Metro Vancouver Residents Believe Region is in the Midst of a Major Housing Crisis

Foreign home buyers, population growth, shadow flipping and money laundering are seen as the primary causes.

Vancouver, BC – Metro Vancouver residents overwhelmingly agree that the region is facing a housing crisis and largely blame foreign home buyers, local population growth, shadow flipping and money laundering for the current situation, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample, nine-in-ten Metro Vancouverites (90%) decisively agree that we are in the midst of a housing crisis, including 64% who “strongly agree”. While the level of agreement on this is high across all groups, it is almost unanimous among residents earning less than $40,000 a year (98%) and those who are renting their home (97%).

When evaluating a list of factors that may be contributing to the housing crisis, more than seven-in-ten Metro Vancouverites point to foreign home buyers (84%), overall population growth in Metro Vancouver (80%), shadow flipping (76%) and money laundering (73%) as the primary causes.

Factors that are also seen to be significantly contributing to the housing crisis include: city and municipal zoning bylaws (63%), immigration (58%), lack of available land due to the natural geography (53%) and interprovincial migration (46%). Fewer residents blame the limited supply due to the agricultural land reserve (24%) as having an impact on the current housing situation.

“There is no doubt that Metro Vancouver residents believe that we are in a major crisis when it comes to housing, and the issue is dominating public opinion and the public agenda,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “What is surprising though are the misconceptions that exist with respect to the culprits and causes of this crisis,” Steve believes. “As the housing situation reaches crisis proportions, there is no shortage of scapegoats to blame, despite studies that show foreign buyers and money laundering are minor factors in the equation.”

Housing affordability is seen as the number one issue currently facing British Columbia by almost half of Metro Vancouver residents (48%), echoing the results from our province-wide poll (47%) released last week for our bi-annual “BC Government Report Card”. However, younger Metro Vancouverites, aged 18-34, are significantly more concerned (72%) about the issue than their older counterparts (41% of those aged 35-54 and 33% of those aged 55+).

While most Metro Vancouverites (59%) say they have been negatively impacted by the current housing situation, more than four-in-five of those aged 18-34 (83%) and those that are currently renting (87%) report this to be the case. In fact, a third of renters (35%) describe the housing situation as having a “significant negative impact” on them personally, while a similar number (34%) report it is having a “medium negative impact” and 18% say it is having a “minor negative impact”.

Surprisingly, many homeowners do not feel the housing situation is impacting them in a positive way despite increases in their personal net worth due to increasing assessment values. Only 26% feel that it has had a positive impact, while a third (33%) say there is no impact at all, and the remaining 41% feel it has impacted them in a negative way.

A factor that is often cited as a contributor to Metro Vancouver’s housing crisis is a shortage in the number of available units in the rental market. Of the one-in-six homeowners (17%) that report having a secondary suite in their home, only half (54%) say they are currently being occupied by a renter, while the remaining 46% are currently not renting their suite out.

Metro Vancouver home owners cite the following as the primary reasons for not renting out their available suites: using the secondary suite for other purposes (57%), not wanting to share their house with strangers (34%) and saving their secondary suite for guests (26%). Suite owners also note the hassle of renting the suite (20%) and say they don’t need the extra money (15%).

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 10 to July 12, 2018, among 561 adult residents of Metro Vancouver, who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.1 percentage points. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations (weighted sample sizes are shown in brackets).

The Angus Reid Forum is comprised of over 35,000 Canadians who share their opinions on a variety of political, economic, social and other issues while earning the opportunity to get paid and win great prizes. If you’re interested in joining, please register at angusreidforum.com.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778 379 1140
stevemossop@insightswest.com