Affordability Flip-Flop

Date
29.05.2013
Words by
REW Editor
Affordability Flip-Flop hero image
Factor in the cost of transportation and suddenly neighbourhoods that seem unaffordable start looking a lot easier on the budget. And vice versa.

Factor in the cost of transportation, and suddenly, expensive Vancouver-area neighbourhoods start to look a lot easier on the budget. And vice versa.

Sometimes a new perspective comes along that turns traditional thinking on its head.

A common refrain is that less than 30% of income should be spent on housing. But what about transportation costs, asks the Center for Neighbourhood Technology, an international urban think-tank. It's proposing a new affordability index based on combined housing and transportation costs accounting for less than 45% of income.

Lee Haber is a Masters student in the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC. In a recent SpacingVancouver article, "Driving Up the CostA New Perspective on Affordability in Vancouver,"he applies that standard to see what happens when you factor in the cost of transportation from the less-expensive suburbs into the city.

How does this affect housing affordability in and around Vancouver?

When he compares the old-style affordability model with the housing-plus-transportation index, an unexpected switch occurs: nine desirable city-centre areas actually become more affordable and 49 suburban neighbourhoods become further out of reach!

The study says, "The most affordable areas in the region were found to be the West End and Metrotown, whereas the least were found at the periphery in Surrey, Coquitlam, Port Moody and West Vancouver."

How do we keep Metro Vancouver affordable? As you'd expect, walkability and access to transit are critical in helping to keep living expenses down. Projects like the Evergreen Line and Surrey rapid transit will help make homes along their routes truly affordable. Read the original article here.

See also: Richmond News: "Young People Not Sold on Home Ownership" Globe and Mail: Urban Change Comes to Surrey

Sometimes a new perspective comes along that turns traditional thinking on its head.

A common refrain is that less than 30% of income should be spent on housing. But what about transportation costs, asks the Center for Neighbourhood Technology, an international urban think-tank. It's proposing a new affordability index based on combined housing and transportation costs accounting for less than 45% of income.

Lee Haber is a Masters student in the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC. In a recent SpacingVancouver article, "Driving Up the CostA New Perspective on Affordability in Vancouver,"he applies that standard to see what happens when you factor in the cost of transportation from the less-expensive suburbs into the city.

How does this affect housing affordability in and around Vancouver?

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