Housing Affordability and Rental Concerns in B.C.

August 11, 2023

Housing affordability has been a concern in B.C. for quite some time. In April 2023, a Vancouver Sun article revealed that Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada for renters.

From August 4 to 7, 2023, we surveyed B.C. residents about their perceptions of increasing rental costs, worries about paying their rent/mortgage, agreement with potential government actions to improve the rental situation in B.C., and more.

SOME OF THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR SURVEY ABOUT HOUSING AFFORDABILITY INCLUDE…

CONCERNS ABOUT HOUSING AFFORDABILITY AND RENT/MORTGAGE PAYMENTS

  • Concerns about rental affordability in B.C. are extremely high, with 94% of British Columbians considering it a very or somewhat serious problem (71% very serious). 
  • Housing affordability concerns, however, are not confined to renters. 58% of renters have worried about their ability to pay their rent in the last few months, with mortgage holders (62%) worrying about how to pay their mortgage just as often.
  • 20% of British Columbians who own their primary residence have rental space that they are not currently renting, and 15% could turn part of their space into something rentable, but have not.

AGREEMENT WITH POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT ACTIONS TO IMPROVE THE RENTAL SITUATION IN B.C

  • The majority of B.C. residents support all mentioned initiatives that government could bring forward to help address the rental situation in BC. The strongest support among the six ideas tested is for providing incentives for developers (82% support) and government-supplied affordable housing (80%), while disincentives against short-term rentals (62%) were least supported.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY

  • 1,000 British Columbia residents aged 18 or older were surveyed online using Leger’s LEO online panel from August 4 to 7, 2023.
  • Using data from the 2021 Census, the results were weighted by region in B.C., age, gender, education, and presence of children in the household to ensure a representative sample of the population.
  • A margin of error should not be associated with a non-probability sample. However, for comparison purposes, a probability sample of 1,000 respondents would have a margin of error of ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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