British Columbia

The housing market is tearing us apart, new poll suggests

The lack of affordable housing in B.C. is creating divisions between economic classes and age groups, according to participants in a new poll commissioned by CBC.

Survey indicates the vast majority of British Columbians are worried about real estate affordability

West Side Vancouver residents rallied against a school tax for people who own homes valued at more than $3 million, one possible sign of a growing division along economic lines in this province. (CBC)

The lack of affordable housing in B.C. is creating divisions between economic classes and age groups, according to participants in a new poll commissioned by CBC.

The Mustel Group survey shows that 86 per cent of respondents believe the province is now divided along economic lines, while 64 per cent think affordability issues have created divisions between age groups.

A smaller group (39 per cent) said they believe there are splits along racial lines because of the high cost of real estate.

The survey was conducted last month by the Mustel Group to mark the launch of CBC's new podcast SOLD!, which examines the high-stakes debacle that is Metro Vancouver's real estate market.

The pollster's questions explored British Columbians' anxieties about the role of foreign investment in the market and gauged support for measures to cool searing-hot prices.

Blame for foreign buyers and speculators

Across B.C., more than 90 per cent of those surveyed said they are at least somewhat concerned about housing affordability. Within Vancouver, close to three-quarters said they were very concerned.

The poll results suggest many people are pointing fingers at speculators and foreign buyers as two of the sources of the housing crisis.

The vast majority of respondents (86 per cent) said they believe foreign investment and speculative buying are hurting B.C. overall. A somewhat smaller selection (65 per cent) said they think those factors have significantly affected housing affordability.

In turn, the results show broad support for measures to curb speculation (86 per cent) and about three-quarters said they believe those measures can be implemented without harming the B.C. economy.

Meanwhile, more than half of those surveyed (58 per cent) said it's time to consider a complete ban on foreign real estate investment.

The poll was conducted online among a random sample of 400 adults. A randomized sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Sample sizes for some regions, including the City of Vancouver (58 responses) and Victoria/Vancouver Island (69 responses), were small for a survey of this type.

If you are interested in housing affordability, check out CBC's new podcast, SOLD! Host Stephen Quinn explores how foreign investment in real estate divides community, class and culture. Find it at CBC Podcasts or Apple Podcasts.

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