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Policy Area 7: Housing

Housing is not only a basic human need it is also good for the economy both directly (i.e. construction industry) and indirectly as businesses are better able to establish and grow when a variety of local housing is available to rent or to own.

The Regional Growth Strategy encourages the creation and retention of a variety of housing options in each North Okanagan community to meet the needs and expectations of a broad range of household types and income levels.

How Are We Doing?

On average, respondents to the 2013 Quality of Life survey rated their ability to afford quality housing as less than ‘fair’. Younger survey respondents were more likely to rate the availability of different housing types, and opportunities for home ownership, lower than older respondents suggesting that there is room to improve on the potential for younger people to get into the home-ownership market.

Overall, single family detached units make up 67% of the existing housing stock in the North Okanagan. However, among new homes built between 2006 and 2011, 59% were single family detached units which indicates a greater proportion of other housing types have been added to the mix in recent years.

Both locally and across North America, home builders and designers continue to develop innovative products in response to housing demand, such as the budding popularity of “tiny houses” which appeal to and meet the needs of certain sectors of the housing market. Enhancing housing opportunities requires a cooperative approach involving local and senior government, industry, community groups and agencies to consider how regulations, bylaws, and practices may be improved to facilitate provision of safe, affordable housing.

In rural areas serviced by on-site septic disposal, the number of residential dwellings is, in general, limited to a maximum of one per hectare. However, recent amendments to the RDNO’s rural zoning regulations now permit secondary suites in single family dwellings on lots of at least 1 ha. Secondary suites can provide an affordable form of rental housing and also enhance the affordability of the home and property for the land owner.