High rents an push people to the outskirts of larger cities

Second in a month-long series on affordable housing

In Parksville and Qualicum Beach, the average house sales price is $387,111 (June 2011 Multiple Listing Services statistics). 

Average apartment rents are shown by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to be, on average, $703 per month (as of April, 2011). 

A quick scan of rental ads in the newspaper show rents of apartments to be, on average $895 per month. 

For houses, the listing average is $1,138 per month.

Census data shows most respondents pay on average $766 each month for rent, or $469 per month on a mortgage.

Selection, however, is somewhat slim. The area has a 0.9 per cent vacancy rate (the B.C. average is 3.7 per cent).

In the most recent census data (2006), the average income of families here was $55,524 — or $4,627 per month.

Not bad, and those families could easily afford the local rent averages.

Yet, earnings for lone-parent families and singles drop quite a bit. The former earns, on average, $36,073. The latter, $24,354. As a result, the average monthly payments eat deeper into their bank accounts.

Issues such as the local unemployment rate (6.8 per cent versus the B.C. average 6) and high population of retired people and seniors, create other problems such as fewer affordable housing in the so-called more desirable areas of the mid-Island. 

People are often pushed to the outskirts and rural areas, where homes are generally cheaper. 

Yet, that raises other issues such as transportation costs and access to services. Those issues will be tackled as the series continues.


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