Housing is a basic need for people to live, survive and thrive.
Having housing that is affordable, attainable, and accessible is important for a society to grow and flourish.
Housing in BC is none of those things.
Over the course of the last six years it has become increasingly expensive and harder to get.
Many think that the interest rate increases will bring down housing prices.
Perhaps it will.
But not for the right reasons, which means that it won’t last.
Rising interest rates take potential purchasers out of the market, no longer qualifying them for the home they are needing.
When this happens, more residents have to rent. Without more rental units, the cost of rent goes up.
Supply and demand.
The last six years the BC NDP government has focused on quelling demand through additional taxes, making housing more expensive.
They have now admitted that we have a supply issue, and are now trying to focus on increasing the supply.
The government promised 114,000 units in 10 years. We are in year 5 of that plan, and have only seen 6400 units of housing created by BC Housing joint ventures and projects.
How bad is our supply issue?
Currently, Canada has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents of any G7 country, with 424 homes per 1,000 Canadians.
It would take an additional 1.8 million homes for Canada to achieve the G7 average.
BC would need 540,000 units of housing in the next decade to supply for our population, and we have seen how the lack of supply has driven up housing prices throughout the province.
There are other costs hidden in housing as well. Additional pressures from development cost charges(DCC), taxes, levies, and municipal fees can add over a hundred thousand dollars to a home.
In Vancouver, this can add hundreds of thousands!
Then there is the time.
The time to get through the approval process can add tens of thousands of dollars to each unit.
There has been much spoken about the length of time to get through the planning process in municipalities, but there are also the approvals through the provincial and federal government.
Often, approvals from the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Forests can add years to a development application.
And meanwhile, housing just keeps getting more expensive.
The lack of housing affordability is seen everywhere in our city.
The senior who is being evicted from a suite that they have rented for over 30 years, and can’t find anywhere else to rent. The young adult who can’t move out because they can’t make enough to pay for housing. The couple who postpones having kids, because their one-bedroom condo in a tower isn’t big enough for a family. The family who is barely making it, selling their house and moving out of the province to have a better life.
The list is long, and getting longer.
We need more supply.
My question for you this week is this:
What role should government play in making housing more affordable?
I love hearing from you!
Email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call my office 250-712-3620.