Housing supply not keeping pace with population growth in Thompson-Okanagan


British Columbia Chartered Professional Accountants

KELOWNA, British Columbia, June 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to BC report: livean annual report from the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on demographic and affordability trends in the province, the population of Thompson-Okanagan grew to 619,894 residents in 2021, an increase of 9,837 from to 2020.

“The pandemic has slowed population growth over the past two years, but our region has fared better than other parts of the province,” said Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FCA, partner at MNP LLP in Kelowna. “In fact, over the past five years, the population of Thompson-Okanagan has grown at the fastest rate in British Columbia, with new residents drawn here by the lifestyle and recreational opportunities and declining housing prices, and more recently, the ability to work remotely.

Notably, interprovincial migration increased significantly in 2021 in the region, with a net number of 6,791 new residents from other provinces, compared to 3,517 in 2020. This number was the highest in a decade. Of these new residents, the majority were 39 or younger.

“Attracting new residents to our area is key, especially young people,” noted Christiansen. “Our population continues to age, with the average age being 45.4, up from 43.6 in 2011. People aged 65 and over now make up almost a quarter of our population, up from a fifth a decade ago. . However, growth in housing supply has lagged behind population growth.

Between 2017 and 2021, the number of residents in Thompson-Okanagan increased by 50,982 while only 20,524 residential units were completed. In 2021, a total of 3,697 housing units were completed; about two-thirds were attached units such as apartments and condos. Although down from 4,134 units in 2020 and 5,676 in 2019, this is still above the average of around 3,100 annual completions over the past decade.

“Housing completions have declined since the record set in 2019, with attached units declining the most,” Christiansen noted. “Inadequate housing supply in the area has put pressure on housing prices and rents, posing a serious challenge to current and potential residents.”

Over the past year, the average price of a home sold in the Okanagan has increased nearly 10%, selling for $785,660 in May 2022, compared to $716,659 in May 2021. Rental prices also increased, especially for larger units. In Kelowna, a unit with three or more bedrooms was rented for an average of $1,709 in 2021, up 7.1% from 2020, while the price of a one-bedroom unit increased by 4, 0% to reach $1,191. The vacancy rate for all unit types was below 1.0%.

“There’s a lot of demand from people looking to buy as well as rent, but there’s a lack of supply on both fronts,” Christiansen concluded. “Our region must continue to attract residents, especially those of working age who generate the goods and services that underpin our local economy. Going forward, it will be essential to generate greater housing development to improve accessibility and affordability.

To find out more, see www.bccheckup.com.
About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the education, governance and regulatory body for more than 38,000 CPA members and 6,000 CPA candidates and students. The CPABC fulfills its primary mission of protecting the public by applying the highest professional and ethical standards and by contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are internationally recognized for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business vision and leadership to organizations.

CONTACT: For more information: Aaron Aerts, Economist 604.442.9161 [email protected]