Idea #12: Zone for Affordable Housing

Idea #12: Zone for Affordable Housing
by: Monte Paulsen

With real-estate prices skyrocketing while wages remain stagnant, British Columbia is about to confront a crisis in affordable housing.

With the median price of a home topping $1.2 million, Whistler is already there.

"How does anybody pay $1.2 million for a house?" Whistler municipal councillor Tim Wake asked at a recent housing forum. "First you need $300,000 for a down payment. I have no idea where any first-time homebuyer would get that. Then what? You're going to make payments on a $900,000 mortgage?"

And with the average price of a single-family home in Whistler expected to more than triple to $3 million by 2010, Whistler has crossed a kind of financial frontier, on the other side of which it is simply not possible for even a successful two-income family to buy a home.

"This is a challenge that has hit resort communities kind of as a precursor to many of our other municipalities in B.C. and Alberta, because the escalating values in real estate have hit resort communities first," Wake said. "And I think there are some lessons to be learned from those resort communities."

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