Report considers housing needs in Electoral Areas C & E

Friday, August 28, 2020

Appropriate housing for seniors, a shortage of lower-cost rental options and challenges with seasonal accommodations were three of the primary findings of a Housing Needs Report for Electoral Areas C (South Shuswap) and E (Rural Sicamous and Malakwa).

The report, which was received by the Board at the Thursday, August 20, 2020 meeting, pointed to housing challenges created by an aging population, declining household sizes, slow population growth and the affordability of the current housing market.

Housing Needs Reports are now a provincial requirement for all jurisdictions in BC. This is the first report prepared for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), assisted by $33,000 in grant funding from the Union of BC Municipalities.

Information from the report will be used to help guide both short-term and long-term housing strategies for the CSRD. This could include changes with regard to secondary suites, lot sizes or building setbacks. Efforts will also be directed towards educational and promotional opportunities for the housing industry to help improve shortfalls.

Other longer-term measures with budget implications will need to be considered as part of future CSRD budget and staff workplans.

Some common findings in both Electoral Areas are: a shrinking household size, requiring more housing units per capita, and a reliance on employment and travel outside the Electoral Area.

Both areas also had high portion of dwellings not being occupied by full-time residents, with a large number of seasonal and vacation homes as well as short-term rentals. This translates into housing challenges for affordable year-round accommodations.

Key findings specific to Electoral Area C include:

  • A modest population growth rate,
  • A median rent of $1,048 per month,
  • A projected 45 per cent increase in senior households,
  • 74 per cent of households cannot qualify for a median single family home mortgage.

Key findings specific to Electoral Area E include:

  • A declining population, but with an increasing proportion of youth,
  • A median rent of $866 per month,
  • An aging housing stock with a high rate of homes in need of repairs,
  • 79 per cent of households cannot qualify for a median single family home mortgage.

Directors voted unanimously to accept the report as presented. Other Electoral Areas will be the subject of future Housing Needs Reports as funding becomes available.  Staff will review the report and discuss the data and recommendations further with Directors at a future Board meeting. 

You can read the full report and the report to the Board by clicking here.

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