According to a study released by Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity), many of the young families who do manage to buy a starter home end up trapped in spaces that are too small.
“Buying a suitable house isn’t affordable for most families,” said Vancity’s vice-president of impact market development, Andy Broderick.
“And the relatively more affordable options like three-bedroom townhomes and row houses are limited and rarely available for purchase, further compounding the problem.”
The study found that 91 per cent of apartments had a maximum of two bedrooms. The most suitable choice for families, according to the study, is a three-bedroom attached property like a townhouse or row house, but these properties comprise only 9% of all homes across Metro Vancouver. These units have a turnover rate of 9.5 per cent which means only 0.86 per cent of all homes across the region are both adequate for young families and actually available for purchase.
This doesn’t even take affordability into account; when the study looked at what these homes cost and compared this with the average income of young families in Metro Vancouver, the problem became even more pronounced.
Across the region, families who wish to move from a one-bedroom apartment or condo to a three-bedroom home with an attached yard would have to increase their debt level by an average of 95 per cent. In Vancouver’s West Side, this jumps to 158%. In the city’s East Side, it is a much lower 78 per cent. The biggest jump is found in White Rock, where debt levels would increase by an average of 164 per cent.
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For many young families in Vancouver, moving past the first step on the property ladder has become next to impossible.