23 years to save a down payment in Metro Vancouver’s hot real estate market: report

Findings by Generation Squeeze underscore dire home affordability challenge for young in Lower Mainland

A new report on housing affordability in Metro Vancouver compares what a buyer could get in 1976 to today for an equivalent price.

A new report on housing affordability in Metro Vancouver compares what a buyer could get in 1976 to today for an equivalent price.



A new report paints a stark picture of how unaffordable housing has become for young people in B.C.’s Lower Mainland in an era of rapidly escalating real estate prices.

The UBC-led Generation Squeeze project found just 15 per cent of Metro Vancouver homes cost less than $500,000 and have at least three bedrooms as of 2014.

Average prices in the region are much higher, but the researchers picked the $500,000 threshold because it’s twice the cost of an average home in the region in the late 1970s, after adjusting for inflation.

“This means what used to buy two entire homes when today’s aging population started out as young adults now only buys two bedrooms,” said Anita Minh, co-author of the report Code Red: Rethinking Canadian Housing Policy. “Often, that’s not enough for a family with two children.”

The report found that while it once took a typical young Canadian five years to save a 20 per cent down payment on an average home, it’s much worse now.

Now it typically takes 12 years across the country to save up that down payment, 16 years in B.C. and 23 years in Metro Vancouver, said UBC professor and co-author Paul Kershaw.

Despite historically low interest rates, the average monthly mortgage payment required from a young adult starting out in Metro Vancouver reached $3,555 in 2014, compared to $1,991 in 1976-80.

That means it takes the typical young Metro Vancouverite an extra 2.5 months of work per year to pay the mortgage, Kershaw said.

The report found only seven cities in Metro Vancouver have at least 25 per cent of their homes priced under $500,000 (in 2014) with three or more bedrooms – Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Langley City, Langley Township and Delta. (Maple Ridge is the only one with more than half the homes falling into that category.)

Create bar charts

The trade-off for a larger home with a yard in one of those cities is generally longer, more costly commutes, the report said, estimating the extra direct transportation costs of living there adds $120,000 to $180,000 over 25 years.

The Generation Squeeze report was released Wednesday, on the one-year anniversary of the #donthave1million rally on housing affordability in Vancouver.

The report recommends a speculation tax that taxes capital gains on homes flipped in less than two years and a surtax on home values to dampen speculation, especially at the top end of the market.

It also urges more tax incentives for purpose-built rental housing and use of new tax revenue to provide other assistance for housing affordability.

Code Red:Rethinking Canadian Housing Policy

Just Posted

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road June 10. (Adam Louis/Observer)
One hurt following two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road

Agassiz Fire Department, B.C. Ambulance Service attended with RCMP

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read