In order to live comfortably in Kelowna residents need to make $52,000 annually to afford a one-bedroom place in the city.
That’s according to a recent housing assessment report published by the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO).
According to the report, it found that single renters who make an average wage can not afford to rent a place in Central Okanagan. The average wage in Kelowna is just over $45,000, according to Statistics Canada.
“Most single person households would need to spend between 30 to 50% of their monthly income to afford average rental prices in the RDCO,” said the report.
According to the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation, renters who spend 30 per cent or more of their gross monthly income on housing struggle to make ends meet.
The report suggests renters like single-parent households also face some of the greatest affordability pressures in the Okanagan market. With a two-bedroom suite costing upwards of $1,300 per month in Kelowna, the report said rent is eating up a large portion of a single parent’s salary in the Central Okanagan.
“In all communities, lone-parent households would need to spend more than 30% of their incomes on rent to afford two- and three-bedroom homes, the most suitable housing type for families with children,” stated the report.
“Single parent families and single persons under the age of 25 do not appear to be able to afford average rental prices even with 50 per cent of their median gross income spent on rent.”
Despite the high figure, the assessment said affordability improves slightly as people move further away from the downtown core.
“In Lake Country, renters earning $47,952 or more annually can afford a one-bedroom unit,” the report said.
“This analysis demonstrates that, generally, affordability increases outside of Kelowna.”
While the assessment said more people are choosing to buy a home further away from where they work in Kelowna, it said the move might be counter-productive as costs associated with traffic congestion and longer commute times increase.
West Kelowna, Peachland and Central Okanagan East residents currently face the longest commute times, which range between 23-36 minutes.
With the rising cost of living, the assessment said more residents are thinking of leaving the region altogether.
“A large proportion of survey respondents answered “yes” when asked if they would consider moving outside of their current community to find affordable housing options – 33 per cent would move outside of the region,” said the report.