large arrow left large arrow right large arrow down medium arrow right small arrow left small arrow right small arrow up small arrow down email facebook facebook instagram twitter download chevron up chevron down

The 2015 $1 million Line for Single Family Residential Properties in Metro Vancouver

Andrew Yan September 15, 2015
Urban Research




Building upon the previous BTAworks $1 million line maps for the City of Vancouver, this map series expands the map area to cover the $1 million line for single family homes in Metro Vancouver for the 2014 and 2015 BC Assessments. With statistics and spatial data sets attained from BC Assessment, the Integrated Cadastral Information Society, and Metro Vancouver, the data was attained on an academic license through the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning where Andy Yan is also an adjunct professor. A special thanks to Tsur Somerville and his team for assembling the BC Assessment datasets!

Please note that, through data cleaning and editing on an expanded regional Geographic Information Systems spatial data and tabular Assessment dataset, calculations within these maps will slightly differ from previous BTAworks analyses on the City of Vancouver. Instead of using categories for Single Family Residences as defined by the City of Vancouver’s RS zoning, this map series uses BC Assessment’s “Actual Use Category Name” category of “S/F Res” which in addition to “Single Family Dwellings” which does include single unit owned “Duplexes”. Hence with a greater population as a denominator, assessment statistics in this analysis for the City of Vancouver will be generally smaller than previous entries.

The total assessment value which is the aggregate of land and structure values from the 2015 BC Assessment is used to categorize S/F Res properties as either above or under $1 million. While known as the 2015 Assessment, these values reflect a valuation made in July 2014. Note that Total Assessment Values for S/F Res properties worth a total of less than $100,000 were excluded in the map and value calculations. Certain calculations will differ between graphs due to rounding.

A special extension of this map series is the inclusion of estimated lifetime transportation costs to the total assessment values. Derived from the recently published (and magnificent) Metro Vancouver Housing and Transportation Cost Burden Study, these maps illustrate how housing values shift once transportation costs are accounted for. In an “H” (Housing) + “T” (Transportation) approach, it looks of connects housing affordability with transportation costs. Transportation costs are often excluded from housing costs of which provides a skewed impression on the actual costs of household maintenance. What initially seems like affordable single family residential housing away from the urban core and in a car dependent suburban location can be deceptive as it excludes the total costs of transportation of living in such communities.

The average annual 2011 transportation costs faced by working households who are owners with mortgages by municipalities was multiplied by 25 and 30 to reflect the possible lifetime costs of transportation for households in these municipalities and added to the total values of each properties in each municipality. Admittedly, this is a blunt means of transportation cost calculations, but, with further refinement, it is expected to better reflect the real total costs of living away from the town centers of the region and, in most cases, being car dependent. Future refinements such as using Net Present Value for lifetime transportation costs will likely further add more pressures of transportation costs onto housing values.  Note that the transportation data for Anmore, Belcarra, Lions Bay, Bowen Island, and Tsawwassen First Nation were not shown due to data reliability considerations.





Some key observations are:

  • 28 percent (111,659) of all Single Family Residences in Metro Vancouver had a total assessment of more than $1,000,000 in 2014
  • With the composition of Single Family Residences for each municipality, 100 percent of the Single Family Residences in the University Endowment Lands are valued at over $1 million followed the District of West Vancouver (95 percent), the City of Vancouver (62%), the Village of Belcarra (60%), the Village of Anmore (60%), and District of North Vancouver (50%).
  • From 2014 to 2015, the number of $1 million Single Family Residences in Metro Vancouver increased by 23 percent from 91,000 properties in 2014 to 111,659 properties in 2015.
  • The five largest percentage increases in the number of $1 million and above homes were found in the District of Maple Ridge (96% – 54 in 2014 to 106 in 2015), City of Port Moody (81% – 320 to 578), City of Port Coquitlam (79% – 43 to 73), the City of New Westminster (64% – 308 to 504), and the City of North Vancouver (52% – 1,221 to 1,858) Note that the City of Langley at 150% had the highest percentage growth in $1 million properties, but the growth comes from a small base of 2 in 2014 to 5 in 2015.
  • When transportation costs are accounted for over a 25 and 30 year basis, the number of single family properties worth over $1 million for various municipalities suddenly change.
  • For municipalities in the Township of Langley, the number of $1 million dollar homes increase 25 times from 3 percent to 75 percent, City of Port Coquitlam increases from 1 percent to 35 percent, and now more than a third to over a half of single family homes are now valued over $1 million.
  • When the H+T formula is applied to the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, and North Vancouver, the $1 million nearly disappears as all single family residences are worth over $1 million for the entire municipality.