Defining affordable housing

Affordable housing is an important part of every community in B.C., but it can mean different things to different people. It is helpful to explore  factors that influence housing affordability.

Defining affordable housing

Finding a suitable home for a reasonable price can be a challenge for anyone, but it’s often more difficult for single-income households, seniors and Indigenous people living off-reserve.

Many organizations, programs and even mortgage lenders consider housing affordable if it costs no more than 30% of household income before taxes. This measure is a useful tool that can be used when choosing a place to live, but housing affordability is often based on a combination of factors, and every situation is different.

Here are some examples:

  • The type, age and condition of a home influences costs like heating, electricity, water, sewage, insurance, maintenance and property taxes.
  • Owners in strata housing pay strata fees. Learn more about living in a strata.
  • The location of a home determines transportation expenses like taking public transit or driving a vehicle.
  • A person's financial status and stage of life affects what is affordable for them. Everyone’s monthly budget is different and personal preferences, priorities, and family needs all need to be considered.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: February 19, 2018.