Housing affordability improved in 2023 for most of northern B.C., with the exception of Williams Lake.

The BC Northern Real Estate Board released a report on housing affordability indicators for 2023. The report emphasized the relatively high level of affordability of the region, “especially when compared with the Vancouver Region.”

Housing affordability was calculated as the percentage of the median household income required to cover the costs of home ownership in a community, including mortgage payments, taxes and fees, and utilities for a single family home on less than one acre.

Northern B.C. as a region was calculated out to an average of 32.9 per cent, which was a slight decrease from 2022.

The report contrasted this with the Vancouver area’s affordability, which was calculated at 137 per cent.

Interestingly, 100 Mile House was the least affordable community for 2023, as well as being at the most southern end of the northern B.C. real estate area. The housing affordability indicator in 100 Mile House was 59.1 per cent for 2023.

Kitimat and Fort St. John were the most affordable in 2023. Kitimat was 22.8 per cent and Fort St. John was 24.4. per cent.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing is considered affordable if it is less than 30 per cent of a household’s before-tax income.

The price of an average detached single family home increased in four communities across northern B.C. from 2022 to 2023, but only Williams Lake saw a large increase in the region, with house prices increasing 10.4 per cent from 2022 to 2023.

Average house prices were the highest in Smithers at $517,291. Terrace and Prince George also average more than $500,000. Williams Lake is creeping closer with an average price of $477,948.

Only Quesnel and Kitimat have house prices averaged below $400,000.

Only communities with an average of at least 75 detached single-family home sales per year were included in the report. The mortgage costs are based on the average house price with 25 per cent down and amortization over 25 years at a five-year fixed mortgage rate.