BC Housing Market

 Population

Between 2011 and 2016 censuses, BC population has increased by 5.6%.
Municipality with the highest average age (60.1) is Qualicum Beach (T).

 Property Sales

In December 2017, there were 9,577 housing market transactions, 3.42% of which involved foreign citizens.
The volume of these transactions was $7,801,669,874 (3.87% foreign).

 Housing

At the same time, number of private dwellings has increased by 6.1%
At the province level, 44.14% of dwellings are single-family homes.

 Shelter Cost and Mobility

In Greater Vancouver A (RDA), 56.94% of households spend more than 30% of their income on shelter cost.
Sun Peaks Mountain (VL) region has the highest ratio of movers in the last year - 34.45%.
This platform is the result of the Data Visualization Challenge launched by the BC Innovation Council in partnership with BC Stats in December 2016. The challenge aimed to develop a tool to visualize BC Stats housing data in a more meaningful and impactful way. It provides BC Stats with an innovative tool for better use of their data and, and at the same time, offers interested BC residents, government agencies, and non-profits the opportunity to interact with, understand and make decisions based on community growth and housing data. The platform is currently in its beta-version, users are invited to provide feedback on their use of this iteration including ideas as to how it could be advanced to further fulfill its role.

Census Data Visualization

The 2016 Census and National Household Survey present a wealth of granular and detailed information about the socio-demographic characteristics of households in Canada. Because the Census is conducted every five years, it is possible to compare these measures over time. Relevant to housing are a number of measures captured by the Census and National Household Survey 2011.

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For the purpose of the Census, housing type is defined by "structural type", which includes single detached house, semi-detached and row houses, and a variety of apartment categories.

This report gives insights into diversity of the housing types in an area.

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The age profile of an area has a significant impact on the type of housing that is required. An abundance of children suggests a need for family housing, while a greater proportion of seniors may indicate a need for "downsized" housing.

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This report shows number of people who had moved to the current location in the previous year.

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Housing is considered affordable when spending on all shelter costs is below 30% of pre-tax income and measured through the Shelter-cost-To-Income Ratio (STIR).

The reports shows proportion of households with greater than 30% of pre-tax income spent on shelter.

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Data source: Statistics Canada (Statistics Canada Open Data Licence)

Property Sales Monthly Overview

Property Transfer Tax data gives accurate measures of the total number of market transactions and changes in time, by a variety of levels of geography (e.g. municipality and regional district), property types (residential, commercial, farm, etc.), the average prices and tax amount paid, and the proportion of foreign participation in those transactions.

Total fair market value by month.

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Average fair market value by month.

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Total property transfer tax paid by month.

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Number of market transactions for different property types (residential, commercial, farms, etc) by month.

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Number of market transactions for residential properties by month.

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Number of market transactions for commercial properties by month.

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Selected variable for each location available in selected geographical level.

Project Background

The Province of British Columbia and other agencies collect a wealth of administrative data that relates to housing, including the market for housing, as a consequence of their regulatory and administrative authorities.

The British Columbia Government wanted to develop statistics that will provide greater certainty about the state of housing in the province, including the role of foreign ownership, real estate as an investment or business strategy (rather than home ownership), and insights into the regional impact of these issues. For more information see https://github.com/bcgov/housing-data-visualization-project.

This application is the result of the Data Visualization Challenge, launched by the BC Innovation Council in partnership with BC Stats in December 2016.

The challenge aimed to develop a tool to visualize BC housing data in a more meaningful and impactful way. BCIC and BCStats invited innovators around the province to submit their proposed solutions to the challenge. A review panel comprised of the BC Innovation Council, BC Developers’ Exchange and BC Stats selected the five finalists who have been selected to present their prototypes at the 2017 BCTech Summit, the largest tech event in BC and a joint initiative between the Province and BC Innovation Council. Ruby Industries Inc. was announced as the winner of the Challenge and got the opportunity to continue working on the project and develop the solution.

Ruby Industries combined a variety of data visualization approaches in a way that makes significant improvements to the accessibility and readability of BC Stats’ housing data. It provides BC Stats with an innovative tool for better use of their data and, and at the same time, offers interested BC residents, government agencies, and non-profits the opportunity to interact with, understand and make decisions based on community growth and housing data. The platform is currently in its beta-version, users are invited to provide feedback on their use of this iteration including ideas as to how it could be advanced to further fulfill its role.

About Ruby Industries Inc.

Ruby Industries Inc. is Kelowna-based Data Science and Data Visualization consulting firm. They provide engaging interactive data visualization solutions across wide range of industries. The company also features a number of Machine Learning APIs in marketing analytics domains. These include customer segmentation and prediction of customer lifetime value and customer churn.

Data Sources

BC Housing Data Visualization Platform uses the following datasets:

  • Census Canada (years 2016, 2011 and 2006).
  • Property Transfer Tax (2017 and 2016).

Census Canada

Census data is provided by Statistics Canada and obtained through CensusMapper API using cancensus R package.

  • Statistics Canada. No date. 2006 Census of Canada (Provinces, Census Divisions, Municipalities) (database).
  • Statistics Canada. No date. 2011 Census of Canada (Provinces, Census Divisions, Municipalities) (database).
  • Statistics Canada. No date. 2016 Census of Canada (Provinces, Census Divisions, Municipalities) (database).

