Housing is scarce across B.C., and what housing there is isn’t always affordable. (File photo)

Housing is scarce across B.C., and what housing there is isn’t always affordable. (File photo)

EDITORIAL: Housing prices and supply affect our communities

Shortage of affordable housing an issue around B.C.

There is a housing crisis in many communities around British Columbia.

The average price of a single-family home is past $500,000 in many communities, and in Revelstoke price tags around the $800,000 mark are common.

In Princeton, the vacancy rate for rental properties is less than one per cent.

Anyone looking to locate to that community will have a difficult time finding a place to live.

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And in Summerland, the Summerland Locals Helping Locals Facebook group sees numerous requests from families in search of a place to live.

Summerland also has a lack of housing diversity, since the majority of homes are single-family houses, with a limited selection of apartments and townhomes.

The present housing market, with a limited supply, contributes to high prices.

This can benefit those who are looking to sell or rent out a home.

But the selling price is only part of the equation. High housing costs affect the demographics of a community.

Some believe higher housing costs will also help to create premium communities throughout the region, as high prices will drive out those who cannot afford the rent rates or mortgage payments.

However, a healthy, vibrant community does not consist of just one economic sector. If housing costs are high, it becomes difficult for businesses to hire workers, especially in retail, hospitality, tourism and service industry jobs.

In some communities, employers in skilled trades fields are having a hard time attracting workers because of the cost of living.

The issue of housing affordability is being raised in communities around the Okanagan and Similkameen. Individuals and community organizations are discussing ways to add to the housing supply and accommodate those who need affordable places to live.

But talk by itself is not enough. For the sake of all in our communities, we need to take action to ensure there is an adequate, affordable supply of housing.

–Black Press

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