In order to secure home ownership in Smithers, it will cost you over one-third of your pre-tax income.
That’s according to the 2022 Housing Affordability Indicator Index from the BC Northern Real Estate Board.
The Smithers rate sits at 37.6% – slightly higher than the regional average of 31.6%.
BCNREB Vice-Chair, Kristine Newell told Vista Radio that salaries continue to lag behind even as the cost of significant services rises.
“The household incomes have not come up enough to cover those costs of rising utilities and rising inflation. So your municipal taxes have also gone up like your water, gas, and hydro – even your interest rates have gone up over 2021 when they were at an all-time low.”
“My best advice would be to buy what you can afford and then you can always build up equity and build up later on. But, it does affect affordability and it does impact your purchasing powers – you might have been hoping to purchase something at a higher price point last year or the year and you might have to re-adjust your expectations.”
Smithers is tied with Prince George for the second-highest rate. In terms of home ownership, 100 Mile House remains the least affordable community in northern BC as the HAI from 2022 was 61.6% with the major factor being household income. Affordability also worsened in places like Quesnel, Williams Lake, and Smithers by an average of 10% in those markets.
In addition, Fort St. John recorded the most affordable Housing Affordability Indicator for the third consecutive year with a mark of 21.2%. This was due to slower growth in house prices than most of the region.
Newell added in order for the local rate to come down, the housing supply in PG needs to come up.
“We just simply need more supply. We are entering into the spring market again now and I am seeing multiple offers on many of my listings as well as many of the properties buyers are looking to purchase. It really does come down to that supply side – the interest rates are having an effect and the rising costs of utilities are also having an effect.”
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing is considered “affordable” if it costs less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income.
Last year, the average home price in Northern BC was $451,576 – a spike of nearly 11% from 2021.
Prince George recorded the highest average sales price in 2022 at $524,221.
Quesnel and Kitimat on the other hand had average house prices below $400,000 in 2022.
Kitimat has the lowest house prices in all of Northern BC with an average sale price of $379,133.
Here is a breakdown of the percent of median household income needed to finance home ownership in the north (from highest to lowest):
- 100 Mile House 61.6%
- Prince George and Smithers 37.6%
- Terrace 36%
- Prince Rupert 34.4%
- Quesnel 34.2%
- Williams Lake 34%
- Kitimat 22.3%
- Fort St. John 21.2%
For a link to the full report, click here.