Urban & Rural BC: Identifying Data-Driven Commonalities

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A great deal of valuable information currently exists on the BC real estate market, however, there are challenges with the current approach. The geographic framework by which this information is viewed is problematic focusing on regional differences instead of provincial commonalities. The BC market is experiencing many different trends such as new dwelling types, alternate ownership models, FSBO and unique behaviours by demographic segments. Understanding these trends is hampered by missing data and an inability to link different data sources for analysis. Furthermore, most of this information is presented through a static geographic lens making it challenging for the ORE audiences to absorb and utilize. A fresh look at the data requirements for the industry will assist planning for the future. This research report is a part of the British Columbia Real Estate Association's Journey of Discovery. BCREA launched the Journey of Discovery (JOD) to help our organization and BC’s eleven member boards strategically plan for the next five years. This project seeks to understand where the greatest contributions of products and services could be for increasing the innovation of REALTORS® in service of their consumers. If organized real estate is to effectively adapt to and proactively initiate change, which we believe is necessary now more than ever, the first stage is to gain a solid understanding of the current and future states of the industry. For access to the slides with links and our other reports, please visit http://web.bcrea.bc.ca/jod/reports.htm This presentation was prepared by CE Holmes Consulting, Solvable & Monique Morden Consulting

Transcript of Urban & Rural BC: Identifying Data-Driven Commonalities

  • Each time you learn something new you must readjust the whole framework of your knowledge. Eleanor Roosevelt
  • of the largest being inability to have a data driven view of the industry. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to gather and combine data from different sources (e.g., Statistics Canada and MLS) for conducting even the most basic of analyses. We should not limit ourselves to relying solely on geo- graphic boundaries as there are many other dimensions on which the industry could be viewed to provide added value, whether by characteristics based on demograph- ics, type of property and dwelling, ownership, residency and many more. Examining larger trends occurring across the province would assist all parts of the province in better understanding and assisting REALTORS in capitalizing on these trends. This report examines the similarities and differences that exist using the current data available and presents other possible frameworks for consideration. An ability to dig deeper into the market trends on different dimensions common to all areas of the province will help all levels of ORE. BC ORE has an opportunity to play a role in creating a clear market picture for regional boards, Brokers and REALTORS, simultaneously connecting dots and stakeholders in the process. Know Thyself Rural & Urban: Identifying Data-Driven Commonalities is one of five Forces of Industry Change Reports designed to build a greater understanding of the BC real estate indus- try through the analysis of data. This report highlights the challenge of finding new frameworks to understand our urban and rural environments across the province, and aims to identify opportunities for greater collaboration and data aggregation across British Columbia. The BC ORE is currently comprised of eleven different regional member boards, each varying greatly in terms of the land base and population included in their boundaries. This geographic framework has unfortunately focused the industry discussion on regional differences instead of commonalities and created a lens counterproductive to proactively planning for the future. The current framework also creates considerable logistical challenges. First and foremost, the member board bounda- ries do not line up with any other regional demarcations whether Canada Post postal codes, Electoral Districts, Census Divisions, Regional Health Boards or otherwise. Even within ORE there is no consistency, as the Real Estate Council of BC uses different regional boundaries based on counties within the province. This inconsistency in regional definitions is problematic for many reasonsone
  • Image Credit: British Columbia Real Estate Association
  • As the fifth largest province in the country, there is no shortage of land in BC. However, the vast majority (95%) is crown land94% provincial and 1% federal. Having just 5% of the land under private ownership (below the national average of 11%) places considerable constraints on real estate and explains why, despite the fact we have the third largest population and second highest growth, our population density is the fourth lowest. David Baxter from the Urban Futures Institute wrote Canadas Rural and Urban Portrait based on 2006 Statistics Canada census data showing the urban status of British Columbia compared to other provinces. JOD updated this 2006 analysis to 2011 Census data. Some may be surprised to learn that BC is an urban province, with 85% of the population residing in urban areas and 15% in rural areas exactly equal to that of Ontario and also similar to proportions in Alberta and Quebec. Thinking of BC as an urban province might seem at odds with the vastness of the province; but given only 5% of the land is under private ownership, the population is con- gregating in urban centers. And in fact, it is congregating in many different urban centres, not just one or two major centres as happens in some provinces (e.g., Manitoba, Saskatchewan). Rural Myth The shift to a predominantly urban based population has been occurring for decades. A roughly even split between rural and urban existed up until the 1940s when the urban proportion began to steadily grow, plateauing at 85% from 2001-2011. Despite overall population growth (up 13% points) during that same timeframe, these rural/ urban proportions have remained consistent and there is no sign of this changing.
  • Image Credits: BCREA Journey of Discovery | Source: Statistics Canada 2011 Census Data
  • David Baxters article went further to analyze the population by size of urban area across eight different development re- gions within the province. In 2006, Statistics Canada used five categories to define size of urban area: Rural (