The Parsons at Brentwood Bay has added 40 units of affordable housing to Central Saanich following its opening in August. A new report before Central Saanich council calls for more affordable housing. (Photo Contributed)

The Parsons at Brentwood Bay has added 40 units of affordable housing to Central Saanich following its opening in August. A new report before Central Saanich council calls for more affordable housing. (Photo Contributed)

New housing report says Central Saanich families find it increasingly difficult to find housing

Central Saanich records rental vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent in 2019

A new report pegs Central Saanich’s vacancy rate at 0.6 per cent in 2019, below the range of three to five per cent considered healthy by experts.

These figures appear in the District of Central Saanich’s Housing Needs Report. The report prepared as part of new reporting requirements by municipalities to the provincial government make a case for more rental housing as well as more housing for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

According to the report, renter households are growing faster than owner households in Central Saanich, with the secondary rental market having absorbed most of the increase. Simply put, the community has not seen a significant increase in the supply of new rental housing.

80 per cent of all households in Central Saanich owned their own home in 2016, a drop of two per cent a decade before, with renters accounting for 18 per cent in 2006 and 20 per cent in 2020. By comparison, the ratio of owners and renters across the Capital Regional District was 66 to 34 per cent in 2006, 63 per cent to 37 per cent in 2016. In other words, Central Saanich reflects the regional trend toward more renters, albeit from a lower starting point.

If the share of renters is rising in Central Saanich as well as the Greater Victoria region, their means are not keeping up with those of home owners.

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Whereas the median household income of home owners rose by 9.3 per cent to $98,393 in 2016 compared to 2006, the median household income of renters rose by 8.3 per cent to $47,792 in 2016 compared to 2006. While significant gaps between the median household incomes of home owners and renters also exist across the region, they are relatively larger in Central Saanich.

Looking on the cost side, the report finds that the median rent has increased by 74 per cent between 2005 and 2019, while the average home sale price has risen 62 per cent for a single-family home and 110 per cent for a condo apartment during that period. Notably, the report does not distinguish by geography.

Central Saanich families with children appear hit hard by the community’s growing unaffordability. “Larger homes in Central Saanich are increasingly out of reach for families with children,” it reads, adding that single-detached homes are unaffordable for households earning the median income.

If stakeholders surveyed for the report call for more rental housing across the region, they also lament the lack of affordable and supportive housing units for seniors, especially options affordable for individuals on fixed incomes. This demand appears as Central Saanich is experiencing what the report calls “a relatively rapid aging trend” with the median age growing from 45.8 in 2006 to 50.4 in 2016.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com