Photo: Brian Burger/Flickr

A single-family home in Northern BC was roughly $1.3 million cheaper than a comparable home found in Vancouver in 2017, as housing remained significantly more affordable outside of the country’s most expensive housing market.

In fact, the average Northern BC household required only 28.9 per cent of its annual income to cover housing costs compared to 115.7 per cent in Vancouver, according to the BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) 2017 Housing Affordability report, published this month.

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“Historically, the largest contributor to affordability has been house prices, and this trend continues for 2017,” reads the report.

Last year, the average price of a single-family home in Northern BC was $290,000. Whereas, in Greater Vancouver, the benchmark price of a detached home was $1,605,800 in December 2017, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

Northern BC is comprised of the Cariboo, Bulkley Nechako, Fraser Fort George, Skeena Queen Charlotte, Kitimat Stikine, Peace River and Northern Rockies Regional Districts.

BCNREB’s Housing Affordability Indicators calculate the proportion of median household income required to cover mortgage costs, municipal taxes and fees and utilities for the average single-family home. As the measure increases, it becomes more difficult to afford a home.

Last year, Mackenzie remained the most affordable community in Northern BC, where homeowners only required 20 per cent of their annual income to cover housing costs.

Following Mackenzie was Kitimat with roughly 21 per cent, Quesnel with 25 per cent and Smithers with 26 per cent.

100 Mile House recorded the worst affordability in 2017 at 36 per cent, a decline of 12.4 percentage points from the previous year.

“In most cases, worsening affordability can be attributed to increases in average house prices,” reads the report.

The city of Fort St. John had the highest average single-family home prices in Northern BC last year at roughly $390,000. However, prices continued a downward trend resulting in improved affordability at 27.4 per cent, down 2.7 percentage points from 2016.

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