There are steady demand for new homes and existing homes in the Vernon area.

There are steady demand for new homes and existing homes in the Vernon area.

Vernon officials concerned about house prices

From January to June, the average sales price for a single-family dwelling in Vernon was $421,000

House prices are soaring in Vernon.

From January to June, the average sales price for a single-family dwelling in Vernon was $421,000 compared to $377,000 during the same period in 2015.

“It’s a pretty crazy market,” Kevin Poole, economic development manager, told city council Monday.

The figures are heightening concerns about the inability of some residents to purchase homes.

“It puts it out of the affordability range,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.

And prices could be a stumbling block for businesses trying to retain employees or attract new workers to the region.

“From a business perspective, bringing people in is a priority and house prices are challenging,” said Poole.

“Our goal is to attract a younger demographic and if you look at the construction industry, affordability will be a key for them as well.”

Coun. Juliette Cunningham is concerned about the situation.

“The only glimmer of hope is more rentals being built and that takes pressure off the existing rental units,” she said.

“But we are seeing families living in campgrounds because they can’t afford housing.”

Cunningham says the city is looking at ways to encourage affordable housing, including possibly tiny homes.

Year to date, the city issued $88 million in building permits of all property types by the end of June. That is up from $44 million last year.

“Those are strong numbers we are seeing,” said Poole, adding that there were 385 residential units in June.

“It was the third best June ever and likely the second best ever.”

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports there were 31 housing starts in June, down from 38 during the same period in 2015. Year to date, there have been 191 starts, up from 143 during the first six months of 2015.