The Affordable Housing Crisis

Affordability. Affordable housing. These are buzz words these days. I think we are repeating them more and more as we all watch affordability slip away before our eyes. Like bailing water with a bucket by hand on a sinking ship that everyone on board knows is going down anyways.

As I write this I am 46 years of age and in my lifetime the price of a single family home in Canada has basically gone from $20,000 to $400,000 or more. That is a 20 fold increase. And wages have not kept pace with that, not even close. A person who made $5 per hour in 1970 might make $30 an hour today. That’s only a 6 fold increase. And then look at what has happened in just the last few years in Vancouver and Victoria! A home costs a million dollars anywhere in the lower mainland and $750,000 in Victoria! What’s happening is just insane. Sometimes I feel like the only one who sees all of this as a bad thing. I know I am not alone when I read articles and see news stories referring to this as a housing affordability crisis. And make no mistake this is a crisis. Unfortunately it is a crisis that we are all going to get a front row seat for. We are going along for this ride whether we like it or not. And few people seem to be acting on it. Most, however, seem to just be enjoying the buoyant economy and the positive growth numbers in jobs etc. I guess because our entire economy ebbs and flows based on the real estate market which means the optimism trickles all the way down the line in good times.

The price of real estate of course is a huge part of this, but to make matters worse the cost of building new homes is going nowhere but up and up and up. Concrete, lumber, drywall and the application of new building codes all make today’s home construction more and more expensive. I for one would like to do what I can to help. I see a crisis on the horizon and I want to do my part to help out by building smaller and more sensible living spaces for people to live in.

It seems like a pretty bleak future for our economy overall. What are the solutions? The solutions are going to be in being sensible about how we build. We are all going to have to learn to live in smaller spaces. Luckily we have been living in spaces that are too big now for a couple decades. So that will help. Municipalities are coming up with creative solutions like allowing suites, encouraging density and multi-use buildings, laneway houses and carriage houses.

I don’t have to look any further than my own living situation for an example. I built the home I currently live in in the back yard of an existing home which happened to be small enough to become the carriage house so I basically got my building lot for free. I did this to save money and make it an example if affordability yes, but more importantly I did it because its what I could afford.

We at Boehm Construction Ltd are committed to becoming a part of the solution not a part of the problem. We have already built many carriage houses. We were involved in micro-housing on a recent project as well as a recent townhouse development. We have experience with tiny homes, which are really small homes built on flat bed trailers and are very stylish and sensible. We have a company that has a low overhead and build efficiently, economically and sensibly. We also do what we can to build green, sustainable buildings that are energy efficient. We are passionate about modern. Modern buildings in addition to looking fantastic are also minimal. And minimal is synonymous with affordable.

If you are in an unaffordable living situation and would like to know how to change that, give us a call and maybe we can help you to change it.