Kelowna residents can’t afford to purchase real estate, report says

a view of a city: The RDCO has published a report which outlines the Central Okanagan's housing needs.

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The RDCO has published a report which outlines the Central Okanagan’s housing needs.

Owning a home of any kind in Kelowna is now out of reach for most people, according to a housing assessment conducted by the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO).

In the assessment, the RDCO states the median income for couples in Kelowna, said to be $82,000 annually as of 2015, cannot help them afford to buy a townhouse or single-detached house without spending more than 30 per cent of their income on their mortgage.

It’s even worse for single-parent or single-person households as the report found there are no affordable home options for purchase based on the average price, including condos.

“The community is growing rapidly, and housing affordability is a challenge for people across the board,” said James Moore, City of Kelowna’s policy planning manager.

“I don’t think, as this assessment paints, that’s going to change anytime soon.“

Read more: Kelowna sees fourth-highest population growth rate in Canada

Rentals are more affordable, according to the report, as couples can typically afford most types of rental housing. But for single-person households, they can only afford to rent a studio or one-bedroom dwelling, in Kelowna.

“The City of Kelowna is a location where prices tend to be even more accelerated, even more than our region’s counterparts,” said Moore.

At this point, West Kelowna is said to be the most affordable community for purchasing property in the Central Okanagan, but according to the report, couples with the median income in that community ($90,000 annually) can still only afford to buy a condo to stay within 30 per cent of their gross incomes.

Townhomes and houses remain out of their reach.

Lone-parent or single-person households can’t afford any real estate in West Kelowna, according to the report.

Read more: Home values ‘moderately increase’ in Thompson, Okanagan region

Overall, the regional district said it’s expecting the Central Okanagan’s population to grow by 60,000 people by 2036, which means around 26,000 additional homes, of all kinds, will be needed.

“The Central Okanagan is one of the fastest-growing regions in the province, and even with more housing units being built, there is still a lack of affordable housing to meet the needs of the community,” said Danika Dudzik, a RDCO senior planner.

The City of Kelowna and the RDCO say they will be using the information from the report to better prepare for the future.

You can read the full report here.

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