Northern B.C. communities offer affordable home ownership, states report

Some communities less affordable in 2017 than previous year

  • Mar. 16, 2018 12:48 p.m.

Home ownership in northern B.C. remains affordable, particularly compared to Vancouver, according to a report released by the BC Northern Real Estate Board.

According to the report, the average price of a single family home sold in northern B.C. in 2017 was about $290,000 while the typical Vancouver single detached house averaged more than $1,500,000.

The communities of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake are still affordable places to live, states the report, however, home ownership is less affordable now than it was a year ago.

“Price growth in 2017 varied widely from community to community. Average house prices in 100 Mile House and Smithers increased significantly. Once again, the highest average house prices in northern British Columbia are found in Fort St. John, although prices continued a recent downward trend,” states the report.

“Changes in affordability also varied across the region. Kitimat, Mackenzie, and Fort St John saw affordability improve by 16.7 per cent, three per cent, and 2.7 per cent, respectively. Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, and Williams Lake saw affordability worsen by 4-10 per cent. In 100 Mile House, affordability worsened by 12.4 per cent. In most cases, worsening affordability can be attributed to increases in average house prices. The most affordable community in Northern British Columbia remains Mackenzie, where homeowners require only 20.1 per cent of their annual income to cover the costs of housing.

The BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) Housing Affordability Indicators estimate the proportion of median household income that is required to cover mortgage costs, municipal taxes and fees, and utilities for the average single family home. The higher the measure, the more difficult it is to afford a home, states the report.

For example, an affordability measure of 50 per cent means that home ownership costs, including mortgage payments, utilities, and property taxes take up 50 per cent of a typical household’s pre-tax income.

Historically, the largest contributor to affordability has been house prices, and this trend continues for 2017, states the report.

The percentage of household income to finance home ownership in some northern communities are estimated as follows; 100 Mile House 36.33 per cent, Williams Lake 29.47 per cent, Fort St. John 27.41 per cent, Kitimat 20.63 per cent , Mackenzie 20.13 per cent, Prince George 30.88 per cent, Prince Rupert 33.05 per cent, Quesnel 25.19 per cent, Smithers 26.17 per cent and Terrace at 32.66 per cent.

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