That’s the warning from the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) which says that households earning around the median pre-tax income in Greater Vancouver in 2016 put 87.1% of that towards owning a home. That was a 14.5% increase from a year earlier.
Affordability was slightly better in Victoria but owning a home there still took more than half of the income of a median-wage earner.
"The deterioration of housing affordability in southern B.C. is discouraging potential homebuyers," said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, "With the average worker earning less than $55,000 a year, it is difficult for individuals to become homeowners and maintain a decent lifestyle.”
Mathison added that even with the measures taken to cool the real estate market recently, there is still a steady increase in real estate demand and prices, further impacting southern B.C.'s livability.
Mortgages account for around three-quarters of consumer borrowing in BC but overall consumer debt per capita also increased by 5.0% last year to $62,395, the highest level in Canada.
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Average households in southern parts of British Columbia are struggling with debts and rising housing costs and consumer credit levels that are making homeownership even less affordable.