a new study by a local urban planner has found, showing how rapidly housing prices have escalated in the Canadian city.

The biggest jump came in the past two years, with the proportion of million-dollar homes in the city climbing to 91 per cent in 2016 from just 59 per cent in 2014, according to the study by Andy Yan, acting director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program.

“This shows how what used to be the earnest product of a lifetime of local work is perhaps quickly becoming a leveraged and luxurious global commodity,” said Yan.

The median household income in Vancouver, meanwhile, rose just 8.6 per cent between 2009 to 2013, according to the most recent data from Statistics Canada. Adjusted for inflation, it would be about $Can77,000 a year in 2016.

That puts typical incomes well below the threshold needed to purchase million-dollar homes, said Yan, noting other factors must be driving the sharp increase in home values in Vancouver.

“It’s global cash, meeting cheap money, meeting limited supply,” he said, adding that all three factors are working to “magnify each other” and drive further speculation.

Foreign investment has long been blamed for soaring housing prices in Vancouver, with the most recent wave of offshore cash coming mostly from mainland China.

A widespread corruption crackdown launched by Chinese president Xi Jinping in late 2012 has led to massive currency outflows, which have coincided with a sharp jump in housing prices in Vancouver’s prime neighbourhoods.

The new data comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Vancouver for a two-day visit. Trudeau on Thursday said that his government needs to take measures to ensure residents of cities like Vancouver and Toronto can afford housing.

Yan’s study looked at provincial assessment data, which lags sales data by several months, and was focused exclusively on the roughly 67,000 detached homes in the City of Vancouver. All values were adjusted for inflation.

Region-wide, the price of a detached home soared 130 per cent over the past 10 years to hit $Can1.5 million in May, according to the local real estate board.

Adding in apartments and townhomes, the typical home in Greater Vancouver now costs $Can889,100.

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  1. Brandon Roberts

    On those numbers, house prices are now somewhere in the vicinity of twelve times income before tax. That is obviously an awful situation socially which has very serious long term consequences. Urgent action is needed to address serious housing affordability issues across many cities in the world.