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Prince George rated second-best mid-size city in B.C. to buy a home

Parksville "eked out" Prince George for top spot

Prince George came out the second-most affordable among the medium-sized B.C. cities analyzed in a study conducted on behalf of an online real estate service.

Quesnel, meanwhile, ranked first among small cities, while Williams Lake and Dawson Creek finished second and third, according to the study, issued Wednesday by Zolo. 

Data was collected for each of 29 cities that were further divided into large, medium and small, based on their populations.

A weighted score was assigned to each of them in which the price-to-income ratio accounted for 50 per cent, population growth for 20 per cent, the unemployment rate for 20 per cent and average house price for 10 per cent.

The lower the price-to-income ratio - also referred to as "time to buy" - the better. The same with the unemployment rate and the average house price, while a higher rate of population growth upped the score.

As of April, the average price for a home in Prince George stood at $568,000 while average household income was $113,504 for a price-to-income ratio of 5.0.

Oddly, Parksville beat out Prince George for first place despite a higher price-to-income ratio at 6.52 ($628,000/$96,255), as well as a higher average home price and a lower rate of population growth at 5.08 per cent, compared to 5.95 per cent for Prince George. 

The difference in unemployment rates - based on an average of rates from a "pre- and post-pandemic time period" - was enough to put Parksville on top.

"The reason why Parksville quite literally ‘eked out ahead’ of Prince George in our ranking is because the city of Parksville has undergone tremendous economic growth in the last five years - and this was borne out in the data," Zolo content director Romona King said in an email. "Parksville obtained 8.4 out of 10 points, while Prince George received 8.3 out of 10 points." 

Looking at small cities, the price-to-income ratio for first-place Quesnel was 3.89 ($369,000/$94,953), and its population growth was 1.79 per cent. For Williams Lake, the price-to-income ratio was 4.4 ($429,000/$97,424) and for Dawson Creek, the price-to-income ratio was 2.73 and the rate of population growth was 5.46.

Among the big cities, Namaimo was ranked the best with a price-to-income ratio of 9.88 ($931,000/$94,242) and a population growth rate of 7.28 per cent.