EDITORIAL: The increasing cost of housing

The increasing property values should be cause for concern in Summerland and in rest of the region

Properties in Summerland are expensive.

The latest figures, released by B.C. Assessment this week, show the average single family home price, as of July 1, was $582,000. That’s an increase of 16 per cent over the past year.

And while property values went up in other parts of the region, our prices are still higher than most.

Penticton’s average assessment value was $502,000. Osoyoos had an average value of $472,000, Oliver’s average value was $327,000 and Princeton’s average value was $224,000.

Put another way, a Summerland homeowner with a typical home here could sell, move to Princeton, buy two average houses and still come out ahead financially.

Those who are already in the housing market here may see a change in the value of their homes, but such a change exists only on paper. The true financial impacts of a change in property values is felt only when one buys or sells a home.

However, the increasing property values should still be cause for concern in Summerland and in the rest of the region.

In past years, Summerlanders have spoken of the need to attract young families and workers to the community. However, the cost of housing here is a significant obstacle.

Property values are increasing far faster than the rate of inflation. Wages do not increase as rapidly as housing values.

For some families who would like to live in Summerland, the housing costs alone will put this community out of reach. Others, also considering a move to Summerland, may ask themselves if the quality of life in this community is worth the additional financial burden of buying and living here.

As homeowners look at their latest property assessments, it may be time to consider the cost of housing here, what it will mean for our community and how to respond to the increases in recent years.

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