Real estate affordability worsened by taxes and limited options, say B.C. residents

Poll finds that most British Columbians believe new taxation is making housing affordability worse, and they want more diversity and densification

Glacier Media Real Estate
June 3, 2019

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In contrast to previous surveys that have shown widespread support for new housing taxation, a new poll has found that 74 per cent of B.C. residents believe additional taxes, fees and regulatory red tape have made housing less affordable.

The poll of 1,001 British Columbians, carried out by Ipsos on behalf of the Urban Development Institute and published June 3, also found respondents to be in widespread support of new housing forms in traditionally single-family neighbourhoods.

It found that 75 per cent strongly agreed (30 per cent) or somewhat agreed (45 per cent) with the statement, “Municipalities should allow a greater diversity of housing options within single-family neighbourhoods.”

And 74 per cent said they strongly agreed (34 per cent or somewhat agreed (40 per cent) with the statement, “Home prices and rents remain high because there are too few housing options,” while 71 per cent said that building approval processes are too lengthy and need to be fixed. In addition, 68 per cent agreed governments aren’t doing enough to encourage new rental home construction.

Anne McMullin, UDI president and CEO, said, “Municipalities can take as long as five years to approve a new rental proposal, and it can take another two to three years to get permits and build. Just think of that: We have a rental crisis today but in some communities, new homes for people won’t be move-in ready until 2027. The approval process is broken.”

The poll also found that:

• 72 per cent of respondents don’t believe there has been an increase in affordable housing options over the past two years – with 45 per cent saying it has worsened and 27 per cent saying it has stayed the same;

• 70 per cent said they believe the actions of current provincial and municipal governments have not improved or have even worsened housing affordability; and

• 80 per cent agreed with the statement, “We need to approve more housing options close to existing and new transit hubs.”

The UDI said in its survey release, “While all levels of government say they are working to address British Columbia’s housing challenges, the Ipsos poll shows citizens remain dissatisfied.”

McMullin added, “Families, workers, seniors and students need housing options now. More studies, lengthy planning reports and task forces won’t solve the problem. Communities, governments and our industry must work together to build more homes for a growing province.”

Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Media Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, Times Colonist, Prince George Citizen, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also writes and oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condos & Homes, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 23 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist talk radio show on Vancouver's Roundhouse Radio.
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