Kelowna still struggles with housing affordability: report - Kelowna News

Kelowna still struggles with housing affordability: report – Kelowna News

The City of Kelowna says it has done a lot to address housing affordability over the past few years, but it can and must do more.

That’s at the heart of a report which looks at the city’s housing affordability crisis before the council and highlights what needs to be done in the short and long term.

According to the report, housing affordability specifically refers to the ability of local residents to afford a home, and not specifically just “affordable housing.”

The report, which the council will review Monday morning, suggests the monthly mortgage on the average detached home purchased in 2022 would exceed $6,000 and was close to $3,000 for the average condo sold last year.

For the average household earning $105,300 a year, “the average household would have a hard time affording home ownership.”

Affordability on the rental side isn’t much better, with average rents for one- and two-bedroom units at $1,817 and $2,580, respectively, and a vacancy rate of 0.6 percent

The report says the city has permitted more than 11,500 new homes over the past five years, but many are still under construction, so the full impact on the housing system has yet to be seen.

Staff say the city has taken a number of steps to address affordability in the past few years, and in many cases has been a leader in the area.

“The city was an early adopter of secondary apartments and carriage houses and has carried this success forward into new forms of missing middle housing,” the report said.

This indicates that thousands of new market rental homes have been created with more than 5,000 units currently in various stages of approval.

“The City has worked to create one of the most efficient development processes in the province and has secured a number of successful partnerships with BC Housing to deliver hundreds of affordable homes across the community.

“Our housing affordability problems would be more severe if these measures were not taken.”

However, the report concludes that more action is needed, bearing in mind that there are only so many tools available.

Going forward, it is suggested that the city look at policy factors to identify necessary measures, regulations and policy improvements and partnerships

“Among these, the Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) offers an important opportunity to recalibrate the city’s approach to the changing conditions of the housing system.

“HNA will provide a comprehensive assessment of current and future housing needs (types, tenures, affordability, priority populations) and create a basis for clear goals and actions. It will provide a solid foundation of information on which to set new directions.” on the city’s housing work in the next few years.”

Staff concluded that higher levels of government are making housing affordability a priority and increasing their commitment to addressing it.

“The City has a long history of progressive and proactive housing actions in policy, regulation and process improvement and partnerships. Some actions will have short-term impacts, while others will take many years to produce results.”

“Long-term, systemic change will require consistent and dedicated efforts in all of these areas.

“This year will provide the council with a unique opportunity to look again at our approach to housing, set a renewed strategy for the coming years and take bold action on an issue that is vital to the wellbeing of our community.”

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