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Affordability

CRD Housing and Transportation Cost Study

The Capital Regional District (CRD) has released the 2020 Housing and Transportation Cost Estimate Study which examines combined housing and transportation costs as a measure of overall household affordability in the capital region.

Housing affordability has previously defined as families being able to spend less than 30% of their household budget on housing, but this does not reflect the full cost of housing location choices. Transportation costs can be a major household expense depending on where one lives and if one owns a vehicle for primary transportation. As a result, many experts now recommend that affordability be defined as families being able to spend less than 45% of their household budget on housing and transportation combined, called a Housing and Transportation (H&T) Affordability Index.

The CRD study found that the combined housing and transportation costs vary depending on where people live in the region. It found:

  • the cost of vehicle ownership is significant regardless of how much it is used;
  • areas where there are older apartments and condominiums with longer tenant tenure have lower housing costs;
  • transportation costs tend to be lower in areas where more transportation options are available; and,
  • some developing areas in the outer areas of the region show more housing affordability due to land values and availability.

The study indicates that a cheap house is not truly affordable if located in an automobile-dependent area where households must bear high transportation costs, and households can rationally spend more than 30% of their budget for housing located in a walkable urban neighborhood where they can minimize their transportation costs.

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