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EDITORIAL: Coping with the high cost of housing

Limited supply and high prices affect everyone
The Barclay House on Victoria Road South in Summerland is the oldest continuously inhabited home in Summerland. Today, in communities around British Columbia and beyond, housing prices are high and supply is low. (Black Press file photo)

In communities around the Okanagan Valley and throughout the southern Interior of British Columbia, housing is in short supply and prices are high.

Summerland and Penticton are both dealing with proposals for affordable housing projects in their communities. Similar discussions are taking place in other parts of this region, including Keremeos, Revelstoke, Vernon and other communities.

Housing has a direct effect on potential homebuyers, renters and people considering moving into a community. But a housing shortage and a high-priced market have far-reaching repercussions for entire communities. House prices also affect rental prices.

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When housing is expensive and in short supply, it will affect workers who are in need of a home they can afford. This in turn affects employers and business owners, especially those seeking to bring out-of-town people to fill job vacancies. In short, housing can affect the local economy of a community.

There are also other related issues surrounding housing supply and housing affordability, especially when it comes to providing shelter for those living on limited incomes.

However, affordable housing does not just affect one segment of the population. According to a report from Kelowna, released earlier this year, almost half of renter households in Kelowna spent more than one-third of their gross income on rent. Fewer than one in 10 households in that city were able to afford to buy a home there.

Canadian housing prices have started to decline slightly this year, but even with a drop in prices, housing remains expensive.

Discussions about housing, especially affordable housing, are often uncomfortable. While many would agree with the need for a greater housing supply and an increase in the number of affordable housing units, the difficult questions have to do with where these units should be built and how they should be funded.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed by all levels of government, and one that requires immediate attention.

Housing issues affect everyone in our communities.

– Black Press

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