An assessment of housing needs in the North Okanagan commissioned by the regional district found there is a mismatch between what’s available and the demographics.
According to the assessment, more than half of households are made up of one or two people but more than half of the housing is geared towards bigger families with at least three bedrooms.
At the same time, 12 per cent of the region’s households live in housing that is not affordable, too small or is in need of major repair, but don’t have the income to drive demand.
When it comes to rental properties, the report found “a shortfall of almost 1,200 low rent units, required for households earning less than $20,000.”
The assessment also suggested the region could also use more rental units “with good levels of amenity” for those in the highest income bracket arguing that might free up cheaper housing options for those that make less.
The chair of the Regional District of North Okanagan is hoping to see more development of smaller more affordable housing.
“There are a lot of people in the Okanagan that live by themselves and they are floating around these huge houses so we have this opportunity to have smaller housing,” Kevin Acton said.
“We’d like to encourage developers to move in that direction but we really don’t know what’s holding the developers back from filling that market. Is there profit in that type of housing? Is there something that we need to do as a government to help fill the void? Is there some legislation that is getting in the way?”
The next step for the regional district will be to research solutions to the gaps that have now been identified.