New numbers from researcher Andy Yan of Bing Thom Architects found 91 per cent of homes in Vancouver are now valued over $1 million and around one-third are worth more than $2 million.
Wages, however, have failed to keep up with home prices.
The average price of a detached home in Greater Vancouver in 2005 was about $600,000. In December 2015, it was about $1.65 million, an increase of 175 per cent.
Compare those numbers with Stats Canada data on wages over the closest time period available: In 2003, household income in Vancouver was just under $83,000. Ten years later, it was $100,000, an increase of just 20 per cent.
Experts say sky-high prices and stagnant wages are changing the fabric of the city.
“As housing becomes more unaffordable, people just aren’t having enough children. What we’re seeing is that that’s having a cascading effect over to our school system. That’s representing a major challenge,” Yan said.
A new Museum of Vancouver exhibition titled Your Future Home: Creating the New Vancouver explores the real estate issue.
“This exhibition begins that question, now what?” Yan said. “How you stop this is actually a series of local, provincial and federal policies that looks at both supply and demand for housing. I would emphasize that it’s also looking at what kinds of demands we want to support and what kinds of demands we want to de-incentivize.”
This week’s Conference Board of Canada meeting in Vancouver heard how one of the biggest obstacles facing local businesses is the high cost of housing for employees.
Business leaders spoke about the inability to recruit the talent a company needs to go beyond a startup.
“We need to make it affordable for local people and for people who want to come here to live and work, not just to invest. If I had the magic answer to that question, I’d be doing very well,” Vancity President and CEO Tamara Vrooman said.