Sunday, October 14, 2007

August 2007 Housing Index for Greater Vancouver

According to the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board's August 2007 report on house prices and sale activities, the demand for housing continue to be positive. The average sale prices for apartments, townhouses and detached homes are:

Apartments: $367,944
Townhouses: $446,577
Detach homes: $726,067

With the average Greater Vancouver household income at $63,300, home buyers are squeezed out of the home ownership market. Or, they are forced to buy the most affordable apartments as shelters for their families.

While Vancouver house prices are consistent with pricing trends for the above types of dwelling, there is a market disconnect with "affordability" and "average prices" in other major Canadian Cities. If you take a look at the various charts as presented by Brian Ripley here, you'll find that Vancouver home owners are bearing a much heavier cost in home ownership.

Our average detached home prices are twice as much as that in Calgary and Edmonton and Toronto detached home prices are only around 40% of that in Vancouver. Ottawa and Montreal prices are at about one-third the price in Vancouver, have the most affordable detached homes in the country.

House prices are subjected to the economic law of supply and demand. We have a high housing prices situation in Vancouver for a long time.

We must find out why there are such disparity in home prices, and what can be done about it. The provincial Government in BC should be the first to be questioned on their housing policy for limiting the supply of "land" for housing.

Is the Agriculture Land Reserve that control vast urban land parcels still relevant in serving the well being of British Colombians? Urban town planners are urging for better utilization of land resources. Farming for agriculture lands bordering the city centers is not the best and highest use of these land parcels.

Until there are urgency and agreement by the Governments taking action to ease the land supply problem, the critical housing affordability problem in Vancouver will not be solved.

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