Simply put, many in Kelowna can't afford home ownership

Housing affordability crunch

As the cost of housing goes up, the prospects of an average Kelowna couple owning their own home shrinks.

A new regional housing needs assessment indicates housing ownership is out of the reach of many Kelowna residents.

It further says median income couple households cannot afford to buy a townhouse or single-family dwelling without spending more than 30 per cent of their income on their mortgage.

The province has made it mandatory that municipalities in the province prepare a housing needs a assessment prior to April, 2022, then every five years thereafter.

Kelowna was forced to use a regional housing assessment compiled by the regional district because one it completed in 2017 did not meet the provincial requirements because it was compiled before legislation was enacted in 2019.

City planner Arlene Janousek says the regional district assessment included descriptive analysis of Kelowna along with other jurisdictions.

Along with the high cost of ownership, Janousek says other mitigating factors are also in play.

"In alignment with the city's housing needs assessment, the regional district also found there is likely to be ongoing population growth and demand for housing, and there are populations particularly vulnerable to housing issues including youth, seniors, those experiencing homelessness and low income households," said Janousek during a presentation to city council.

"Anticipating housing affordability will be an ongoing challenge in Kelowna, and across the region, requiring action from all levels of government."

Along with the high cost of ownership, Janousek says the RDCO assessment highlights affordability challenges in rentals, "particularly for lone-parent and single-person households."

The housing needs assessment will be update once new census information is available next year.

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