Affordable Market Housing

The province is working in partnership with local governments and industry to increase the supply of affordable market rental housing and to bring homeownership within reach of moderate income households, particularly families with children. The goals are simple:

  • To find ways to make housing more affordable
  • To create more choice in the housing market
  • To do so sustainably.

Market vs. Non-Market Housing
When talking about affordable housing, the first thing most people think about is subsidized, or social housing. This is non-market housing that is owned by an organization - a government, non-profit, or co-operative - rather than an individual or private company. Rents and prices are not set by the market. Generally, to be eligible, an applicant’s income must be below certain limits.

Market housing is privately owned – with prices established by the market. Ninety-five percent (95%) of British Columbians live in market housing, either as homeowners or tenants in a rental property.

Housing is generally considered affordable when the cost does not exceed 30% of household income. This is the general guideline for social and subsidized housing in British Columbia and the approximate percentage lenders use to determine what a family can afford to borrow when purchasing a home.

Role of government

Creating affordable market housing is a joint responsibility. Residents need to embrace diversity in the type of housing built in their neighbourhoods and governments at all levels need to develop strategies and actions that encourage responsible growth and meet housing demands.

  Local Government
  • Zoning - establishing pre-zoned land for development and higher density transit corridors
  • Housing-friendly regulatory environment – such as allowing secondary suites and promoting increased density
  • Regional Growth Strategies and Community Plans that encourage affordable units
  • Targetted reductions for Development Cost Charges and permitting fees
  • Property Tax incentives
   Provincial Government
  • Stewardship of the building code, creating efficiencies that make it easier for communities to approve options such as secondary suites
  • Uniform technical standards that simplify Building Code compliance.
  • Streamlined regulatory environment for provincial approvals.
  • Targetted rent supplements to keep the cost of private market rentals affordable for low to moderate income working families
  • Effective regulation of real estate development and marketing, home warranty insurance, and landlord-tenant relations to protect buyers and renters
  • Public transit investments
  • Financial Assistance, such as the First Time Homebuyers Bonus, Home Owner Grants and the Seniors Home Renovation Tax Credit.
  Federal Government
  • Mortgage insurance to assist homeowners with lower down payments
  • Financial support and tax incentives for purpose-built rentals and entry level home ownership