British Columbia

Vancouver real estate prices, lack of public transit hinder city, report says

A scorecard released by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade highlights the challenge of attracting young people to a region with "exorbitant" housing costs.

Hard to attract young people and 'it's going to get a lot worse,' says Conference Board of Canada chair

A new scorecard released by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade ranks the city ninth among 20 international cities based on economic and social indicators, with housing affordability and lack of transit as stumbling blocks for the region. (Greater Vancouver Board of Trade)

A new report says Vancouver's inadequate public transit and lack of affordable housing may hinder the city's ability to attract labour and business investment.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade released a scorecard today prepared by the Conference Board of Canada that rates the city ninth among big international cities in terms of key economic and social indicators.

The report says Vancouver ranks ninth in the economic category and seventh in the social category, but housing and public transit hurt the city's liveability ranking and could be hurdles for attracting future investment.

Flight of the Millennials?

The report says other challenges facing British Columbia's largest city include a low proportion of 25 to 34 year-olds — a demographic change the report says should not be ignored.

"You're only feeling the leading edge of it," said conference board CEO Daniel Muzyka. "It's going to get a lot worse. So, yes we need to involve everybody, but we really need immigration."

The decrease in the number of young people may be due to the cost of housing — the city got a "D" for housing affordability.

"Anyone contemplating a move to the region faces exorbitant housing costs," the report notes. "This limits the region's attraction to younger people who could represent its future."

Low productivity levels, land scarcity and high marginal tax rates were also noted as drawbacks in the Vancouver area.

Singapore first, Miami last

Singapore received the scorecard's top marks, with Seattle and Calgary in the top five. Miami finished last in 20th place.

Here is the full ranking from the report on economic and social measures, with Canadian cities in bold:

  1. Singapore.
  2. Copenhagen.
  3. Hong Kong.
  4. Calgary.
  5. Seattle.
  6. Barcelona.
  7. Sydney.
  8. San Francisco.
  9. Greater Vancouver.
  10. Toronto.
  11. Portland.
  12. Seoul.
  13. Rotterdam.
  14. Montreal.
  15. Houston.
  16. Halifax.
  17. Manchester.
  18. Shanghai.
  19. Los Angeles.
  20. Miami.

With files from Belle Puri


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