04/07/2016 13:32 EDT | Updated 04/08/2017 01:12 EDT

When carrots equal karats: New study says B.C. home costs threaten food security

VANCOUVER — A report from Vancity credit union says double-digit leaps in home prices across the Vancouver region could force farmers off the land and threaten local food security.

The study says farmland prices across the region, including the rich and productive soils of the Fraser River delta, range from $150,000 to $350,000 per acre for parcels less than five acres. 

Agricultural lender Farm Credit Canada has already reported land prices above $80,000 per acre threaten the viability of many B.C. farms.  

The Vancity report says those who own large tracts of protected agricultural land could profit from soaring home prices by converting smaller plots of valuable farmland to estate housing or other developments.

The study, authored by Brent Mansfield director of the BC Food Systems Network, says prices need to be controlled and farmland must be safeguarded in order to save local food systems.

Vancity's report comes as a Royal LePage survey reveals the year-over-year price for a home in Greater Vancouver vaulted more than 20 per cent in the first three months of 2016.

The Canadian Press