Despite some progress to cool the housing market somewhat in recent years, housing remains nowhere near affordable, particularly for young people. Far too many British Columbians have struggled to find affordable homes to rent and have been shut out of the housing market.
There is much more that we need to do to ensure that our housing is affordable for people who live and work in our cities, and isn’t being treated as a vehicle for speculators to profit from.
We need to begin with a clear goal on affordability and an action plan to achieve it. Our goal is that everyone has a home that they can afford and that meets their needs. To achieve this we need a comprehensive suite of policies to deal with the housing affordability crisis for all.
As a first step, we need to do more to support B.C. renters, who are facing sky-high rents and escalating cost of living. In BC, 43% of renter households pay more than 30% of their income in rent. This is having significant adverse effects on their mental health and wellbeing and makes it more difficult to save and plan for the future.
The rising cost of strata insurance is also a significant stressor for condo owners. In the last year we have seen a huge leap in the cost of insurance - in some cases doubling or tripling. While work is done to look into the root causes of the spike in rates, we must take steps to ensure British Columbians on fixed incomes are not out of their homes.
We also need to work with local governments to expand our supply of more diverse forms of more affordable housing, including co-op housing, affordable rentals, and the missing middle, such as townhouses and triplexes. And we need to tighten up our laws and policies to close loopholes and reduce speculation in our market.
Expand access to diverse housing
Take further steps to expand diverse forms of housing in our communities and ensure that our housing is affordable for people who live and work in our cities. These steps include:
Support for renters
Introduce a rental supplement that will:
Deal with the rising cost of strata insurance
- The taskforce should include insurance brokers, insurers and strata owners.