A shortage of housing units and ongoing issues with housing affordability have resulted in new construction in some B.C. communities. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

EDITORIAL: Housing crisis needs immediate legislative action

Housing supply and housing affordability are affecting people throughout the province

The provincial government is taking steps to address housing issues in British Columbia.

Premier David Eby has announced that housing will have its own ministry in the provincial government, with the new minister to be announced in early December.

In addition, the provincial government is taking on initiatives to address British Columbia’s housing crisis. These measures include a proposed Housing Supply Act and amendments to the Strata Property Act.

READ ALSO: Eby drills down on age-restrictive stratas, municipal targets in new housing measures

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Housing supply and housing affordability are affecting people throughout the province. For years, homes in this province have been expensive and while prices have started to decline, it is still expensive to buy a home in British Columbia.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Central Okanagan is still more than $1 million. In the North Okanagan, the price is around $739,000 and in the South Okanagan, the price is approaching $800,000.

Earlier this year, a study in Kelowna showed fewer than one in 10 Kelowna households could afford the benchmark price for a single-family home in the city.

The prices for apartments, condominium units and townhouses are lower than prices for single-family homes, but even these prices are out of reach for many.

Real estate prices have been increasing faster than wages.

Rental costs are also expensive, and these costs are putting stress onto those who are living on modest incomes. When housing costs take up a large portion of a household’s income, there are times when a choice must be made between paying for heat or buying groceries for the family. These are choices no one should be forced to make.

While the recent housing announcements and creation of a housing ministry are welcome news, these measures are not enough.

British Columbia is experiencing a housing crisis. This crisis needs immediate action.

— Black Press

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