PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The BC Northern Real Estate Board issued its annual publication of housing affordability indicators in most of Northern B.C., which shows that housing was more affordable in 2017 than the year prior.

The BCNREB’s report estimates the proportion of median household income required to cover mortgage costs, municipal taxes and fees, as well as utilities for the average single-family home. According to the report, home ownership in Northern British Columbia remains exceptionally affordable, especially when compared with Vancouver.

The average price of a single-family dwelling sold in Northern B.C. last year was roughly $290,000, while statistics from the third quarter of 2016 show that the price of an average detached house in Vancouver was more than $1,500,000. In 2017, stats show that on average, Northern BC residents were spending 28.9 of pre-tax income on housing last year. In Vancouver, the Housing Affordability Indicator was 115.7 percent.

Housing affordability varied widely across the North. Kitimat, Mackenzie, and Fort St. John saw affordability improve by 16.7 percent, 3.0 percent, and 2.7 percent respectively. The HAI in Fort St. John in 2017 was 27.41 percent, which ranked it as the fifth most affordable housing market in Northern B.C. This despite the fact that the average price of a single family home in the Energetic City was still nearly $100,000 higher than the city with the next-highest average, which was Prince George.

Affordability in Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers and Williams Lake worsened anywhere between four and ten percent. The most affordable community in the BCNREB’s is still Mackenzie, where homeowners only spend 20.1 percent of their annual income to cover housing costs.