(The Canadian Press)

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

The British Columbia government says it’s already seeing positive results from the policies it put in place to address the housing crisis, but one expert says there’s still a long way to go.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the government is seeing some high-end house prices starting to drop.

“Right now we’ve got the speculation and empty home taxes, so part of what we need to do is monitor the impact that it has and continue to see what it does,” Robinson said in an interview Sunday.

But Andy Yan, the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, says that while very expensive houses are starting to show a decline in price, the numbers haven’t translated to mid- and lower-level units.

“Sixteen months is a little bit premature to know whether the polices are a success or failure,” Yan said, referring to the approximate time the NDP minority government has been in power.

“But the softening of the market and cooling of the market is something that is definitely happening.”

He said despite that softening, home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families.

READ MORE: B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

To tackle the issue, the provincial government is investing $7 billion on affordable housing over the next 10 years, and has developed a 30-point plan to increase affordability.

However, Yan said some of the announcements made by the government are just that — announcements.

“They are not actual shovels in the ground yet,” he said.

While there is some actual construction going on, he said it’s still going to take years before the promises take the shape of homes that people can move into.

“It will take a combination of supply and demand policies to really get us out of the housing crisis mess,” he said.

Meantime, B.C. Premier John Horgan says the housing crisis didn’t happen overnight — and it won’t resolve overnight.

Addressing attendees at a housing conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Horgan said the government will have to work with partners including Indigenous communities, transgender and social justice advocates and women’s groups to resolve the crisis.

Horgan said it’s not just affecting those who have small incomes, but is creeping into the middle-class too.

He said his government is doing its best to ensure that critical work staff such as teachers, nurses and construction workers have houses so that they can build the economy.

British Columbia should not be a place to fear because of unaffordable housing, Horgan said.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

UPDATED: Some states of local emergency suspended by ministerial order

Suspension applies to regional districts but not First Nations

A letter from Bella Coola doctors on COVID-19: ‘All our lives depend on your actions now’

“None of us are invincible; we can all get it and spread it without even knowing.”

COVID-19: Bella Coola RCMP close detachment front door access

The public is being asked to call 250 799 5363 for assistance

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read