Keeping an eye on Victoria’s housing statistics

Highlights of Current Housing Data for the City of Victoria  

The following is a summary of current and historical housing data from a variety of sources: Canada Mortgage and Housing, Census Profile, 2016 Census City of Victoria, City of Victoria, Victoria Real Estate Board, two online rental housing services and Census (visual census data by city, neighbourhood).

Highlights of Census 2016 – City of Victoria

27,720   renter households in City of Victoria (61%)

45.9% of tenant households spend 30% or more of monthly income on shelter costs

18,045 owner households in City of Victoria (39%)

22.3% of owner households spend 30% or more of monthly income on shelter costs

57.4% of owners hold a mortgage

48% of Victoria’s 45,760 households are single person households

1.8 persons is average household size

2,900 housing units (6.3% of total housing stock) needed major repairs

$31,570 is median after-tax income of one-person households (total income: $35,200)

$53,126 is median total income of households in 2015

$77,608 is median total income of two-or-more-person households in 2015

1,555 individuals out of total of 73,745 had no income in 2015

Total number of single-detached houses in the City of Victoria: 6,454

Total number of secondary suites (extrapolated data):

Neither CMHC nor the City of Victoria collects data on the total number of secondary suite rental units existing in city. Number of secondary suites in City of Victoria (based on a conservative estimate of 30% of all single-detached houses (6,545) having secondary/basement suites = 1,963);

Note: City of Victoria 2018 Housing Report indicates at least 496 units received building permit approval between 2007 and 2018.

2019 Canadian Rental Housing Index

Provides comparative information re community profiles, demographics, and rental housing data re median incomes, core housing need etc. See website for further details.

Other Housing Data:

BC Housing estimates there are approximately 5,000 subsidized rental units in the City of Victoria. Census 2016 estimates 12.9% of all tenant households (3,574) in city live in subsidized housing.

Highlights of 2018 Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation’s Market Rental Report

City of Victoria

17,182 purpose-built rental units in city;

Note: City of Victoria 2018 Housing Report, (there were 15,853 purpose-built rental units in the City in 2011 based on CMHC Market Rental Statistics.

Average rent in City of Victoria  (2018)

$1,166 in Victoria

Bachelor:             $   935                                    1Bedroom:         $1,086

2 Bedroom:        $1,438                                   3 Bedroom:        $1,766

Vacancy rate in City of Victoria (2018)

1.1% in Victoria

Note:  Vacancy rates for 2011-2017

 2017: 0.8%          2016: 0.5%           2015: 0.6%           2014: 1.3%          

2013: 2.4%           2012: 2.3%           2011: 1.8%

Rental unit turnover rate in City of Victoria (2018):

18% for the City of Victoria

Highlights of National Housing Report for September 2019

Victoria ranked #14 out of 30 Canadian cities in terms of the average rent paid for one- and two-bedroom units:

$1,504 (average rent for one bedroom unit, up 1.5% over last month)

$1,887 (average rent for two bedroom unit, up 7% over last month).

Highlights of September 2019 Canadian Rent Report

Victoria ranked #5 out of top 10 Canadian cities in terms of one-bedroom median rent prices.

$1,400 (median rent for one bedroom unit, up 15.7% over Sept. 2018)

$1,720 (median rent for two bedroom unit, up 15.4% over Sept. 2018)

Highlights of 2018 City of Victoria Housing Report:

Dwelling units approved through building permits issued in 2018 – City of Victoria

New construction: 1,317 units in Victoria

Conversions (excluding secondary/garden suites): 7

Secondary suites (including new construction and conversions):  42

Garden suites (including new construction and conversions: 15

Total housing units (excluding demolitions): 1,381

Demolitions:  50

Net New Dwelling Units: 1,331

Dwelling units approved in City of Victoria from 2007-2018: 7,605;

Total number of dwelling units “demolished” from 2007-2018: 525

Annual average dwelling units approved 2007-2018: 544

Annual average conversions (excluding secondary/garden suites 2007-2018: 94

Annual average secondary/garden suites (including new construction & conversions: 41

Annual  average number of demolitions: 44

Secondary/Garden Suites approved through building permits issued in City of Victoria 2007-2018: 496

Affordable Housing Units:

According to the 2018 Victoria Housing Report, the City contributed $630,000 towards the construction of 63 affordable (non-profit) housing units in the City in 2018.

The City of Victoria has contributed $6,768,453 towards the construction of 811 affordable (non-profit) housing units in the City between 2007 and 2018. This figure represents 10.6% of all the housing units in the city built between 2007 and 2018 (7,605). For the period 2014-2018, the affordable rental units as a proportion of all housing built has declined to 3.3%.

According to the City of Victoria’s June 26, 2019 press release, the City is committing $1.5 million to build 138 affordable rental units. Mayor Helps in a September drop-in meeting indicated that the Capital Region “Housing First” multi-year program is scheduled to build 2,000 affordable rental units. It is a funding initiative involving the federal, provincial and local governments. Apparently 900 affordable housing units have been allocated to the City of Victoria, of which 72 have been built to date.

