Here’s how expensive it is to live in Port Coquitlam


City Council will consider a housing study that plans to add 5,550 units over the next 10 years, more than a third of which are rental units.

Investor alert, cash cow,… do you think these are overstated terms for homes in East Vancouver or Kitsilano?

Think again.

These terms are commonly used for single-family homes marketed in Port Coquitlam to investors, as buying a home in the city is increasingly difficult for anyone who doesn’t have a huge nest egg or plans to invest. .

Meanwhile, renters, many of whom occupy older homes slated for redevelopment, are paying increasingly higher rents and could risk losing their homes when developers sell.

Port Coquitlam has focused on housing affordability in recent years, with three major rental projects underway, encouraging infill by allowing development on small lots, taking action against predatory renovations, establishing a neighborhood focused on public transit and encouraging the development of low-rise condominiums in its downtown area. core, among others.

But despite these efforts, a new housing study compiled by Urban Matters, which will be considered by council on Tuesday (February 8), chronicles the struggle many face to rent, buy or stay in the city.

The study, funded by a $50,000 grant, responds to a provincial request from municipalities to provide more housing data.

Port Moody carried out a similar housing report in September, which concluded that the housing situation in the city was “bleak”.

PRICE OUT OF TOWN?

In Port Coquitlam, housing affordability is becoming a major concern.

The following quote, an excerpt from the report, shows a typical story:

“We love Port Coquitlam. We were very lucky to find our current home before the rental costs got ridiculous. We can’t move anymore because we’d be doubling our rent. We can only hope our landlord doesn’t. don’t sell.”

According to the report:

  • Port Coquitlam has one of the highest homeownership rates in Metro Vancouver, but the number of homeowners is down 80-77% (most recent 2016 numbers available)
  • More and more tenants…
    • Renter households are growing faster than owner households with a growth rate of 32% between 2006 and 2016
    • The number of renter households increased by 1,215, nearly three times the 12% growth rate of owner households
  • Rents have gone up…
    • Median rents were relatively stable from 2011 to 2015, before starting to increase in 2016
    • Between 2011 and 2020, the overall median rent for purpose-built rental units in Port Coquitlam increased by 70%, from $825 to $1,400.
  • More and more tenants are living in what is called the secondary market, secondary suites or apartments owned by others
    • “In 2016, only 11% of tenant households were served by purpose-built rentals, meaning most tenants in Port Coquitlam are in the secondary market, including rental homes, rental condominiums or suites. secondary.”

“While the secondary market is an extremely important source of housing, it is often less secure over the long term than purpose-built rental,” the report notes.

Meanwhile, a couple with children with a median income of $149,496 would be expected to pay $4,492 per month for a purchased home, about 23% more than they can afford.

Additionally, many low-income people – who spend more than 30% of their income on housing – fall through the cracks.

This includes seniors on fixed incomes, whose numbers are increasing, single-parent families and newcomers, the report says.

An estimated 300 people are at risk of homelessness in the Tri-Cities, in addition to the 86 who were counted as homeless in 2020, and 292 individuals and families are waiting for subsidized housing, an increase of 87% since 2013.

WHERE DOES THE PROBLEM BEGIN?

You don’t have to look far to see how the housing market is changing in Port Coquitlam.

A local homes for sale website shows how the once stable domestic market is in transition.

Of 31 single-family homes listed for sale this week on online real estate website REW, none were under $1.1 million and many were for investment properties while others sold had multiple units that were rented.

Here is what the report says:

Between 2010 and 2020, average home sales prices in PoCo have increased by 60% for a single-family home, 71% for townhomes and townhouses, and 68% for apartments/condominiums.

Meanwhile, the number of affordable homes for those earning the median income fell from 46% to 18% between 2013 and 2018, highlighting the affordability issue for those who dream of owning a home in Port Coquitlam.

WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS ?

The housing study concluded that to meet the needs of the PoCo population, an additional 5,500 housing units (or 550 per year) are needed over the next 10 years.

From these:

  • 1,790 new units will be needed for tenants
  • 3,740 for owners

PoCo’s current rate of development, according to the report, is about 300 homes per year, which is significantly below projected needs.

But there are challenges, because although a land capacity analysis found that these additional units can be accommodated under existing OCP designations at full construction, there are many constraints, including the owner’s desire to expand or redevelop, the financial feasibility of a project and contextual factors, such as land assembly.

Port Coquitlam council is expected to review the housing study on Tuesday and staff are expected to follow up with recommendations.

You can Click here to watch the regular 2 p.m. public meeting virtually.

Some of the report’s suggestions for the city include the following:

  • Adopt a condominium conversion policy, rental replacement policy and/or residential rental zoning
  • Incentives for the development of new rental properties, including accelerated processing times and reductions in parking requirements near major transit areas
  • Review and update bonus density and inclusive zoning policies
  • Increase development opportunities for townhouses and small lots
  • Consider pre-zoning plots for higher density in strategic locations
  • Consider opportunities to allow additional forms of accommodation such as lockable suites in townhouses, secondary suites in duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes
  • Identify areas to intensify with diverse and varied housing developments, such as those with aging housing stock
  • Partner with other levels of government to develop land for supportive and affordable housing
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