Prince George saw the biggest increases in housing costs in decades in 2021, a report going to city council on Monday shows.
An update to the city’s 2021 Housing Needs Report, completed in December 2022 using 2021 Census data, showed the cost of renting or buying a home in Prince George rose sharply in 2021.
“Rents continued to rise between 2020 and 2021, with 2021 seeing the greatest increase in average total rents (7.7%) in the past decade. The vacancy rate in Prince George has further declined from 3% in 2020 to 2.2% in 2021,” the report says. “Between 2020 and 2021 the average cost of ownership increased by 12%, accounting for the largest increase since 2008. Average homesales prices have increased 169% between 2006 and 2021.”
The cost of housing grew faster than household incomes in the city, which saw an average 16.3 per cent increase over the five years between 2016 and 2021.
“This increase is less than between 2011 and 2016 where incomes increased by 18.9%,” the report says. “The cost of housing is increasing steadily. To be able to afford the average rent in Prince George in 2021, a household must earn at least $39,040 (paying rent at 30% of household income).”
However, between 2016 and 2021, the number of residents in “core housing need” dropped from 10.2 per cent in 2016 to 7.1 per cent in 2021.
“Amongst renters, this change is more significant, with the rate decreasing from 26% to 17%,” the report says. “Fewer Canadian households receive income from employment during 2020 however these losses were offset by pandemic-related benefits. Pandemic-related supplements appear to have reduced the pressure on households in core housing need and can likely account for a reduction in core housing need between 2016 and 2021.”