Victoria scores B+ for quality of life in Vital Signs, but report highlights some key concerns

Victoria scores B+ for quality of life in Vital Signs, but report highlights some key concerns

While respondents in Greater Victoria rated the quality of life to be about a B+ in the region, housing, cost of living, and healthcare were highlighted as the most pressing issues.

The grade given to the region is an improvement from 2020 and 2021, where the quality of life was scored as a B in both years, but this report comes with the first failing grade, which was given to housing.

This year’s Vital Signs focused on the question “What does community mean to you?” and 68 per cent said they feel connected to the community, and 57 per cent said they were able to engage in the community the way they want.

There were 17 per cent of respondents who reported feeling lonely very often or often.

For housing, the majority of respondents said there is not enough affordable home ownership options or rental accommodations in the region.

The number of properties sold in Greater Victoria was down 27 per cent from May 2021, and median prices across the region are increasing, with a single-family home having a median price of $1.25 million (up from $1 million in 2021), townhouses $800,000 (up from $730,000) and condos $598,000 (up from $478,000).

Rental prices continue to rise, while the vacancy rate is dropping. The vacancy rate in October 2020 was at 2.2 per cent, then in October 2021 it was at just one per cent.

Prices increased three per cent for all unit types for an average cost of $1,332 in October 2021 from $1,285 in October 2020. Only 661 purpose-built rental units were completed in 2021, compared to 1,317 in 2020.

The report says in order to affordably rent, which is defined as no more than 30 per cent of the household income on rent, a person earning minimum wage needs to work 51 hours per week.

On the other end of the spectrum, Learning, and Sports and Recreation were the two categories that scored the highest, each receiving a B+.

For Learning, the average percentage of people who have not completed high school in Greater Victoria not only declined since 2020, but is also lower than the B.C. and Canada averages.

In Victoria in 2021, nine per cent of people aged 15 years and older have not completed high school which is lower than in 2020 when it was at 11 per cent.

In B.C. the 2021 average was 11 per cent, and in Canada the average was 14 per cent.

Victorians are also more likely to have some form of post-secondary education with 64 per cent in Victoria for both 2020 and 2021. In 2021, 62 per cent of people in B.C. and 61 per cent of people in Canada could claim the same.

For Sports and Recreation, KidSport Greater Victoria conducted surveys where it learned parents felt sport had helped their kids cope through the pandemic. In Victoria 20 per cent of parents reported their kids were less active compared to 45 per cent that was reported nationally.

Sport tourism is estimated to bring $117 million in tourist spending to the capital region each year, according to the Vital Signs report.

Data for the Vital Signs report was ovtained by surveys completed by more than 2,500 people and data from secondary-sources. The 2022 report is the 17th annual report completed by the Victoria Foundation.

“The past few years have been challenging for everyone, but through it all we have seen the tremendous power of community to help lift us up. When we asked the question ‘What does community mean to you?’ we heard a range of answers that not only inspired us but made us pause and think about how we can work together to make our community even better,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of Victoria Foundation.

“The report makes it clear we face significant issues in Greater Victoria, especially around housing and cost of living. With so many people struggling, it’s more important than ever to work collectively to find solutions that work for everyone.”

You can read the full report below.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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