Monday, June 6, 2016

Linking affordable housing to household income - Part 1

There is a lot of talk about the lack of affordable housing in Metro Vancouver. The Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation defines affordable housing as costing less than 30% of before-tax household income. One of the things that hasn’t been explored much in the media is the link between housing costs and household income.

For example, Langley City has the lowest household income in the region outside of Electoral Area A. The median income in 2010 was $31,040. Vancouver had a median income of $41,433. This metric is a coarse; you need to also look at household income bands.

The follow graphs show household income bands in South of Fraser communities, and what the upper limit of housing costs would be for people within those income bands. Housing costs include mortgage payments, strata fees, and property tax, or rent. It does not include transportation costs which also plays a large roll in affordability.

2010 percentage of households in income bands. Select chart to enlarge.

Upper limit of affordable housing costs by income bands. Select chart to enlarge.

As you can see, affordable housing means different things to different groups of people. Affordable housing can and should come in various styles and price points. The affordable housing mix in the Township of Langley should be different than the City of Langley.

Tomorrow, I’ll explore if the current market rental supply is affordable based on household income bands and housing types.

All information is from the March 2016 edition of the Metro Vancouver Housing Data Book.

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