Bowen Housing Profile

Housing Stock

The 2006 Census reported 1,339 private dwellings occupied by usual residents on Bowen Island, up from 1,145 in 2001, an increase of 194 units or 17% in five years. This exceeds the population growth rate of 13.7% percent over the same period, suggesting declining household size. BC Assessment Authority reports comparable figures for 2007 of 1,631 residences (which includes second dwellings).

In contrast to other communities, the housing stock on Bowen Island consists predominantly of single-family dwellings, with a few multiple unit buildings and only 40 purpose-built rental units. Most of the 1,145 dwellings on the island in 2001 were owner occupied (77%). Rental tenure comprised only 23% compared to 39% of units in the GVRD. Again this does not include second dwellings.

Because of its proximity to the Lower Mainland and beautiful island setting, Bowen attracts second homeowners. According to the 2006 Census there were 301 dwellings used as second homes on Bowen Island. They represent 18% of the total dwelling stock on the island.

There is a limited rental market on Bowen Island consisting of single-family homes, secondary suites and about 40 purpose built rental units. In addition, some renters “make do” with renting second homes in the off-season, and then must scramble to find something suitable in the summer months.

Secondary suites were legalized in 2008, although some secondary suites. The number of secondary units is unknown, but it is generally estimated that approximately 20% of homes have secondary suites.


The number of permanent households on Bowen in 2001 was 1,145. This increased to 1,339 households in 2006, an increase of 17% in five years. Between 2001 and 2006, the average annual rate of population growth was 2.5%.

The population is aging. between 2001 and 2006, the median age increased from 41.4 to 44.8, with the largest age cohort aged between 45 and 64; this is also the fastest-growing segment.


In 2001, most of these households (72%) consisted of couples with and without children. Compared to the GVRD, Bowen residents are more likely to live in couple households, not one person or other household types (which include lone parent households). Average household size on Bowen (2.7 persons) in 2001 was slightly larger than the GVRD (2.5 persons).

Incomes on Bowen Island are relatively high compared to those in the GVRD, with average personal incomes of approximately $52,000 in 2002, compared to an average income of $46,000 per year in the GVRD.

About one quarter of all Bowen households earned over $100,000 per year, quite a significant share. The comparable figure for the GVRD is 16% – that is 16% of GVRD households earned $100,000 or more in 2000. The next largest group of households (22%) earned between $40,000 and $60,000/year.

Differences by household size are very significant. The largest share of one person households (24%) earned $10,000 to $20,000/yr, while the largest share of two person households (28%) earned $100,000 or more. Median household income in 2002 for renters at $41,075 is substantially lower than that of owners at $74,210.

Housing Affordability

The median sales price of single-family homes increased by 80% from 2003 to
2006, from $340,000 to $613,000.


The lowest price in a year has virtually doubled from $200,000 in 2003 to almost $400,000 in 2007.


A household earning the 2006 adjusted median income of $84,447 could not afford to purchase the 2007 entry level home selling for $395,000.

In 2005, over 400 households paid more than 30% of income for shelter, and increase of 31% since 2001. Bowen Island core need renter households are worse off in terms of their
housing than those in the GVRD generally.


Rental units typically rent for $900 to $1,300 per month. This is comparable to
GVRD rental rates.

Source: Bowen Island Affordable Housing Needs Assessment, Eberle Planning and Research