BC is the most unaffordable province for housing in Canada, census data shows

British Columbia is leading the country as the province with the highest rate of unaffordable homes.

Statistics Canada data published Wednesday from the 2021 census said BC is the most unaffordable province for housing in Canada, due largely to the number of people paying high rents to live in downtown Vancouver.

The data pegged BC’s unaffordability rate at 25.5 per cent, with Ontario next at 24.2 per cent.

Canada’s home ownership rate fell overall to 66.5 per cent in 2021 from its peak at 69 per cent in 2011.

Statistics Canada said BC posted the third-largest home ownership decline from 2011 to 2021, to 66.8 per cent from 70 per cent, while Prince Edward Island saw the sharpest drop.

BC is also leading Canada in the number of renter households, with Kelowna showing an increase in renters of more than 54 per cent.

First-time buyers in BC are largely choosing condominiums as a “gateway to homeownership,” said the report.

“BC had the largest share of condo dwellers among the provinces in 2021, with 23.6 per cent of households calling a condo home,” the report said.” Almost one-third, 32.5 per cent, of households in Vancouver lived in a condo .”

It said most tenant-occupied condominiums are owned by individuals likely as investment properties.

“According to the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, over three-quarters, more than 77 per cent, of the condos in BC and more than two-thirds, almost 70 per cent, of those in Ontario that were not being lived in by the homeowner” were owned by individual Canadian investors,” said the report.

It also showed that improvements in household incomes across Canada are reducing core housing need, but almost 1.5 million Canadians still live in conditions defined as unsuitable, inadequate or unaffordable.

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