Here’s The Data Every BC Voter Needs To Make A Decision This Week

Here’s The Data Every BC Voter Needs To Make A Decision This Week

Still undecided on who you’re voting for this week in the British Columbia election? We’ve compiled some data points on the current Liberal administration’s performance, to help you sort out the issues related to housing. Everything from real estate prices to the wage growth, so you data loving voters can make an informed decision.

Real Estate Prices Soared

Everyone in BC knows real estate prices are up, but just how much are they up compared to the rest of the country? The price of a benchmark home in Vancouver, that is a typical home with luxury bias removed, is up 38.62% from 2013 to 2016. In Victoria, prices rose 32% during the same period. To contrast, a composite index of 11 major Canadian urban centers has prices up 25.10% from 2013 to 2016. Great news for homeowners, bad for aspiring homeowners.

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling Calculations.

Rental Inventory Declined

Rental inventory has rapidly decayed over this past term in British Columbia. Purpose built rentals in BC had available inventory of 2.5% in 2013, which dropped to 1.4% by 2016. This represents a 44% decline across the province. The province didn’t exactly have huge inventory to start with, but the rapid population increase is making it darn near impossible to find a rental building.

This number was even stronger in large population centers. Vancouver saw a 58% decline in rental inventory, dropping the rental vacancy rate to 0.7% over the period of 2013 – 2016. As bad as that is, Victoria saw rental vacancies drop 78% to just 0.5% during the same period. If you’re a landlord, awesome – you can now charge a premium on your home. However, those voters that are renting or about to rent, take note that rental inventory in the city is a major issue.

Source: CMHC, October Historical Rental Survey.

Social Housing Waitlist Grew

The social housing waitlist has continued to increase. By the end of 2016, Metro Vancouver had 10,469 people waiting for affordable housing, an 11% increase from 2013. This is slightly slower than the three years prior, where it increased by 26%. The good news is the wait list isn’t growing as quickly this term as last. The bad news? Metro Vancouver is minting a new homeless person every 30 hours.

Source: Metro Vancouver.

Household Savings Declined

Households are saving less than they were in 2013. According to the BC Ministry of Finance, the household savings rate was -0.2% in 2013, which means people had to withdraw 20 cents of savings for every $100 made. By 2015, that number experienced a 400% change…downward to -1%. This means two years later, households are spending a dollar from savings for every $100 made. To contrast, the rest of the country is saving 5% of their household disposable income. 2016 wasn’t available, but there’s little reason to believe that number improved last year. Looking at the chart, it actually looks like the average BC resident hasn’t been saving much since 1996.

Source: Ministry of Finance (BC).

Unemployment Remained Low

Employment is one of the strongest points from the Clark government. At the end of 2013, unemployment stood at a solid 6.7%. By the end of 2016, that number dropped to 5.8%. To contrast, Canada had a 7.2% rate of unemployment in 2013, and that dropped to 6.9% by the end of 2016. This is actually a pretty solid win in their books.

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey.

Wages Grew, Just Not As Fast As The Rest of The Country

Wages in BC have grown, but not as fast as the rest of Canada. From the end of 2013 to the end of 2016, the average hourly wage in the province grew 4.39% to $25.43. That’s a little behind the national average that grew 6.43% to $25.97 over the same period. For a province that has placed a premium on housing you would think wages would at least be on par with the rest of Canada.

Breaking that number down, there were a few notable exceptions to the rule. Hourly wages in the sector of Information, culture, and recreation grew 23.7% in BC, Canada lagged at 6.57%. The average hourly wages in Utilities grew 18.35%, higher than the national average of 9.71%. Forestry, fishing, and mining average wages also grew 16.19% in BC, with the average across the country only rising 9.74%.

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey.

These data points aren’t positive or negative by themselves, it largely depends upon your personal context. Rising home prices are great if you’re a homeowner, rough if you’re trying to get into the market. Your industry may have stagnating wages, but if you work in one of the industries that are booming, you’re probably pretty happy. Either way, good luck at the polls, and drop us a comment to let us know what you think the most important issue is this election.

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  • BC Libs 2017 6 years ago

    Thank you for realizing that not all of these issues impact everyone. The sudden rise in home prices is a windfall. It’s unfortunate that a number of young people are locked out of the market, but this administration did improve the wealth of a lot of people, and I personally would be happy to see them have another 4 years.

    • Dave 6 years ago

      I think you missed that the Liberals have overseen BC residents save less and less every year since 1996. I doubt the NDP could do more damage to the middle class than the current administration.

    • Gut Crooked Clark 6 years ago

      Only the most self-involved, narcissistic financial illiterate would see the world’s most grotesque housing bubble as a “windfall.” This is not only a glaring example of why financial education needs to be taught as early as high school, but also why the bubble has got as toxic as it has. When facepalm-levels of imbecility of this caliber still spouts that “this administration did improve the wealth of a lot of people” it’s easy to understand why the average voter has been a sucker for the heinous BC Liberals. This is also why we desperately NEED a housing crash. Moronic minds like this need to be educated about what happens when bubbles pop.

    • Matt 6 years ago

      Don’t worry bro.. Once you realize that your dollar is worth 50c to the US, your rise in property prices will mean nothing at the world stage, and wipe out the savings of many Canadians. Thats what can happen if there is no immediate crash. If Canada cannot follow the US in raising rates, that will kill the currency up here. The liberals would then continue to “strip” out inflation contributors as they have in the past, just to stay away from using rate hikes to combat inflation. Dirty government.

  • Liberals Suck 6 years ago

    That social housing waitlist should say it all. If you’re not ponying up money for this government, get out of its way. Can’t wait until the NDPs bring some common sense back to this government.

  • I'll Never Vote NDP 6 years ago

    The NDP has been pretty good with shooting down Liberal performance, but never talks about the things they’ll do. Sure, raise the foreign buyer tax to 100%, it doesn’t solve the issue that young people don’t make enough to enter this market. They have no job creation plan, they’re hoping to make union positions stronger.

    • Josh 6 years ago

      You clearly didn’t read the NDP platform. They have a plan to specifically address housing supply by creating local jobs with local materials. It’s one of the pillars of their plan.

  • Iris Kirkwood 6 years ago

    The biggest liabilities the B.C. Liberal Party (Social Credit Party)
    has is Christie Clark.

  • Jeff Bay Street 6 years ago

    Very objective statistics and telling numbers. Good job Stephen!

  • Thomas 6 years ago

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂

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