Affordable housing is not affordable

Debate around 9395 East Saanich / Canora Road developments

Let’s be clear about the 9395 East Saanich / Canora Road development. At the Oct. 4 NSRA (North Saanich Residents Association) meeting, the developer stated he wanted to provide affordable housing for young families. He then stated North Saanich moms and dads can come up with the five per cent down payment so the kids can buy a home.

Say what? These proposed houses aren’t affordable at all. In my book, if you can’t come up with a mere $20,000 to buy a house, it’s not affordable. If the starting house price is 10 times the developer’s stated average income of these workers of  $40,000, it’s not affordable.

As house prices continue to slide, all it takes is a further five per cent correction and these families will be crushed, owing more to the banks than their house is worth. This is what sunk housing in the U.S. and it’s what will crush these young North Saanich families.  Ask any realtor. Listings are up against a backdrop of falling sales and prices.

Yup — there’s plenty of resale housing stock at similar prices now on the market on the Peninsula. Retirees are moving out of their family homes into condos and smaller homes (perhaps these ones). This is turning existing neighborhoods back into vibrant streets where there’s actual parks, and a nice mix of old people, young people, kids, dogs, scooters and trikes.

The real motivator here is for the developer to make money building Langford-style subdivisions. Let’s not let this happen at the expense of some of our most vulnerable members of society — lower income young families.

Ty West

North Saanich