Housing in northern B.C. remains more affordable than in other regions of the province.

Housing affordability in northern B.C. remains high

Purchasing a home in northern British Columbia is much cheaper than in the rest of the province.

According to the B.C. Northern Real Estate Board’s (BCNREB) 12th annual Housing Affordability Study, purchasing a home in northern British Columbia is much cheaper than in the rest of the province.

The report, prepared for the BCNREB by Leslie Lax of Strategic Management Consulting, consists of the housing affordability indicator, which estimates the proportion of median household income required to cover mortgage costs, municipal taxes and fees and utilities for the average single family home. Median income amounts are drawn from the 2011 National Household Survey.

For the third consecutive year, house prices have increased in northern British Columbia. But despite the growth, owning a home in B.C.’s north is considered to be economical.

“Home ownership in northern British Columbia remains exceptionally affordable, especially when compared with Vancouver,” reads the report.

The 2013 housing affordability indicator for northern B.C. was 29.4 per cent, less than half of the provincial average of 68.1 per cent and significantly lower than Vancouver’s 82.4 per cent.

The largest contributor to the differences is house prices. The average price of a single family home sold in the north was about $260,000 in 2013, compared to the provincial average of $616,000 and Vancouver’s average of $810,000.

The most affordable community in the north to be a homeowner in is Mackenzie, requiring only 20.8 per cent of their annual income, with the most expensive being 100 Mile House at nearly 35 per cent.

In Prince Rupert, the report says 28.5 per cent of household income goes to home ownership.