A new study released by Vancity Thursday morning shows that just nine per cent of Metro Vancouver's housing inventory is attached homes with three bedrooms, the kind of homes most suitable for families.

That is not nearly enough, experts say, because these properties are most in demand for young families looking to get in to the market.

Even worse, according to the report, less than 10 per cent of those properties hit the market for resale in 2014. 

This is precisely the type of property that young families want, said Gavin Duffus from the Urban Development Institute.

"If you'll zone all single family neighbourhoods to allow townhomes, that would open the door for townhome development," Duffus said.

Townhomes in short supply, expensive

The shortage means the prices are also inflated, the study said. In August, the average townhome in the Metro region went for more than $500,000.

Andy Broderick from Vancity said people who own a one-bedroom apartment or condo and want to upgrade to a three-bedroom would need to take on a large amount of debt.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Last month, 17 per cent of Metro Vancouver sales were attached properties (primarily townhomes) with a benchmark price of over half a million dollars.
  • The 2014 median annual household income for dual-income millennial families in Metro Vancouver was about $65,500, which means they can afford housing that's priced around $384,000.
  •  Most apartments and condominiums — the most affordable home ownership option — are not suitable for families; in 2014, 91 per cent  of apartment units had two bedrooms or less.
  • Millennials who already own a one-bedroom apartment or condo and want to upgrade to three bedrooms with access to a yard would need to take on an additional 95 per cent of debt.

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