Real Estate experts say housing market “very affordable,” but not everyone’s convinced

If prices have increased so drastically, why does the BCNREB say we’re affordable? It comes down to how we’re doing relative to other markets. For example, if you compare Housing Affordability Indicators (HAI) between Northern B.C. and Vancouver, Northern B.C.’s sits at 32.9% and Prince George is at 35.5%, while Vancouver is a staggering 137.0%. The HAI is a metric saying how much of an average household’s income would be needed for all the costs associated with home ownership.

“Looking at the Prince George market compared to other areas, you can still get a lot more for your money here than you can somewhere else. So if we’re looking at it from that lens, all of a sudden you see ‘ok, it is more affordable for me to buy a home here as opposed to over in this other area,” said Team Powerhouse Realty Managing Broker Janine Phillips.

The BCNREB’s report would later state that for a home to be affordable it should have an HAI of 30% or below, so by that metric Prince George and most Northern B.C. communities actually aren’t affordable after all. However, Phillips again stressed the importance of thinking how we’re doing relative to other areas. While it’s undeniable prices in Northern B.C. have seen a significant jump, Phillips added most communities have seen jumps too, so it’s not just a situation exclusive to us.

“when we’re talking to buyers and sellers, we need to really look at what’s happening right now. There were still people buying and selling when the interest rates were significantly higher in the past year or so. And compared to that, interest rates now are more affordable. So again, we’re looking at that snapshot approach, what’s happening today in Prince George, B.C. or northern B.C. What can you get for your money right now,” Phillips added.

While all of this may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that some community members remain unimpressed with the affordability of Prince George.

“In previous years, houses in Prince George and other northern communities have been fairly affordable, but now it’s becoming increasingly hard for new families or new people in these communities to get homes, to buy homes,” Hanlon said.

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