Statistics Canada provides a wealth of detail about the information collected in the Census. Some of the key pages are:

Property Transfer Tax

Property transfer tax data relates to market transactions within the province.

It is provided by Province of British Columbia Ministry of Finance, licensed under Open Government LicenCe - British Columbia.

The data is available for download at B.C. Data Catalogue administered by DataBC.

Code Repository

The code for BC Housing Data Visualization app is open-sourced and publicly available at BC Government GitHub repository.

R packages

The platform is developed using R statistical software, and realized as R Shiny™ app with the help of the following open-source R packages:

  • Shiny™ - Interactive web applications with R.
  • Plotly - R implementation of plotly.js interactive graphing library.
  • Readr - Read flat files (csv, tsv, fwf) into R.
  • Stringr - String manipulation in R.
  • Magrittr - Improve the readability of R code with the pipe operator.
  • Lubridate - Working with dates in R.
  • Tidyr - Tidy data with spread and gather functions.
  • Dplyr - A grammar of data manipulation.
  • Cancensus - R wrapper for calling CensusMapper APIs.
  • Leaflet - R Interface to leaflet.js maps.
  • RGDAL - R bindings to Geospatial Data Abstraction Library.
  • Rgeos - Tools for interfacing the C++ translation of the Java Topology Suite.
  • Sf - Simple Features for R.
  • rmapshaper - An R wrapper for the mapshaper javascript library.
  • Htmlwidgets - HTML Widgets for R.
  • DT - R Interface to the jQuery Plug-in DataTables.
  • SunburstR - R htmlwidget for sequence sunburst charts.
  • Treemap - R package for treemap visualisation.
  • ShinyJS - Improve the user experience of your Shiny™ apps.
  • Shinycssloaders - CSS loader animations for Shiny™ outputs.
  • ShinyBS - Twitter Bootstrap Components for Shiny™.

Glossary of Terms

Following is the glossary of terms used in BC Housing Data Visualization app.

Census

(all definitions directly from the referenced Statistics Canada sources)

Housing type

Structural Type of Dwelling

The variable for structural type of dwelling classifies private dwellings into the following nine mutually-exclusive categories: single-detached house, semi-detached house, row house, apartment or flat in a duplex, apartment in a building that has five or more storeys, apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys, other single-attached house, mobile home and other movable dwelling.

Population: Age and Sex

Population: Age and Sex

Age:

Refers to the age at last birthday before the reference date, that is, before May 10, 2016.

Sex:

Refers to whether the person is male or female.

  • Information pertaining to sex is collected according to two categories: male and female.

  • For the 2016 Census of Population, transgender, transsexual and intersex Canadians were asked to indicate the sex (male or female) with which they most associated themselves. Respondents who could not select one category when completing Question 2 on their census questionnaire had the option of leaving the question blank and indicating in the Comments section, the reason(s) for which they had chosen to leave this question unanswered.

Mobility and Migration

Mobility and migration

Mobility status refers to the status of a person with regard to the place of residence on Census day (May 10, 2016) in relation to the place of residence on the same date one year or five years earlier.

  • Persons who lived in the same residence on the reference day as on the same date one year or five years earlier are referred to as non-movers.

  • Persons who did not live in the same residence on the reference day as on the same date one year or five years earlier are referred to as movers.

  • Movers include non-migrants and migrants.

  • Non-migrants are movers who lived in the same census subdivision on the reference day as on the same date one year or five years earlier.

  • Migrants include internal migrants and external migrants.

  • Internal migrants include migrants who lived in Canada one year or five years ago. This includes persons who moved to a different city, town, township, village or Indian reserve within Canada. Greater detail can be provided for internal migrants by identifying whether they have crossed provincial and/or Census metropolitan area or Census agglomeration boundaries.

  • External migrants include migrants who did not live in Canada one year or five years ago.

Shelter cost and Shelter-to-income ratio

Shelter cost

'Shelter cost' refers to the average monthly total of all shelter expenses paid by households that own or rent their dwelling.

Shelter costs for owner households include, where applicable, mortgage payments, property taxes and condominium fees, along with the costs of electricity, heat, water and other municipal services. For renter households, shelter costs include, where applicable, the rent and the costs of electricity, heat, water and other municipal services.

Shelter-to-income ratio (STIR)

'Shelter-cost-to-income ratio' refers to the proportion of average total income of household which is spent on shelter costs.

(from Reference materials, 2016 Census: Housing)

Census Geography

The results of the Census of Canada are reported at a variety of geographic levels, from Dissemination Areas to the Canadian total, and a variety of areas in between.

Some names used by Statistics Canada have British Columbia parallels you might be more familiar with:


Census Region Alternate area name


Census Division (CD) Regional District

Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) (no equivalent)

Census Sub-division (CSD) Municipality (or rural area)

Census Tract (CT) (no equivalent)

Dissemination Area (DA) (no equivalent)



The main Statistics Canada Census page on Geography

Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) reference maps


Property Transfer Tax

Information about the British Columbia Property Transfer Tax

Property Transfer Tax: Glossary at the DataBC Data Catalogue

  • Fair Market Value: “The price that would be paid by a willing purchaser to a willing seller for a property (land and improvements) in the open market on the date of registration.”

  • Foreign involvement: “Transactions in which all or some of the parties involved are foreign purchasers, i.e., purchasers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.”