Photo: David Stanley/Flickr
Government red tape, the ability to raise capital, personal taxation and consumer confidence levels are all major issues that BC businesses must contend with, but according to the province’s chartered professional accountants (CPAs), the biggest challenge for business success right now is related to the housing market.
In a new CPA survey conducted by the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC (CPABC), 84 per cent of respondents rated the ability to attract and retain skilled labour as a “major” or “moderate” challenge for business success in BC. The reason? The high cost of living is making it difficult for workers to stay in the province.
Housing costs are indeed high in BC, particularly in Metro Vancouver. And though many believe the housing market is set for a slow cooldown, slow seems to be the operative word. Home sales in Metro Vancouver have been dropping for the last few months, but prices are still high — in September, the MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all homes in the area was sitting at $931,900. As the CPABC points out, that’s not affordable for people earning BC’s average annual income of $53,373.
“Ultimately, B.C. needs people who want to live and work here, and certainly in Greater Vancouver, the cost of housing is starting to make that a bigger and bigger challenge,” said CPABC President and CEO Richard Rees in a press release.
He added that while all levels of government are taking steps to cool the housing market, it’s still too early to gauge how successful they will be. “Continued high real estate prices and lower wages could cause young workers to leave the province, particularly those with highly transferrable skills or a post-secondary education. Ensuring B.C. remains an affordable and attractive place for these workers is critical in order,” he commented.
Even so, CPAs in BC overall remain confident about the province’s economy, with 62 per cent of respondents rating it “good” or “excellent” and one-quarter saying they expect it to improve over the next two years. By comparison, only 28 per cent said they view the Canadian economy as “good” or “excellent.”