One of my best friends is moving away from Revelstoke.
She isn’t a skier or an Australian returning home, she is a new mom who had intended on raising her family here. And even though her husband has a well paying industry job and she was working full-time prior to having the baby, they can’t afford to buy an appropriate home.
Though their rental isn’t overly expensive, the house is old. Earlier this year she called me in a panic because wasps were crawling in through the bathroom fan and she was worried they would sting her child, or her pet, who is allergic. There have been other struggles with the property as well as the looming threat of having to find a new place if the landlord ever sells.
I am mad they are leaving, not at them, but at the system. I am mad about the housing crisis.
These friends of mine are exactly the kind of people we need in Revelstoke to keep the “community feel” we, as well as the tourists, love.
If they can’t afford a house, I wonder who can. Who is buying these $800,000-plus houses?
According to ratehub.com’s mortgage calculator, with the minimum down payment, and the lowest interest rate choice, a buyer would be paying almost $3,200 a month for 25 years.
With a $160,000 down payment, that rate decreases slightly to around $2,600 a month.
If you are following common financial advice and only spending one-third of your monthly income on housing, to afford that mortgage your family should be bringing in upwards of $115,000 a year (and that isn’t considering the craziness of hydro bills, food or gas prices in Revelstoke).
According to the 2016 census, the average income of a Revelstoke resident in 2015 was just under $44,000 a year and there were only 390 households making over $100,000 a year (out of 5,510).
Still, that was six years ago. But, put that through an inflation calculator and $44,000 goes up to $48,000, which might bump another 145 households into the $100,000-plus category, if everyone got annual raises that match inflation.
When you look at it that way, it makes sense that there are so many AirBnBs and houses with multiple roommates.
In the end, I don’t think my friend’s only reason for leaving is the lack of housing, but it is playing a major role. And, one day it will play a major role in my decision to leave.
Though I don’t currently have plans to move away, the lack of housing options is a consistent addition to my con side of my “stay or leave Revelstoke” list.
How many people are in the same boat as me and my friend?
What would Revelstoke be like without people like us?