Northern BC Housing Affordability Indicators

May 12, 2023

NORTHERN BC – The BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) Housing Affordability Indicators estimate the proportion of median household income required to cover the major costs associated with home ownership for homes purchased in a particular year.

These include mortgage costs, municipal taxes and fees, and utilities for the average single-family home. The higher the measure, the more difficult it is to afford a home. For example, an affordability measure of 30 per cent means that home ownership costs, including mortgage payments, utilities, and property taxes for a given year take up 30 per cent of a typical household’s pre-tax annual income.

Home ownership in most of northern British Columbia remains very affordable, especially when compared with the Vancouver region. The aggregate Housing Affordability Indicator (HAI) for northern BC for 2022 is greater than 30 per cent for the first time, checking in at 31.6 per cent, a 13.2 percentage point increase over the 2021 HAI.  Despite a trend towards greater affordability in the lower mainland, the affordability of home ownership in northern BC is exceptionally favourable when compared with 124.2 per cent for the Vancouver Area.

This edition of the Housing Affordability Indicators for northern British Columbia includes some minor changes to the HAI for 2019 arising from data revisions to Utility Costs for that year.

Affordability by Community

Affordability worsened in 2022 for a second consecutive year in all measured northern BC communities. Prince George, 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Smithers, and Williams Lake all recorded significant deterioration, with affordability worsening by more than 10 per cent.  Kitimat recorded the smallest reduction in affordability at just 2.8 per cent.  In terms of home ownership, 100 Mile House remains the least affordable community in northern BC.  In 2022 the HAI for 100 Mile House was 61.6 per cent.  The major factor for this result continues to be median household income; 100 Mile House being markedly lower in that measure than other communities in Northern British Columbia.

Even with affordability worsening by 8.3 per cent, Fort St. John again recorded the most affordable HAI (21.2 per cent) in Northern BC in 2022 as it did in 2021 and 2020. This is largely due to slower growth in house prices than most other communities in the region.

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