Langley City has the most affordable housing in the Lower Mainland, a new study suggests. Undated image

Langley City has most affordable housing: study

Housing costs less, but that won’t last, mayor warns

A new study has found Langley City has the most affordable housing in the Lower Mainland, but it is becoming less of a bargain.

The just-released report “Home Stretch: Comparing housing affordability in B.C.’s hottest markets” by Vancity rated the smaller of the two Langleys as number one among the 10 most affordable municipalities in the Lower Mainland, with a median price of $271,250 for all property types (detached, attached and condo apartments), requiring 18.4 per cent of an average household monthly income to cover mortgage costs, property taxes and maintenance costs.

That compared to West Vancouver, number one on the list of the 10 least affordable municipalities, with a median price of $2.8 million, requiring double an average monthly income to cover the mortgage, taxes and maintenance.

Langley City mayor Ted Schaffer was pleased, but not surprised by the numbers, and warned the prices will likely go up as house hunters head for the City.

“I am expecting the prices to go up as the word gets out about the City of Langley and what it has to offer,” Schaffer said.

“There is affordable housing here, good shopping, and all the amenities.”

Langley Township a different story

Langley Township made the list of the 10 least affordable communities at number 10, with a median price of $625,000 requiring 42.5 per cent of an average monthly income.

The Township recorded a 29 per cent drop in affordability, just below North Vancouver District (38 per cent) and Delta (31 per cent).

The report tracked the affordability of 30 municipalities over a one-year period ending in February of this year.

On average, homes in the Lower Mainland were 15 per cent less affordable in 2017 than they were in 2016.

Detached homes racked up the biggest increases.

Regionally, the median price of a detached home now stands at $988,000, while the price of an attached home (townhouse) was $482,000 and the median price of apartments was $390,000.

In Langley City, the same categories are roughly one-third to one-quarter less.

The median price for a City detached house was $715,000, the price of an attached home was $344,250 and the median price of apartments was $225,000.

The report described the City as a “veritable pocket of affordability.”

Langley Township was a different story, with affordability dropping “sharply” in 2016, with the typical home now requiring 43 pert cent of household income.

Township apartments were the “most resilient in terms of affordability” becoming just 10 per cent less affordable and requiring just 21 per cent of household income.

Where affordability begins

Within the Lower Mainland, the report said, an attached dwelling starts to become affordable in Surrey, increasing east through the Fraser Valley.

Apartments “were affordable anywhere east of Boundary Road, the border between Vancouver and the rest of the region.”

The areas most affected by a drop in affordability were suburban municipalities outside of Vancouver where buyers have traditionally looked for more affordable housing options.

“Buyers looking for affordable housing options used to be able to look to municipalities around Vancouver to find affordable options,” said Ryan McKinley, Vancity’s senior mortgage development manager.

“While pockets of affordability still exist, they are disappearing as prices in the Fraser Valley and other parts of B.C. continue to rise.”

Only two of the 30 municipalities – Richmond and White Rock – saw affordability improve over the same period, increasing by one per cent overall.

The widespread decrease in affordability came despite a cooling of sales in Metro Vancouver market after the province imposed a 15-per-cent property transfer tax on foreign nationals’ purchases of residential real estate.

RELATED: B.C. imposes foreign buyer tax on Metro real estate

The report shows the tax impact was felt at the top end, among properties $4 million or more (mostly detached homes), which saw drops of 68 per cent in the eight months following the introduction of the new tax.