Rental Market Statistics (Secondary Rental Market – Condos) 2011–2018

(Based on annual CMHC Rental Housing Report for Victoria Census Metropolitan Area).

Total number of condominiums in 2011:                                11,176

Total number of rental condo units in 2011             2,671 (23.9% in rental pool)*

Total number of condominiums in 2018:                                12,615

Total number of rental condo units in 2018:            3,064 (24.3% in rental pool)*

Note:  *rental units have not been broken down into long-term or short-term vacation rentals

Average House Prices for different types of homes in the City of Victoria 1997/2018:

(Data based on Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Services Statistics)

Single Family Dwelling:  $223,504 (1997)                $959,059 (2018)

Condominium:                  $151,952  (1997)                $515,107 (2018)

Townhouse:                       $208,072  (1997)                $732,831 (2018)

The IMF Crunched the Numbers on Canadian Real Estate – Here’s How Overpriced It Is (, 18 October 2019)

Victoria Real Estate is over 22% higher than the fundamentals!

Victoria real estate is pretty rough, but the gap looks tiny in contrast to the other cities. The observed price was $809,930 in Q3 2018, up 6.8% from a year before. The attainable price fell to $660,795, down 3.6% over the same period. Observed prices are 22.6% higher than attainable prices. Seems not that far in contrast, but make no mistake – that’s a big number when it comes to money. —, 18 October 2019.

City of Victoria Real Estate Listings and Average Home Prices by neighbourhoods – October 1, 2019 (Courtesy of

Neighbourhoods/ Ave. List Price/ YOY Price Change (%)/ # Active Listings

Burnside/ $ 738, 686/ +31%/ 14

Downtown/ $ 610,085/ +08%/ 41

Fairfield/ $ 768,929/ -13%/ 49

Fernwood/ $ 732,504/ +12%/ 25

Gonzales/ $ 1,595,375/ +22%/ 20

Harris Green/ $ 567,518/ +41%/ 25

Hillside-Quadra/ $ 717,462/ +07%/ 16

James Bay/ $ 999,126/ +28%/ 64

North Park/ $ 570,467/ -29%/ 06

N/S Jubilee/ $ 595,733/ -26%/ 13

Oaklands/ $ 767,839/ +52%/ 23

Rockland/ $ 1,548,413/ +06%/ 16

VicWest/ $ 1,170,836/ +72%/ 50

What you need to save to buy a home on a median income across Canada (or more particularly in Victoria (Zoocasa Report, Sept. 26, 2019)

Victoria ranked #4 in terms of median income requirement to purchase a home from a list of 15 Canadian cities:

Home price (August 2019): $ 693,000

Median household income before tax $ 70,283

Maximum mortgage affordability based on median income: $ 271,185

Down payment required for remainder of home price: $ 421,815

Down payment as % of home price: 61%

Years to save for down payment: 30 (20 yrs for Can)

City of Victoria 2018 Short-Term Rental Data

The City of Victoria indicated in June press release that as of May 2019, the City had 1,268 active short-term listings, compared to 1,440 in December 2018. Apparently 675 STR business licenses have been issued, compared to 528 STR listings in 2018. Of the 675 business licenses approved, the majority (353) represent commercial operators with a $1,500 annual fee (non-principal residents in legal non-conforming suites), versus 322 principal resident operators (charged a $50 annual fee). Citing privacy and confidentiality, the City has provided no data related to aggregated STR data collected, including STR bylaw complaints received nor any enforcement/inspection activities undertaken and penalties levied for non-compliance.

The City will not release verifiable aggregate data, although it has a one year contract (valued at $48,000) with a third-party STR monitoring firm, Host Compliance LLC, to provide STR listings for compliance purposes.

AirDNA, another third party monitoring firm, in its City of Victoria profile indicated slightly more detailed information: Q2 2019 – more than 1,500 STR listings in the City, with 87% of listings for entire units, suggesting that these housing units are not available as part of the long-term rental pool in the city. As a matter of comparison, the number of long-term rental listings online for the City in September – 200.

To date the City has not provided any assessment of the impact of short-term rentals on the availability of long-term rental units in Victoria. Revenue generated from STR business licenses in 2018 was $280,000. Estimated revenue based on press release data for June suggests that STR licenses have generated $577,000 for the city. Apparently any surplus will be added to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund.

Reference Material: –

Canadian Rental Housing Index –

Canada Mortgage and Housing, 2018 Market Rental Report – Victoria CMA National Rent Report, September 2019.

PadMapper September 2019 Canadian Rent Report.

“Short-term rental regulations result in fewer listings”, City of Victoria press release, 26 June 2019.

Official Community Plan Annual Review 2018, City of Victoria.

Official Community Plan Annual Review 2018, staff report, City of Victoria, Sept. 5, 2019

City of Victoria 2018 Housing Report. blog,

“Low inventory, consistent demand keeps Greater Victoria real estate prices climbing higher”, Andrew Duffy, Times Colonist, 2 November 2019.

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