Shelter costs up according to latest census data release

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 31 2017

The housing numbers from the 2016 Census have been released by Statistics Canada (StatsCan) - showing 25.8% of Area B residents are spending more than 30% of their total income on shelter costs.

Area B being Gabriola, Mudge, and Decourcy Islands.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says housing is considered affordable if shelter costs account for less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income.

In 2011, 19.3% of residents in non-farm dwellings were spending more than 30% of their income on shelter.

Average monthly shelter costs have gone up 11% for owners and 13.4% for renters since 2011. Up to $722 per month from $651 for owners and up to $811 from $751 for renters.

 In British Columbia, average owner shelter costs per month were up 12.9% to $1,387 while renters went up 16.8% to $1,149.

According to the latest numbers, there were 2,140 households listed in Area B. In 2006, there were 1,980.

82.9% of the people living in those residences in 2016 were owners. From the other angle, that means 17.1% of Area B residents are renting. In 2006, 85.3% of homes were lived in by the owners.

Outside Area B, ownership was at 69.8% for Nanaimo; 68% for British Columbia; and 67.8% for Canada. Parksville - at 81.9% - had the highest percentage of ownership for BC Municipalities over 5,000 in population.

Skewing the numbers somewhat is that StatsCan does not always get told in a census of those who are living in an illegal dwelling (eg. a suite built above a detached garage on a property under 5 acres in size).

In addition, StatsCan has some accessory buildings on Gabriola designated as residences even though such buildings are not used or legal to use as secondary dwellings.

8.6% of Area B residents said their households were in major need of repairs. Beyond that, 1.6% of residents said they were not living in suitable housing.