White Rock council has endorsed a city-made definition of affordable housing to help ensure that policies are directed toward increasing the supply of rental housing for both low-income and very low-income households.
The recommendation, from the city’s Housing Advisory Committee, was presented to council by committee chair Coun. Anthony Manning at the Monday, May 10 regular meeting, and his motion to adopt was approved unanimously.
It suggests that staff base the definition of affordable ownership housing on a “30 per cent income-to-shelter-cost ratio,” and to further define it as being 20 per cent below the average rent for a unit (according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation figures) — based on the number of bedrooms — of purpose-built rental apartments in the city.
The committee’s recommendation noted that many agencies, including the CMHC, Metro Vancouver, and BC Housing recognize “affordable housing” as being that for which “shelter costs” — commonly including rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, strata fees, heating costs, and in some cases internet fees, are not more than 30 per cent of the before-tax gross income of the household
“Variability in household income is such that many low- to-moderate income households in the region do not have the financial capacity to enter into the ownership market nor do they have income sufficient to cover the costs of market rental housing in the City of White Rock, the committee said.
The committee recommendation also noted that roughly 67 per cent of all households in the City (some 6,720 homes) have a gross income of less than $90,000 — generally considered the income threshold needed to purchase a home at the lower end of the local ownership market.
Approximately 40 per cent of all households (some 3,955 homes) have incomes of less than $50,000, the committee added — considered the household income needed to afford the average market rent in White Rock ($1,191 per month in 2020 as identified by CMHC).