The Tri-Cities Homelessness & Housing Task Group has released its first Tri-Cities Annual Housing Affordability Report. Its purpose is to provide a report card on indicators of living affordability in the Tri-Cities as it relates to the cost of shelter, and to provide trends where that data is available. There are 18 indicators grouped in 3 categories: housing affordability, housing availability and housing need. The report identifies 5 key issues:
- Average rents for apartments have risen 6% since 2008 – from $746 to $794 for a single bedroom, and from $933 to $989 for 2 bedrooms, reflecting the age of the Tri-Cities purpose-built rental units. Market rent for a new 1 bedroom apartment, even with developer incentives, could be in the $1,000 – $1,100 range.
- Although few rental units have been lost to demolition or conversion to strata ownership, that could change as construction of Evergreen Line stations at Burquitlam and Moody Centre puts pressure for redevelopment on aging rental properties. It will be very difficult to replace these units at current rents without significant developer incentives.
- According to the 2006 census, 31% of Tri-Cities renters were in “core housing need”, spending more than 30% of their gross household income on shelter, and 11% of renters were at-risk of homelessness. With the downturn in the economy in 2008, it is expected that 2011 census data available later this year will reveal an increase in both categories of need.
- Less than a quarter of renter households lived in purpose-built rental units in 2009, underlining the importance of the “secondary” rental market – secondary suites, social housing, and owner rented housing. In particular, secondary suites tend to have lower rents than purpose-built apartments and play an important role in the affordable housing market.
- Although the percentage of owner households at-risk of homelessness is considerably smaller than renter households, the actual number is surprisingly large – almost 2,500 households according to the 2006 census. At the same time over 4,400 owner households had annual incomes less than $20,000.
To view the full report, click here: Housing Affordability Report – 2013