CPABC: Low housing supply and growing population pushing housing prices up across Vancouver Island

DUNCAN, British Columbia, June 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to BC Check-Up: Live, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on demographic and affordability trends across the province, Vancouver Island and Coast (excluding the Capital Regional District) added 4,747 new residents in 2020, bringing the total population to 456,182 residents.

“The pace of population growth has slowed on across Vancouver Island in recent years, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted typical migration patterns across the globe in 2020,” said Woody Hayes, FCPA, FCA. “Despite the moderation, the Island fared better than the province as a whole and the growth over the past five years is still well above historical norms.”

The region’s population grew by 5.7 per cent between 2016 and 2020, averaging 6,641 new residents per year. That average annual gain was close to twice the average of 3,798 new residents in the region between 2011 and 2015.

In 2020, the region added nearly 3,800 residents from other parts of the province and 2,530 from other provinces. This was offset by a drop in the number of international immigrants, and a continued decline in the natural growth rate (births minus mortalities). In 2020, mortalities exceeded births by over 1,500 people.

“Vancouver Island’s average age of 45.7 is the oldest in the province, and nearly a quarter of the population was 65 and older in 2020. As our region continues to age and birth rates drop, it will be ever the more important to attract new residents, especially younger ones, to the region,” continued Hayes. “However, one significant challenge going forward will be the limited housing supply in the region.”

Over the past five years, 33,207 new residents came to Vancouver Island and Coast (excluding the Capital Regional District), while only 10,718 residential units were completed over the same period. Although the number of units completed has been on the rise in recent years – with the 2,898 completed in 2020 a significantly increase over the 1,703 in 2016 – it has not kept up with demand for housing.

“While the uptick in housing construction activity has been noticeable and welcomed over the past few years, the increase in supply has lagged considerably behind population growth. The type of unit completed has also increasingly been smaller, such as condos and townhomes,” noted Hayes. “This makes it difficult for families to settle in our region.”

Across Vancouver Island, the average single-family home sold for $661,100 in April 2021, up by 22.2 per cent compared to April 2020. The average price for an apartment sold in April 2021 was $343,800, up by 13.6 per cent over April 2020.

“Housing prices have continued to increase in 2021 due to a mix of low supply, rock bottom interest rates, and growing demand for more space,” concluded Hayes. “Home ownership is becoming increasingly out of reach, especially for those most harmed by the pandemic such as those in the hospitality and tourism sector. Considering our region needs to attract families to reinforce our aging population, it will be important to promote further housing activity, in particular larger homes, to make housing less expensive and more available.”

To learn more, see

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 37,000 CPA members and 5,500 CPA candidates and students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.


Contact Data