British Columbians Frustrated by Lack of Housing Options

Three-Quarters (74%) Agree Lack of Options Keeping Prices/Rents High

The author(s)

  • Kyle Braid Senior Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs
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Vancouver, BC — A new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of UDI1 shows British Columbians are concerned about a lack of housing options and want municipalities to do more to encourage housing diversity, fix approval processes and reduce taxes, fees and red tape.

Poll Findings

British Columbians remain concerned with house prices and rents and point to housing diversity as an issue. Three-quarters (74%) agree ‘home prices and rents remain high because there are too few housing options’ (34% strongly, 41% somewhat). Only two-in-ten disagree that lack of housing options is a factor in high prices (7% strongly, 14% somewhat).

  • Agreement with this sentiment is high across all regions of the province, including 82% in Southern Interior/North, 72% on Vancouver Island and 71% in Metro Vancouver. Agreement is higher among older residents (82% among 55+ years vs. 72% among 35-54 years, 67% among 18-34 years).

British Columbians do not see an improvement in housing affordability. Overall, only one-quarter (25%) of British Columbians think the number of affordable housing options has increased in the province in the past two years (3% a lot, 22% a little), while one-quarter (26%) say the number has stayed the same and nearly half (45%) say the number of affordable options has decreased (26% a lot, 20% a little).

And British Columbians do not see governments making affordability better. Only one-quarter (26%) of residents think the action of governments (provincial and municipal) have improved housing affordability in British Columbia (2% a lot, 24% a little). One-third (35%) say government actions have made no change and one-third (35%) say government actions have made things worse (21% a lot, 14% a little).

Focusing on municipal governments specifically, nearly six-in-ten (58%) British Columbians say that municipalities are not doing enough at encouraging more diverse housing options such as duplexes, triplexes, mid-rise apartments or senior living residences (5% more than enough, 25% about right amount). And seven-in-ten (71%) say they think the municipal process for a housing proposal to be approved is too long and needs to be fixed so that there are more housing options more quickly (39% strongly, 33% somewhat).

In other study questions:

  • 80% agree that ‘we need to approve more diverse housing options close to both existing and new transit stations/hubs’ (34% strongly, 47% somewhat), while 11% disagree (2% strongly, 9% somewhat).
  • 75% agree that ‘municipalities should allow a greater diversity of housing options within single family neighbourhoods’ (30% strongly, 45% somewhat), while 18% disagree (4% strongly, 13% somewhat).
  • 74% agree that ‘new taxes, fees and red tape on homebuilders are making housing even less affordable for renters and home owners’ (35% strongly, 39% somewhat) while 16% disagree (3% strongly, 13% somewhat).
  • 68% agree that ‘governments aren’t doing enough to encourage the construction of new rental housing (30% strongly, 38% somewhat), while 22% disagree (4% strongly, 19% somewhat).

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of the Urban Development Institute (UDI) between May 7 and 15, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 adult British Columbians (18+ years) was interviewed online via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources. The sample included 301 adult residents of the City of Vancouver. These data have been weighted by region, gender and age to reflect the population of BC according to Census figures. The precision of Ipsos polls conducted online is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the overall results are accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all adult British Columbians been polled. The results in the City of Vancouver are accurate within ±6.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Kyle Braid
Senior Vice President, Canada
Public Affairs
+1.778.373.5130
kyle.braid@ipsos.com 

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,749.5 million in 2018.


[1] UDI is a non-profit and non-partisan industry association of the residential, commercial and industrial builders, which supports more than 233,000 BC jobs plus $23 billion in economic activity. Through municipal fees and contributions, the industry builds homes, offices, daycares, social housing, parks, public art, museums, schools and community centers throughout BC.

The author(s)

  • Kyle Braid Senior Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs

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