Housing very affordable in northern B.C.

Average prices of $260,000 less than half of the provincial figure

It is still significantly more affordable to own a house in northern B.C. compared to the rest of the province, indicates a study by a regional real estate body.

According to the 12th annual BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) Housing Affordability Indicator – which estimates the proportion of median household income needed to cover mortgage cost, property taxes and fees, and utilities for the average single family home – housing affordability sat at an average of 29.4 per cent in northern B.C. in 2013, compared to 68.1 per cent in the province.

In Terrace, it takes 31.4 per cent of a homeowner’s annual income to cover housing costs, the second highest in the region after 100 Mile House, according to the report. That’s up slightly from last year, according to the report.

Housing affordability in Prince Rupert stayed relatively the same, at 28.5 per cent, and while Kitimat is still on the more affordable end of the scale in the region at 25.4 per cent, due to a sharp increase in housing prices over the last few years, affordability has declined sharply.

The average price of a single family home sold in northern B.C. in 2013 was about $260,000. That’s less than half of the provincial average for the year, approximately $616,000.

In Terrace, the average price of a single family home sold was less than the regional average, around $250,000.

That’s a jump up from 2012, which, according to the report hovered around $215,000 and had been relatively stable since 2010.

Housing price increases in Kitimat “reflect an improving economy after a significant period of economic stagnation,” reads the report, and are part of a three-year trend in the region that has seen housing prices increase with the exception of 100 Mile House “which exhibited more or less a holding pattern and Williams Lake which shows a very slight declining trend.”

The realtors who make up the BCNREB represent communities from Fort Nelson in the north to 100 Mile House in the south and from the Alberta border to Haida Gwaii.